Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.—Proverbs 21:23 (MSG)
One time I read the letters to the editor in an issue of Starlog magazine and some guy in California complained that they covered too much Star Trek and not enough of other types of science fiction. Keep in mind that “The Abyss” was on the front cover, but whatever… anyway, I was immediately offended at this stranger’s attacks on Star Trek and decided to fire off a letter to him about how I felt about his irresponsible screed.
How was I able to contact him? Back then nobody stole your identity: they published addresses, phone numbers, and Social Security numbers with everything. Anyway, 3-4 weeks later I receive an equally offended letter back telling me how foolish and arrogant I was, and “I am not!” and “You are so!” But I wasn’t upset at what he said or even the fact that he responded: strangely, I enjoyed this. I made a total stranger this upset by simply sending a letter!
If only I had been as patient to wait the 3-4 weeks to respond as I was to wait for the response.
Now, I can tweet faster than I can think, and that’s a bad thing. Postal service? Who needs that! If I have a bad experience at a restaurant now, not only do they give me an opportunity to enter a $1,000 drawing when I give them my feedback, if I ask them to contact me, they’ll usually give me free money to come back again!
Even better, if I go on Twitter and just mention them in a comment, they will generally send me a polite customer service response to the effect of, “Aww… poor baby! Do you need a pacifier? Here’s a direct line to someone who can help,” or “Here’s a link to an opportunity to enter a $1,000 drawing when you give your feedback.”
So, I went to Panera Bread yesterday to pick up some bread for my lunch. After I had paid, the manager came out and apologized, but his bread wasn’t ready yet. He said I could wait for a few minutes for when it came out of the oven. Now, most people would say, “Hey, great! Fresh bread!”
What was my first response? “What’s their @ on Twitter? I’m going to be a mature human being and light them up anonymously on the internet!”
So, I’m busily trying to get logged on to the wi-fi and Google their Twitter page when the manager came back out again and said, “Hey, instead of making you wait for the bread in the oven, how about I take some of the bakery bread for you and just refund your money back?”
I was shocked, especially after what I was about to do. “Ummm… sure. That would be great,” I said sheepishly.
So, I put my phone away, walked back up to the counter, and when the manager walked around the counter and handed me the bag, he told me that the fresh bread was done anyway and apologized again.
Needless to say, this ruined my plan of abusing @panera on social media.
It reminded me of this guy in the Bible whose name was Nabal, who was described as “surly and mean in his dealings”—1 Samuel 25:3 (NIV). His bad-tempered and rash nature nearly got him killed by David, if it wasn’t for his wife interceding on his behalf. In fact, the guy was so stupid, that is what he was named after. “He acts out the meaning of his name: Nabal, Fool. Foolishness oozes from him.”—1 Samuel 25:25 (MSG).
10 days later, Nabal died, and later, David married Nabal’s wife.
When it comes to having an itchy Twitter finger, I am the guiltiest, and my name is Nabal.
What do you do with comment cards at restaurants?