blunt essays with sharp points

Out Of Kindness, Play Dumb

by Scrvpvlvs
Nov 11, 2010 6:43 AM–Sometimes the nicest thing you can do for others is refuse to cooperate.

When patrons and employees of a restaurant franchise in my area want the corporate office, they ask at a restaurant for the number. Sometimes the restaurant manager mistakenly gives them my company's number. (It's an easy mistake; theirs ends 0888 and ours ends 0088.)

The trouble comes when my kind receptionist gives the caller—who has a real and urgent problem such as a missing paycheck or a case of food poisoning—the right number. This positively reinforces the mistake. Any restaurant manager that makes the mistake gets to know the wrong number from memory, and continues to supply it. Over time, we get more and more phone calls for the franchise. This represents frustration and a waste of time on the part of the callers and my receptionist.

The kindest thing to do is never, ever, cooperate with the caller by giving the right number. Instead, we play dumb. Callers push the problem back on the restaurant manager. The restaurant manager soon gets to know and give out the right number. The result is less frustration and less waste of time, both ours and future callers.

This principle has many applications. Before you offer help and advice in a situation, consider whether the kindest thing to do might be to play dumb.

Labels: , , ,

Share: submit to reddit


Post a Comment

<< Home



E-mail: enter address

Project Euler competitor metaed


Project Euler competitor db8

profile for MetaEd on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites

Recent Articles

Oklahoma law banning Islamic law could also ban Bi...

About Roundup: Part 1, Preface and Introduction

NPR’s firing of Juan Williams an example of an eth...

Juan Williams firing was justified

What we honestly ask Google about one another

Question, Don’t Attack, Objections

Google Translates Steve Jobs Out Of The Picture

Intelligent Transportation Systems (revisited)

Will coal, oil, and gas destroy us?

Chrome Heats Up Faster Than Firefox


November 1999
June 2000
July 2000
September 2001
October 2001
February 2002
March 2002
June 2003
February 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
February 2005
March 2005
November 2005
July 2007
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
April 2009
September 2009
December 2009
February 2010
March 2010
May 2010
June 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
April 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
December 2011
February 2012
April 2012
May 2012
June 2012
July 2012
August 2012
September 2012
November 2012
January 2013
February 2013
April 2013
February 2014
May 2014
October 2014
June 2017