Sometimes I ask myself, what is it that I can give back to the world? Some people endeavor to pass on their gift of optimism, seeing the good in everything. Some people share their sense of style and evangelize confidence while staying true to yourself. But me? What am I good at, that people need to learn?
Many times I have heard people talk about a situation in which they felt used or abused and have said aloud, “I need to learn how to be more mean.” And I emphatically agree. EMPHATICALLY. There is a time and a place when you need to lay down the law and serve up some cold hard bitch on a silver platter. And this is what I can teach the world: how to be the appropriate amount of mean at the appropriate time. In fact I spent a good portion of my grade school years practicing my particular brand of polite cruelty with a thin shellac of condescension (sorry again, grade school friends).
The key is to really take emotions out of it. Be just veiled enough that if the receiver relays your message to someone else, they’d be unable to really find fault with you. Stay above it all by avoiding curse words and cheap shots. Instead of saying, “Eat shit and die,” it’s much more effective to just hint that perhaps a useless pile of trash would be a better use of the space you occupy on this planet.
Who doesn’t like a good case analysis to illustrate a point? Here we go.
Case 1: CFC.
CFC was the property management company of my very first apartment. They were pretty retarded. They messed up my account balance royally, and I had to literally do the math with them, on a piece of paper, to straighten my account out. Then I got some bullshit notice about how I was receiving a discount that I wasn’t qualified for and I needed to pay my balance. I had wasted enough time on these idiots at this point, so it was time for a response that included this…
I understand that you are not frequently in the office as I’ve had a difficult time reaching you by phone when trying to resolve past issues, so I hope you are able to respond promptly via email, since my job does require me to work at least a 40-hour week. I suppose that if I treated my customers with the same level of professionalism and lack of consideration for their time as seems to be the precedent at CFC, I might have the time to walk you through these confusing account issues again at your leisure. However, I would prefer to resolve this matter quickly and focus my working time in keeping my customer’s business, which includes paying attention to all communications I make and double-checking my facts before accusing them of not paying what they should when they should.
… It would be greatly beneficial to me if you would have someone look at my account who has a better grasp of these matters before contacting me again with any issues. Thank you.
Maybe not as delicate as it could have been, but it felt pretty good after trudging through what seemed like a heaping amount of ridiculous crap with them.
Item 2: Horizontes de Montezuma
This one time I was in Costa Rica with fiance and a friend, and after having had great luck with all of our hotels we ran into a horrible one near Montezuma (yes, that Montezuma). They were very German and very rude and I couldn’t wait to write a bad review on Trip Advisor. Promptly…10 months later…I wrote it (it was totally appropriate and not that mean, see for yourself. Oh! The lovely German proprietress posted a response. Nice.). Well when I initially wrote the review, someone sent me this private message.
Sorry, but who are you anonymous person? Your review is full of mistakes and lies. The hotel rooms have ceiling fans and were never offered with air conditioning because it is ecofriendly and up the hill with refreshing breezes most of the time. Montezuma beach and village is exactly 4 min from the hotel by car and also our high-quality breakfast was never announced to be included in the room rates nor is it expensive compared to most restaurants in the village. Maybe next time you read the description of the rooms and location on the website before you book a hotel?!?
So I responded…
I am simply a world-weary traveler whose stay at Horizontes de Montezuma (your hotel, I presume), was so disappointing that I signed up for a TripAdvisor account for the sole purpose of writing a negative review of it.
Perhaps I did exaggerate on the distance from the hotel to the beach, but in my exhausted mind it certainly felt like 20 mins. If you read closely, you’ll note that I did not state that I expected a free breakfast or air-conditioning (which, admittedly, is a rare treat in Latin America). However I was disappointed that Horizontes was the only hotel/hostel I stayed in during my Costa Rica trip that did not include a complimentary breakfast.
I see that you did not take issue with my complaints of being ill-treated, which, again–if you read closely, you’ll understand was my real problem with the hotel. All else would have been forgiven if I and my travel companions were treated with a little respect and compassion.
It might behoove you to remember that this is the hospitality industry, and while pleasant experiences are often overlooked, intolerable experiences will spread like the swine flu. I felt it was my duty to warn other travelers that they may have a similar experience if they choose to stay at Horizontes. As your other reviews are overwhelmingly positive, I wonder why you took the time to message me and insult my intelligence?
I suggest that you stop harassing TripAdvisor members and go back to harassing your guests. Or maybe your time would be better spent paying attention to your patrons, offering them the service they are accustomed to, and maybe go the extra mile to make them feel welcomed in a foreign country.
I hope I addressed your questions adequately and that this was enlightening. Have a nice day.
Note that I did not say what I actually thought (…Nazis), that they did not want us there because we were not German. At any rate, I didn’t get a direct response. Maybe they didn’t understand me. MAYBE NEXT TIME I SHOULD SHOUT IN GERMAN!
Item 3: he-who-shall-not-be-named
Lastly there’s that guy who won’t finish the project I wasted a year of my life on. I’ve been harping on him throughout the summer and especially since August, the second deadline he missed (or maybe the third? I just don’t know anymore.) This was after I tried to connect him to someone who might help speed up the very process that he claimed was causing the stupendous six-month delay. I found out that he hadn’t responded to that someone who offered to help, therefore he received this:
So…I guess you haven’t talked with [someone] in over three weeks? You know, when I reach out to people to try and help you finish this project and you flake out, it reflects poorly on me because I’m the one who initiated the contact. So what I’m learning from these repeated experiences is that I shouldn’t waste my time and risk my reputation to help you finish something that you claimed was really important to you.
It would really save [everyone] a lot of time if you could just tell us if you don’t plan on finishing the [project] so we can get our grades for the class and move on with our lives.
To which he responded with some bullshit about driving across the country (a permanent move) without Internet access and that he was totally not flaking out for serious. He also made a point when finally responding to that [someone] mentioned above that he was working off his iPhone. Then I was all…
Have you been without internet for a month? Traveling this past week without your desktop doesn’t really explain why you haven’t responded in the past three weeks.
Just a tip if you happen to find yourself in a professional position where you work with a team of people: if you know you’re going to be unable to communicate by email for an extended period of time, you should let the team know in advance, and if possible give them an alternate way to contact you. It would also be helpful to let them know that you’re permanently moving out of the state.
The only way people can judge your work is by your actions, so that is why I said it seems like you’re flaking. You said this [project] would be finished at the beginning of May, and that didn’t happen. Then you said it would be finished a few weeks later, and that didn’t happen. It apparently wasn’t touched for a couple of months over the summer, and then you said it would be finished at the end of August…and here we are halfway through October still without a [project].
Please let me know what day you expect to reach [your destination] and be set up to continue working on this project, I will check in with you again then. I appreciate that you used what resources you had available to respond to [someone].
These make me sound kind of like a conniving jerkface, but I will stand my ground and say that sometimes it’s warranted. In fact, sometimes the other party leaves you no choice–if kindness and reason, bribery and mild threats have not solved a problem for you, I hereby give you permission to drop the big ol’ bitch bomb. If you would like one-on-one training on how to be mean, please let me know. I am happy to share this one gift that I have, for the greater good. Merry freakin’ Christmas.