I Love You Ann, Redux

I defended repetition of message last week, assuming the issue is important and the implementation is still lacking. Hence my latest paean to the late Ann Richards. Remember: "Pissed off at a glitch? Fine. But be nice. Very nice. Very, very nice. The person on the other side of the counter [etc] is the Only Human Being on Earth, at the moment, who can help solve your problem. Or not."

Barcelona airport. 4:30 a.m. Biiiiiig computer glitch, courtesy United—and the elves are sleepin' in Chicago. Biiiiiig Glitch, "unexcusable" ... and I am weary weary weary. (And I have a veeeery short fuse in general, and particularly when weary at 4:30 A.M. 3,500 miles from home.)

So I did 1 minute of "practiced breathing" ... "did a Maxi-Ann." I had, I reminded myself, but one desire: in a busy airport, I wanted a very "unfair share" of the Lufthansa agent's time. With total concentration that would have made a neurosurgeon proud, I launched a Maxi Charm Offense—accepting my fate and musing on the tech-driven perils of our current age, "especially since your employer is giving you the short end of the stick courtesy understaffing and the like." [The syrup nearly flooded the airport.]

This is not, not, not a "Tom Story." This is, is, is an "Ann Story." Both you and I are, in the end, capable of a WMP* charm offense (*Weapons of Mass Politeness).

The "bottom line" ... I got that blessed Unfair Share of the agent's time, and then some; with tenacity, she did indeed untangle the Gordian Knot; we sympathized with one another on "the sorry state of human affairs"—and, unbidden, I will send a note commending her effort.

I am obviously asking your indulgence for "another Ann story"/ "another airline story." My justification, of course, is that it's in fact a fundamental saga of human nature—and, crudely, the difference between success and failure ... in an airport at 4:30 A.M., or when attempting to ice an order for another Boeing Dreamliner.

NB: Perhaps you'll recall the Henry Clay quote I offered up a few weeks ago: "Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart."


Tom Peters posted this on October 20, 2006, in Service.
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