It was 5.30pm and I was on my way from a day training to pick-up some printing for the following day. As per normal, I had emailed the printing through the afternoon with instructions on how I needed it collated and when I would be in to pick it up.
Making my way to the counter, I stated my name and what I was there for. The person serving looked for my resources, then returned to scan through the emails (with me also viewing on the customer screen). The emails I had sent through were there… still bolded (unread) … amongst others that had been read.
Reading through them, the person said “I don’t think we can get these done. We’ve been so busy and I’m due to go home. Next time you email something through ring us to make sure we have received it and are able to do it”.
Admitting that I could’ve rung-through, I also stated that I really needed the printing so offered to help them with the collation. It was then that the person turned to a colleague of hers and told her to do it, then walked away.
My offers for help were then accepted. Having always seen myself as a (lolly) shopkeeper when I was young, I donned my best printer-chick persona and we launched into it. Scraping-through with two minutes to spare before closing, I gathered my resources and left the confines of shop-keeper importance and wandered to the other side of the counter.
On payment my fellow printer-chick said “I’m sorry about missing the email, and thanks for helping-out”. I thanked her for the apology, and for stepping-up to help.
The initial person who served me left me feeling a little ‘miffed’. Yes, I could’ve rung-through to check it was all good-to-go, but the fact that she deflected the error onto me was not ok. All I needed was for an acknowledgement and to get the job done.
When we make a mistake we need to lean-into vulnerability and admit it. In trying to be seen as perfect or right by deflecting, blame, ignoring it, covering-it-up or making excuses, we lose the very thing we are wanting from others; trust and respect. Instead, apologise and seek a solution to the problem.
…And if we are on the receiving end and don’t get an apology?
We need to let-go of ego and the need to be “right”… and just move on.