It must be, or I wouldn't encounter so my problems.
Tomorrow is my son's 13th birthday. I decided on something low-key this year; we're going to have the family meet at a pizza joint tonight. Rather than calling, I went to the restaurant myself yesterday, told them I would have at least 12 people there at 6 tonight, and I wanted one pepperoni pizza ready at 6 so people would have something to eat as soon as they got there. There's nothing worse than waiting for pizza. Anyway, all this was dutifully recorded in a scheduling book as I stood there, and then I left.
I don't know why something was eating at me. Maybe it was my army training; it was my first commander who taught me never to do over the phone what you can do in person, and in the army we're taught to always follow up. I decided to call a few minutes ago.
Nope, no preparations were underway. I was speaking to a manager, apparently, and after we squared everything away I asked, "This wasn't going to happen if I hadn't called, was it?"
Now see, here's the thing. The appropriate answer to that question is, "No, it wasn't, and I'm very sorry about that. I'll work to ensure that doesn't happen again." Instead I got, "No, because the other manager didn't tell me about it."
Do you see the difference between the two answers? In the first one, the person would take responsibility (whether or not it was his fault, as manager it was his responsibility) and try to prevent such a mistake in the future. The second answer, while honest, only tells me that he has lousy communication with the other manager(s) and that he doesn't even read the calendar to see if something's scheduled on his shift--in other words, he's not taking responsibility for something that is his responsibility. And that just frosts me to no end.
I have a friend who often comes over late on Saturday nights to watch movies. He usually stops at Safeway or Taco Bell on his way here. Safeway always has a long line and only one cashier--can no manager figure out that needs to be fixed? Can't a manager hold down a register for a few minutes? And Taco Bell gets his order wrong almost every week. Sometimes it's to our advantage, sometimes not, but still. How tough is it to get the right number of tacos and some cinnamon twisty things into a bag?
My son's birthday party a few years ago was at a kid-oriented pizza place (no, not Chuck E Cheese) and was screwed up so badly that the manager refunded a significant part of my money. And this was at a place that specialized in parties.
I've worked in small business before. One thing I was always told--never make excuses to the customer. They don't want to hear it. They just want their problem resolved. And I've learned that that's absolutely true.
Later: just got back. Everything went smoothly and the pizza was great. I ate so much I feel like Jabba the Hut.