Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

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Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by JANE DOErell » Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:34 pm

I received this message from Netflix upon return of a damaged disk.

" ... Damaged Disc Report

We're sorry to hear that [your disk] was unplayable. We go to great lengths to ensure the movies you get will play without any problems but occasionally ....
"

Does anyone really care if they are "sorry"?

Should I care if they "go to great lengths to [bla, bla, bla]"

Knowing that this sort of thing happens, shouldn't acknowledgment of the problem and that they have taken appropriate action be necessary and sufficient?
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:45 pm

The way I read it, "We're sorry to hear that... " more or less equates to "We regret that... ".

Even though a corporation like Netflix that does not know you personally obviously cannot express sincere feelings concerning your experiences with it, I would have no problem with either formulation.

Your indignation seems misplaced, if I may say so: a little insincerity helps to lubricate the interactions between us as individuals and as collective entities, and to some extent sets the tone for what may happen next. Indeed, one could argue that in a land of overblown and rampant egocentricity like the United States, some softening of the edges in our dealings with each other is particularly desirable.

Corporate insincerity becomes problematic when it is used to camouflage or avoid responsibility for some kind of malfeasance or other unethical behaviour. But in the context you have cited, it seems harmless enough to me.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:19 am

I think I would prefer a few words of insincere tripe rather than, “Re your unplayable disc. Here is your replacement”.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by russcable » Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:01 pm

Or would you prefer:
Even though we think you are the party who damaged our property, we are letting you get away with it until we can establish a pattern in your negligent and malicious behavior so that we may prosecute you. Have a nice day.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by JANE DOErell » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:49 pm

Netflix is good. One reports a problem such as this online. Takes four clicks and then notification of the correction pops up within a fraction of a second.

I feel that this "we are sorry" blubbering that follows distracts from the most excellent corrective mechanism that preceded the apology.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by christinecornwall » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:20 am

rampant egocentricity like the United States, some softening of the edges in our dealings with each other is particularly desirable.

Ouch! There appears to be areas where insensitivity flourishes. ;) If it were me (we really are egocentric), I would prefer a giftcard for 10 bucks without the tired excuses reminiscent of a loose lady at closing time. The good people at Netflix can save us the 'we swear this hardly ever happens' plea and replace it with cold-hard-cash! Perhaps we Americans are almost as greedy as we are self-centered.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:26 am

christinecornwall wrote:If it were me (we really are egocentric), I would prefer a giftcard for 10 bucks without the tired excuses reminiscent of a loose lady at closing time. The good people at Netflix can save us the 'we swear this hardly ever happens' plea and replace it with cold-hard-cash! Perhaps we Americans are almost as greedy as we are self-centered.
Yes, I'm afraid you (or should I say we) are. There's no 'almost' about it!

Notwithstanding my earlier comments, I would gladly dispense with corporate pleasantries in exchange for a gift card. But Netflix has evidently decided the cheaper, insincerer option makes better business sense. ;-)

PS -- The only loose ladies I know of never close.

PPS -- Jane, so what wording would you prefer?
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by christinecornwall » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:55 am

Yes, I'm afraid you (or should I say we) are. There's no 'almost' about it!
Are you American? Your comments about Americans prick my sensibilities the way it would if an 'outsider' spoke of my family. I am sure you understand. It is obvious you don't care, but I am sure you understand.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:58 am

Yes, I'm a dual national (UK/US). I've lived in the USA since 2001, and I feel I'm as entitled as any native-born American to criticize its shortcomings.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by christinecornwall » Fri Jul 09, 2010 3:41 pm

Erik_Kowal wrote:Yes, I'm a dual national (UK/US). I've lived in the USA since 2001, and I feel I'm as entitled as any native-born American to criticize its shortcomings.
I know the liberals in this nation have done everything possible to ensure your sense of entitlement, but I am getting weary of people saying negative things about this nation. While our location and size (among other factors) cause us to be a bit egocentric, we are giving to our citizens and non-citizens and would like to once in a while hear some positives about our country. I would not like to see this to turn into an argument, so I'll step off now.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 09, 2010 6:01 pm

Christine, while you may feel comfortable pronouncing "I know the liberals in this nation have done everything possible to ensure your sense of entitlement" and following your baseless assertion with "I would not like to see this to turn into an argument, so I'll step off now", I'm not inclined to let you get away unchallenged.

You seem to feel that just because you regard yourself as a patriotic American, any criticism of America is off-limits, especially if made by non-Americans.

When I became a citizen, my citizenship certificate was not endorsed with a prohibition on exercising my First Amendment right to free speech. Nor have non-Americans signed a contract to forswear adverse commentary about the USA. I see no reason why anybody should shut up and grovel merely because their opinions happen to offend you.

In other words, you should get off your high horse and respect other people's right to express their views even if they don't happen to coincide with yours.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by christinecornwall » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:14 pm

Erik, I have penty of base to back my assertion that liberals and the entitlement programs they endorse create a sense of entitlement in the residents here. I will not go into detail, as it is pointless. I support many liberal notions and toss aside others. I believe you too should dismount! I was not intending to put myself on a horse, I was trying to offer the opportunity to consider the feelings of others when you make sweeping statements about whole populations of people. If you want to discuss citizens' shortcomings, perhaps you should talk about England. It's like talking about a child's shortcomings in the presence of its mother. If I were to do it, I would preface it with the understanding that my kids are no better.
I embrace and support your right to say whatever you want about this country. My brothers, uncles and grandfathers, however egocentric they may be (or have been), have served this country in honor of that right. You have every right to make any comment you wish, even if it is obnoxious. I call into action, the same right to remind you that your comments are hurtful and insensitive. I do not believe that avoiding potentially offensive statements is equivalent to grovelling. I would be reluctant to take residence in your country (you have not even lived here a decade) and make blanket statements about an overwhelming majority of its citizens. I respect your right to share your opinion and know you understand my same right.
Last edited by christinecornwall on Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by JANE DOErell » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:21 pm

" ...
Notwithstanding my earlier comments, I would gladly dispense with corporate pleasantries in exchange for a gift card. ... "

Netflix occasionally does send an extra disk at the time a problem is reported and on those rare occasions when their shipping facilities obviously mess up they may even voluntarily post a credit to one's account.

The thread was started with the boilerplate ''pleasantries'' in mind and deliberately not referencing what the corporation was doing before and after the boilerplate pleasantries. I had considered a thread on just "sorry". A local 99¢ store has a "Sorry, we are closed". A local casino is renovating some floor covering and they are "sorry" for the dust. I am not sure that these people are indeed "sorry" and for the most part it would appear that the notification without the word would serve the purpose just as well if not better.
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by christinecornwall » Fri Jul 09, 2010 7:29 pm

I don't know if the kind word 'sorry' should be dispensed with. I tend to agree with this statement: Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless....Mother Theresa
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Re: Should I really care if they are "sorry"?

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Jul 10, 2010 3:10 am

christinecornwall wrote:I have penty of base to back my assertion that liberals and the entitlement programs they endorse create a sense of entitlement in the residents here. I will not go into detail, as it is pointless.
You originally wrote: "I know the liberals in this nation have done everything possible to ensure your sense of entitlement" (my emphasis). Now you are claiming you were referring to 'the residents here'. So what exactly are you trying to say? Or are you still making up your mind because you haven't yet decided which claim not to supply any evidence for?
christinecornwall wrote:I was trying to offer the opportunity to consider the feelings of others when you make sweeping statements about whole populations of people. If you want to discuss citizens' shortcomings, perhaps you should talk about England. It's like talking about a child's shortcomings in the presence of its mother. If I were to do it, I would preface it with the understanding that my kids are no better.
You really are remarkably thin-skinned if you are taking personal offence at every passing comment made about America or Americans. Besides, I've never claimed, as you imply, that England or the English are any less worthy of criticism. I've criticized them often in the past, with vigour and at length.
christinecornwall wrote:I would be reluctant to take residence in your country (you have not even lived here a decade) and make blanket statements about an overwhelming majority of its citizens.
So when can I start commenting, in your opinion? Should I have lived in the US for 15 years before I can open my mouth about the negative aspects of a country and its people (who in this case are my fellow-citizens to boot)? 25 years? 50? When am I going to be sufficiently qualified to satisfy you if nine years of residence isn't yet enough? For that matter, are all non-Americans so ill-informed about your country or its people that they have no basis to pass judgment, even when they are affected by the decisions made there?
christinecornwall wrote: I respect your right to share your opinion [...].
Well, no, you plainly don't.
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