Tuesday, April 9, 2013


(In the interest of brevity, I separated this from the previous post.)

Although I make reference to a sort of specific situation, this philosophy can apply to many situations. If you work with the public, you know that people get testy. You can be rude to your waiter, but risk having an unwanted "extra" in your food. You can be rude to a cashier, or a salesperson, or a clerk. But what if the person you are rude to today is the person you want to influence or need something from tomorrow?

I work at a newspaper. Part of my job is to process obits. I deal with all kinds of people, from funeral directors to friends or family submitting obits. (I'd like to say that the people at the funeral home that handled Mom's arrangements have always been courteous, even when, as an obit clerk, I asked them to correct something on someone's obit. Actually, I can't recall any of the Fort Dodge funeral home directors being rude or condescending.)

Some funeral directors, however, treat obit clerks differently than they treat their clients. Or I assume they do, anyway. Because if they treated clients the way they treat obit clerks, they would not have repeat business from families. Some treat the people processing the obits they send as if we are idiots or incompetent or as if we are trying to screw them over.

I assure you, we are only trying to do our job. And our job means following the rules, like getting an approval for every obit, every time, by the deadline (which we tell them every time). It also includes getting a payment, whether it's an approved account (where the paper bills them) or if we have to get credit card information. We don't ask for these things because we enjoy harassing people. We do it because that's our job.

And remember, today, the person you are berating is processing obits. Tomorrow, that person may need the services of a funeral home. It's a safe bet they will remember which funeral home director has been nice, and which one has been rude.

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