Haircut 101

Published: Feb 11 , 2016
Author: Stephen White

I had a haircut today, and learnt something simple but useful. Chatting to the barber I asked if he had ever been to a particular local restaurant. Yes, he said, but it was about 5 years ago and it wasn’t very good. He had found a small piece of plastic in his mouth whilst eating his meal, and he was unimpressed with the response from the waiter. He explained.

“I said to him, I am not complaining or making a fuss, because I am not that kind of person, but I think you should know that this piece of plastic was in my food. The waiter looked at it and said ‘Cool, man. Thanks for telling me’, and wandered off. No apology, no compensation or anything like that. I was seething inside. So I haven’t been back to that restaurant since then.”

There is some cognitive dissonance here. My barber was irritated because he didn’t get an apology and/or some compensation. But by framing his comments to the waiter as NOT a complaint he was effectively saying that he didn’t want either an apology or compensation. His outward laid back approach hid his true emotional state, unfortunately to his detriment.

There are probably some cultural overtones here. Most North Western Europeans don’t become outwardly emotional when something goes wrong. They understate the problem, they don’t ask for a remedy, and so normally they don’t get what they hoped for in return.  But their outward behaviour often masks an emotional state of mind. Just calling the waiter over to say something negative will be emotionally uncomfortable in itself.

I recently rented a car from Avis. The clerk told me he was giving me a free upgrade to a bigger car which was a station wagon.  I told him I didn’t want a bigger car or a station wagon – I had specifically booked a small car because parking in the city I was in is a nightmare so the smaller the car the better. He persevered. I stayed calm and said no again. He said he didn’t have a smaller car immediately available; I would have to wait. I politely waved my preferred-status card to try to intimidate him. It failed.  Needing to get to my business meeting I capitulated.

But imagine if, whilst I was being very calm, I could overhear a similar conversation at the next counter where that customer kicked up such a fuss that it was the clerk who gave in, rather than the customer, and a smaller car became instantly available. Would that change my behaviour? Would I become more outwardly emotional? I think it would.

My point is not that emotional behaviour always gets better deals, but rather that being able to change the placidity or noisiness of approach is built into all of us, and we should encourage our outward emotions to vary according to the outcome which will result. If noisier behaviour produces a better deal, be noisy!

Stephen White 


SHARE

blogAuthor

About the author:

Stephen White
No bio is currently avaliable

Latest Blog:

Muck Shift

Just when is a deal not a deal…? I heard this story from a friend of mine the other week; there are some lessons to be learned! So, my pal is a developer and is building some houses on what is essentially a square site. Two sides of the square can be accessed from the road in a neighboring housing estate and the other two are beside a field owned by another developer. There is a huge pile of muck to shift before the actual building project; this phase is known in the trade – and not unreasonably - as a "muck-shift"! As there will be 80 -100 lorries coming in and out each day for 6 weeks, it was considered more convenient to access the site over the field, so an approach was made to the developer to discuss the terms under which he would allow access. This is a standard arrangement and the deal typically is that the field would be returned to the owner in its original condition. Developer makes a bit of money, where otherwise he wouldn’t; homeowners in the adjoining estate are less inconvenienced; builder does not need to spend money cleaning the streets and getting them back to a usable state at the end of the project. Win-win.

Latest Tweet:





United States
973.428.1991
usa@scotwork.com
Follow us
cpd.png
voty2016_sign_gold.png