Thank you for shopping with us?!

clownIt amazes me how so few people think learning to communicate effectively is important.  Today's society says we have free speech and should feel emboldened to say whatever we feel, but so few seek to speak in a way that minimizes errors for the recipient or takes seriously the consequences and responsibility.  Case in point: My sister works at a retail store.  A few months ago a truck drove off the road and through their store window hurting a patron.  The customer was wheel chair bound, but only received a cut on her leg due to the accident.  She was lucky.  However, the saleswoman on the floor that day who escourted her to the ambulance said her goodbyes in a way that prompted a complaint call from that customer two days after the event.  What did the saleswoman say to her departing and injured customer? "Thank you for shopping with us." She says she was trying to lighten the mood, but the truth is she wasn't very sensitive to the feelings of her customer. Communication Tip of the Month: NEVER try to use humor with someone you don't know, particularly if it's during a serious situation! What would you have said?  What could this saleswoman have said?  What should she have said?


  • Tammy

    I think that under high stress situations, some people turn to anger and others to humor .

    Another problem in society has to do with liability. If the sales clerk who assisted the patron to the ambulancesaid that she was sorry the customer was hurt in the accident even though the company had absolutely nothing to do with the cause of the accident or her injury, her lawyer might include the clerk’s saying something more compassionate as accepting part of the responsibility and liability for the accident. Sadly, that is common in today’s society, where having cars drive through buildings is not.

    I don’t think it is a sensitivity training issue as much as a lack of training people in the arts and gifts of grace and mercy. We should all recognize that high stress situations happen in life. Part of what makes them high stress situations is that they take us out of our everday routine and add fear, danger, injuries, and so forth. Weall need to show grace and mercy to those who are doing their best to cope with a stressful situation.Just because someone reacts with humor when someone else is angry doesn’t mean either acted wrongly. They simply reacted to an unknown situation. Each of them having grace and mercy enough toward the other to recognize they were both reacting to outside stress should be sufficient for forgiveness.

  • Art of Eloquence

    It can be, but this was not. She said she was trying to be funny and is well known for being abrasive. Even if this is how you react to stress, this would be a great time to refine your communication and learn to be more effective. This is what this week’s lesson is all about. NEVER try to be funny in a serious situation. As you pointed out, it does make the other person feel as if you don’t care.

  • Cindy P

    I once had a car almost hit me while on the road. They drove off laughing. I was more upset at the laughter than the near miss. Later someone told me that was how some people reacted to stress.

  • Art of Eloquence

    Actually, the clerk said she was actually TRYING to be funny. She is known for being very abrasive and not very good with people. It’s not a matter of sensitivity as much as learning how to effectively communicate. It’s never a good idea to try to be funny when there is a serious situation.

Leave a comment