Archive for the ‘Chutzpah’ Category

Service of Receiving a Flawed Shipped Gift: Whom to Tell?

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Frozen flowers

Retailers—traditional and e—make it increasingly easier to send wonderful gifts. But what if the gift arrives damaged? Does the recipient tell the gift giver, the vendor, both or none?

Photo: pinterest

According to family legend my great Aunt Frieda called a fancy food purveyor—one of the best in NYC in the day–to ask them to remove a brace of over-ripe, too-long dead pheasants gifted her by well-meaning friends. I remember hearing that they smelled horrific but I don’t recall if she ever told the friends about the rancid poultry or merely thanked them.

More recently, Erica sent her newly widowed aunt armloads of spring flowers. Her aunt lives in Minnesota. The delivery man left the blossoms in the [very] cold outside her front door where they froze therefore hurrying them to their demise. Erica’s mom urged her aunt to tell her. Aunt hesitated as she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. She wrote: “I think they would be very lovely if they were not frozen. Your Mom asked me to send you a photo. Love.” Erica immediately called ProFlowers—that never before had disappointed her—and sent them this photo [above] as evidence.

A florist doing business in Minnesota should know to call–especially in winter–before delivering to a house to ensure that someone is home to accept the fragile package.

Photo lakesiepottery.com

Sometimes it’s not the fault of the vendor. My father told a story of a stingy millionaire who visited a well known Paris boutique and chose, for a wedding gift, an important porcelain piece by a manufacturer of luxury brands. He found it on a clearance shelf, broken. Its condition was reflected in the price. Not wanting its reputation tarnished or to be left holding the bag by having to replace an object that might appear to have been broken in transit, boutique staff carefully wrapped each of the broken pieces separately and placed each shard, with Monsieur Stingy’s card, in the boutique’s distinctive gift box. I love this story. I don’t know if it really happened or if he was sharing a lesson about what can happen to the tightfisted.

Have you received a shipped gift that was somehow flawed? Did you notify the vendor, the giver or both? Under what, if any, circumstances would you NOT tell the giver? How did you feel when someone reported a problem with a gift you sent? Would you have preferred that they notify the vendor and keep you out of it?

Photo: farmboxdirect.com

Service of You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Bus with Selfish Passenger

This post is similar to “Service of Chutzpah” that I wrote this winter: In spite of the greatly improved weather and beautiful long summer days, the clueless, thoughtless bug is still in the air.

Bus Stop

I was on a bus when an able woman in her 40s entered with a marketing cart bulging with purchases. I empathize: I don’t have a marketing basket but after a visit to Trader Joe I often carry two heavy shopping bags. On the style of bus we were on that day, I’d head for the connecting area between the two sections where there’s plenty of room to stash bags, suitcases or a marketing cart—on the metal floor in the photo above.  

If you look carefully, you can see her shopping cart hogging the aisle in the front of the bus. The subsequent logjam resulted in frazzled nerves and delays. When the bus driver asked her to move the cart, she didn’t budge until she got out four stops later.

I don’t have that kind of nerve.

The Show Must Go On

Here are two early July head-slapping examples involving members of NY theatre audiences.

Patti LuPone ripped the phone out of a woman’s hand without missingShows for Days a beat as she played a diva, Irene, in “Shows for Days.” She’d been texting throughout the star’s performance at Lincoln Center. According to Beckie Strum in the New York Post, her co-star Michael Urie said her performance, “…was good and it didn’t disrupt the momentum of the play.” Lupone told Playbill that the LED smartphone screen disrupts audience members and actors alike. She was particularly annoyed because earlier that day the matinee performance was punctuated by ringtones and the screech of a faulty hearing aid.

Before a performance of “Hand to God” at the Booth Theatre another audience member jumped on stage to try to charge his cell phone on what turned out to be a prop that wasn’t plugged into an outlet. Robert Viagas wrote on playbill.com, “It’s nice that people feel at home at Broadway theatres — but perhaps they shouldn’t feel this at home.”

Behind the Curtain

And in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Pia Catton wrote “Phones Rankle Offstage, Too.” In just one example she described a typical incident. “Opera singer Jennifer Rowley, who performs at the Metropolitan Opera and London’s Covent Garden, said she once auditioned for a director who, exasperated by her chosen song, started out barely paying attention. ‘He immediately pulled out his phone and starting texting while I was singing,’ said the soprano, whose high notes ultimately proved more captivating than his screen. ‘When it got interesting, he stopped.'”

I can’t tell if these people—none of whom are kids–are stupid, feel entitled, are unconscious, suffer from extreme selfishness or come from a different planet. And you? Have you noticed or read about other such incidents of late?

Jennifer Rowley, photo: classicalvoiceamerica.org

Jennifer Rowley, photo: classicalvoiceamerica.org

Service of Chutzpah

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Some nerve

Ring a Ding Dong

A friend sent me this email which inspired today’s topic. I think most people know the definition of chutzpah, but just in case: “Unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall. 2. Audacity; nerve,” according to the Urban Dictionary.

She wrote:

Caller“I have an idea for your blog on phone etiquette, about calling people on their office line or at home and then, if they get voicemail, immediately dialing their cell phone.

“This happened this week to me from a woman I hardly know–she had also written me an email alerting me/or warning me that she’d be calling.

“It’s presumptuous of someone to be so pushy [unless in an emergency]. I was under the gun, had no intention of answering my office line until I’d met a deadline when I hear my cell phone ring. I thought this was nervy and didn’t answer and then she shoots off another email. I was obviously either busy, on another line or out of the office.

“What did she want to speak with me about you wonder: She wanted FREE advice.

“Addendum: We finally spoke, and she asked for a meeting and then cancelled the appointment we’d made. She has not responded to my email with suggested alternate dates and it’s been hours.”

You’re Kidding

Work for freeA woman I know, [unlike my friend’s caller in the example above whom she hardly knew], who works for an ad agency, left me a message: “You’re busy, but can you call me back because I have a few questions. We hired someone to write a press release but I have no confidence in either the copy or the writer.”

Did she forget that’s one of the services my agency offers? I’ve happily edited memos [for free] and shared insight on industries I’m familiar with and helped find her an intern so I suppose it’s my fault that she figured there’s no end to my largesse. Newsflash: There is. Folks need to know where to draw the line.

Can you share examples of chutzpah? It feels good to get the instance off your chest, right? Do you think people are clueless when they irritate others by going too far? Do you point it out to them or let it go?

 Chutzpah

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