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May 1, 2014

Thank You – Excuse Me – I’m Sorry

Filed under: Etiquette,Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 11:36 pm

Thank You, Excuse Me, I’m Sorry
Now that’s an odd title! But the three are actually related, much more so than you might expect. The first thing that comes to my mind is the term (that applies to each) underused. The second term that seems to apply is overused. Paradox? Of course. My regular readers expect no less from me, and this blog will not disappoint you.

GENUINE Thank You(s) are way too few and far between. When you are leaving the borrower’s home do you take a moment to say “Thank You for your time”? Do you send a Thank You when receiving an assignment? Think back when you were a little kid. Mom often said “What do you say” to prompt you for giving a Thank You to the person who did a kindness to you. Mom stressed that thousands of times to drill it into your little brain so it would become a lifelong part of you. When did you start to forget that Mother Knows Best?

Thank You is just the first two words. They should be followed by “for” and a description of what action the recipient has taken to earn your gratitude. Thank You for your nice compliment about my shoes, is an example. A Thank You without details seems robotic and a bit hollow; kinda like an autonomic mindless reflect statement. Make your Thank You genuine and actually talk with substance and conviction; let them know your words are relevant and genuine.

Excuse Me has some very interesting uses. Recently, it seems to be spoken after deliberate bad manners; to absolve the transgressor for their misbehavior. It does not accomplish that objective. I know one person, basically a nice guy, who has a most annoying habit. He constantly interrupts when I am speaking to him. His interruptions are always prefaced with a loud “EXCUSE ME” followed by whatever he wanted to say. He seems to feel that a formerly used for politeness term can be invoked to permit bad manners. A real Excuse Me is for, typically, an accidental transgression. You are in the supermarket reaching for the last can of tuna that has been marked down. Just as your hand is about to grasp the can, the shopper behind you, moving a bit quicker; snatches the tuna for their shopping cart. You are momentarily stunned by their action. They say “Excuse Me”, Jeremy would not publish what I would say to that shopper.

Lastly, I come to “I’m Sorry”. So very inappropriately used, especially by business entities. As I write this I am waiting for an item to be delivered that should have been here yesterday. I ordered the item at 10AM and paid for 2 day FedEx delivery. I was assured it would be shipped the day ordered and arrive in 2 shipping days. Well, today is the third day and I checked and found the item is “Out for Delivery”, a day late. When it did not arrive yesterday I called the vendor and complained that I paid for 2 day delivery and did not receive the service that was promised and paid for.

“I’m Sorry” about the delay, we did not ship till the day after you placed the order. You did order in plenty of time for us to make the shipment that day, again we are sorry about the situation. My response was direct and probably a bit on the aggressive side: I’m sorry and other apologies are for small children when they deviate from proper behavior. Your business is not operated by small children. Businesses make “restitution” for their errors and do not “wash them away” with a blithe verbal apology.Kindly refund the price of the shipping. There is a 2 day FedEx rate and a 3 day FedEx rate. Subtract the smaller from the larger and refund it to me. I’m sorry does not “cut it” in commercial transactions. I was fortunate to speak to a senior manager who appreciated the logic of my argument and issued a partial refund.

As a http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com I have ample opportunity to say Thank You, Excuse Me, and I’m Sorry. I thank persons who extend me a courtesy, such as selecting me for a notary assignment. I ask that the homeowner excuse me when I forgot to wipe my shoes on their entrance rug prior to entering their spotless house. I have made I’m Sorry but I will be a few minutes late calls; when stuck behind a fire truck on the way to a signing. They are magic terms, when used appropriately. It is the intentional misuse of these phrases, as a perceived exoneration for anti-social behavior that leaves a very bad impression. Sincerity, politeness and honesty will never go out of style.

Tweets
(1) I’m sorry and other apologies are for small children when they deviate from proper behavior. Your business is not operated by small children.
(2) Businesses make “restitution” for their errors and do not “wash them away” with a blithe verbal apology.

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