Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Maybe He WAS Making Sense After All

The other day at work, the customer said something so confusing.

We turned on the microphones and said hello.  He didn't respond.  Fine -- he was rummaging around looking for whatever paperwork he needed to conduct business through the drive-up.  Since he had nothing to say, we turned off the mic. 

After a bit, I noticed that he was facing the tube through which we send paperwork back and forth from the employees to the customers.  I guessed that he was talking to us.  My partner turned on the mic and said, "Yes?" 

The man responded, "Thank you," and sent the tube to us. It arrived empty.  Odd.

"Thank you?  What kind of response is that??" my partner wondered.

So I explained to the customer that the mics were off and asked him to please repeat what he'd said a moment earlier.  He had asked, "May I please have a pen?"  When my partner said, "Yes," he thought she was answering him, and he responded with a polite "thank you."

I laughed with delight over the way the miscommunication came out on both ends.  When all the pieces were put together, it made perfect sense.  But hearing only one end or the other -- weirdo indeed.

So why are we prone to be irritated when somebody does something like that?  When the clerk is crabby, but you don't know how she was reamed out three customers ago?  When a driver does something dumb on the highway, but maybe he's just learning to drive?  When a friend seems to make no sense?  So often, we're just missing a piece here, or misheard a word there.  A little forbearance and a little clarification goes a long way.

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