We blame without even thinking about it.
Last week, I made a quick stop at a fast-food place. It doesn’t matter which one; all that matters is that it was a fast-food restaurant with multiple drive-through lines.
I placed my order, listened as it was read back to me, got my total, and pulled up.
My total was $11.13.
When I got to the window, I was asked for $6.52.
“My order was $11.13,” I said.
The attendant looked at the monitor for a few seconds. Completely understandable. My order was found, then she turned to me and said, “Oh, you got out of order.”
I got out of order?
I pulled through when I was directed to pull through. I didn’t gun it to cut the car in the other line off. In fact, that car wasn’t moving.
But, anyway: does it matter if I got out of order? Does it matter what happened?
I think all that really mattered is that each customer get their own order and pay their own price.
This is more about language than customer service. It seems we learn to form sentences in ways to pass the blame off to someone else whether we mean to or not.
I didn’t feel like the attendant expected an apology; only that she had figured out the problem. And that it was my fault.
Why does someone have to be at fault?
Because we play the blame game. We even play it unconsciously, which I think is what was happening here.
When merely identifying or naming something that has happened, does your choice of words usually affix blame somewhere? If so, is blaming really necessary?
I have to admit, I am being a little touchy here. But I share this not so much for you to stop blaming me, but ti invite you to do as I’ve begun doing; learn to check the words you say for how they might be heard.
For a start, let’s all work on not starting a statement with the word “You.” Describing an event or making a statement can easily be done without starting the sentence with “You.”
Come on, now.
You can do this!