How to talk down to people
Right – so I’m at a hotel over a few days for the purposes of work. Yesterday 30th June 2021 around 19:00PM, I asked the receptionist if I could have a small package delivered from Amazon. She said “Yes – no problem I’ll put it on the system“. I saw her type it into the computer. Nothing great about that. So, what’s that got to do with talking down to people? Nothing! You’d have to wait and read some more – obviously! And if you don’t wish to, now is a good time to bugger off!
So – I see from the Amazon tracking at 12:45 PM 1st July 2021, that the package was delivered at 12:29PM. I go down stairs to the reception, and politely say that my package has arrived and give my room number. This is where it is – the talking down part. A rather rotund woman of about 5′ 6” immediately spots the package, picks it up and in handing me the conversation goes:
Woman: You need to let us know in advance when you’re having packages delivered here. [Anyone reading this is informed that this is text on a page and it cannot capture her manner or tone of voice.]
CW: [Waiting until she completes her talking down words] Yesterday I told the receptionist and I saw her put it on the system.
Woman: Oh I do apologise, I hadn’t looked at the computer.
CW: [Silent – took my package and moved on – I didn’t go “Aww.. that’s okay. It’s fine.” And I totally expect to be told that I’m rude, for not saying that!]
What’s in the above?
- You talk down to me in a high-handed commanding tone.
- You are careless.
- You knew you were right, when you opened your trap.
- You did not check – you lazy cow!
- Then you apologise – for an irreversible act (of cowness).
- Assumption was turned into fact. This is the norm in a world ruled by social media forms of thinking and behaviour. [Did I say this was a social media situation? I did NOT!]
Some people think that apology is everything. I tend to see it as nothing, unless it meets the Seven Pillars of Apology. Words once uttered cannot be ‘taken back’ as some people believe. Self-correction in the context of apology doesn’t cut it for me – and I’m not changing my mind! End of.
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