with Lynne and Leslie

Being a jerk to a ticket agent means ALWAYS having to say “You’re sorry.”

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here.

I bet that lady wished I'd have used the Web site.

I bet that lady wished I’d have used the Web site.

There are many reasons that I, Leslie, mistakenly accused Southwest Airlines, and therefore by extension the nice lady that had the bad luck to answer the phone when I called, of double charging me for the extra points I purchased when that was totally not what happened. They are, in particular order:

– I suck at math.

– It was 5 a.m.

– I suck at math even more at 5 a.m.

– I am not good at complicated transactions, and the two I obviously made were so close together I mistook them for the same one.

– I suck at math, mornings, complicated transactions and being a human being.

The most important reason NOT on this list is anything to do with the nice lady on the phone, or Southwest, or any of the nice flight attendants who make jokes on flights or give you free wine on holidays (or at least did that one time). IT WAS NOT SOUTHWEST’S FAULT. IT WAS MINE. ALL ALL MIIINE.

And so I apologized. Also, I noted that the nice lady I apologized to seemed to be surprised, not because she didn’t deserve an apology (Oh, she so did) but because maybe she doesn’t get them so much even when she does.

Here’s what happened. I bought tickets for one half of a future trip for the toddler and I last week, when I bought and paid for on one specific card. About a week later, also very early in the morning (I have to stop doing that, obviously) I bought a return ticket with points, and then realized ten minutes later that I’d bought it for the wrong date. (Youch). So when I went back in the tickets for the date I really needed cost more, so I purchased more points. There was temporarily something wonky the first time I tried, so I used a different card and it was fine.

This was over the previous holiday weekend, so all of the transactions I’d made over the last week posted at the same time. For some reason – and this is the reasoning of a sleepy mommy checking her balances at 5 a.m. after a long weekend of travel and whining (some mine, some the toddler’s) – I’d either thought that the first purchase had already posted before, or forgotten about it altogether. All I knew is that there were charges, about a dollar apart, of each of the two cards. OH NO. I had been charged twice! For the same transaction, including the one that didn’t go through the first time.

AND THAT WAS NOT GOING TO STAND. THAT AGGRESSION WOULD NOT STAND, MAN. (Yes, I’m quoting The Dude from “The Big Lebowski.” What of it?)

So there I was, mad and feeling hoodwinked, and also still sleepy, on the phone with this nice lady. I admit I was snippy from the get-go, because she corrected me when I told her I was calling about a credit card charge on points travel, that usually doesn’t require it, I snapped “Listen to me. I needed to buy new points. You should listen to me.”

(I was so awful.)

She said that she was, and then I explained what I’d thought happened. She was obviously taken aback, but put me on hold, noting that it was odd that the dollar amounts didn’t match. I was too self-umbraged and full of myself to hear that. While she took a break to do some research, and perhaps to tell everyone sitting around her what a jerk she was talking to, I took the time to go back over my email confirmations of each purchase, which go to an email I son’t usually check everyday anymore. And what do you know? The first transaction, which I took to be the first attempt at buying points that I’d been told didn’t go through but actually did, was really…wait for it…the completely separate purchase of Toddler’s and my tickets completed several days earlier. The second one was the points purchase. Two different purchases. Not the same purchase.

I WAS WRONG. Which I figured out about three seconds before I heard the lady from Southwest coming back on the phone. At this point. I knew that I was mistaken, and that there was no reason to bother this poor woman anymore. Some people would have just hung up hurriedly before she said “Hello,” out of embarrassment and not wanting to face this person I’d been so douchey to.

But that wasn’t right. I can do the right thing. Apparently not as much as I should, but still. So when she came back and started to explain that the one transaction hadn’t gone through yet and, if it was a duplicate, wouldn’t post – still so nice about it! – I cleared my throat and said “Ma’am…I was wrong. I had two different transactions and they posted on the same day because of the holiday, and I had no reason to yell at you. I am so, so sorry.”

“No problem!” she said, sweet but relieved that I was no longer acting like a pre-caffeinated idiot.

I apologized some more and then hung up, and thought about all the times I thought I was right, that I came on the phone with people doing their jobs with a self-righteous and pre-conceived idea of my own rightness. How many times was I mistaken? How many times had I charged in and let someone have it when it wasn’t their fault?

Not many, I hope. But I need to stop being proud of my own Julia Sugarbaker-ing (look it up, kiddies. The olds know what I mean) and always start a conversation with some grace, no matter who’s wrong.

And to say I’m sorry when I’m not right, because I was so, so not.

8 Responses to “Being a jerk to a ticket agent means ALWAYS having to say “You’re sorry.””

  1. tate_franz@comcast.net' Thaeda says:

    We all make mistakes. What separates the loving from the not-so-much is the willingness to apologize and carry forward the awareness of the experience to increase the chances it doesn’t happen again. Beautiful stuff. You have a big heart, full of compassion and you are also human. Thanks for being willing to be vulnerable and authentic- I could see myself in your post. I have been righteously indignant when I was SO wrong. Sometimes I apologized, sometimes I didn’t- but looking back on those experiences affords me the chance to choose today who I am going to be. Lovely. Peace to you and your sweet boy. <3

  2. elewis1274@gmail.com' Liz says:

    I TRY to be understanding. I try to remember the person on the other end probably didn’t have anything to do with the issue. If I’m really riled up I’ll even admit “you might want to put me through to a manager, you don’t get paid enough to deal with this” Since I essentially work customer service, I get the other end of the stick sometimes, so I’m usually pretty aware. Doesn’t mean I’m not a jerk sometimes. But I try to apologize when I see I’m doing it.

  3. Good for you for apologizing! Most people don’t. It is hard working with the public…I know, I do it!
    Renee Stambaugh recently posted…“Doesn’t Anybody Stay In One Place Any More?”…..My Profile

  4. pgivens517@gmail.com' Phyllis says:

    I’m proud of you for apologizing! That’s the only thing “wonky” about all this. Saying sorry is so simple, but most people don’t do it. We all make mistakes and have bad days (early in the morning), but going back to say “my bad” makes you a superhero my dear 🙂

  5. Bonnie.toney@gmail.com' Bonnie says:

    Good for you, Leslie! Thanks for being so transparent, we all need that dose of perspective!

  6. gigieatscelebrities@gmail.com' GiGi Eats says:

    I try my very best to never be mean to anyone. They’re only human, just like me, and the last thing I like is a bit**y person yelling at me! ha!!
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Supplying Power On The Set Of A MovieMy Profile

  7. Good job! My mom & cousin spent ever careers as airline employees. I know they would have appreciated kindness like that. And a good reminder for me. I can certainly “get in my high horse” when I am convinced I’m right, no matter what, it probably never the fault of the person who answers the phone when the problem occurs. Appreciate your post.

  8. Isn’t there some saying about how you can tell a lot about someone’s character by how they treat customer service employees? I think you did good.
    Jenny @ Unremarkable Files recently posted…First Pregnancy vs. Sixth PregnancyMy Profile

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