Straight Talk; Kind Of
By MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon
Occasionally I discover a professional who speaks to me honestly, but somehow, the reality doesn’t work out to be anything like the result. Almost everyone has dealt with this “kind of,” so it is a good example of straight talk. You go to your doctor for a minor procedure that is so simple you don’t need anyone to drive you home. The doctor numbs the spot he or she is going to work on and says, “Relax. All you will feel is a sense of pressure.”
It is absolutely true but then the “kind of” kicks in as you discover the described feeling of pressure is the equivalent of giving birth.
You go to a new hairdresser and explain that you need a trim but want to keep the same style you have. The hairdresser turns your chair away from the mirror, and that is time to start worrying. Since you aren’t facing the mirror, you can’t see what is being done to your hair, but you can feel the tugging, the slight pull of the scissors that doesn’t fit your style, so you ask. The hairdresser tells you all she or he is doing is shaping up your hair a little. They are sincere in their remark, but here comes the “kind of” you are turned to face the mirror and discover that your original style is shaped completely away. You may love the new look, or you may hate it, but either way, it is nothing like the style you came in with. You might as well smile and tip the hairdresser. Don’t forget that your hair will grow out. Walk out the door and keep looking for a new hairdresser because the “sort of” has kicked in.
Halloween has just passed, so you may have some leftover candy that looks like the perfect sweet tooth cure. The bits of chocolate and peanut butter are so small you can hold 3 of them in the palm of your hand. Their small size looks so calorie safe that you eat ten of them
without a hint of guilt. The next day your scales show you the “kind of.” You look at the package they came in and discover a serving is two pieces that equal 170 calories. They looked so safe, but the package was the “kind of” that revealed innocent little bites were an explosive “kind of.”
You get a call from the nice lady in the office who is letting you know the plumber just left and will be there in half an hour. Four hours later, the plumber is ringing your doorbell, ready to get started. The nice office lady was sincere, but the plumber’s arrival turned into a “kind of.” He tells you the job before yours took longer than expected, even though something sounded fishy since the nice lady gave him only a half hour, and a job before yours was unlikely. Don’t get mad. Take a deep breath and assume he got an emergency call about someone’s home flooding. Well, it could happen.
I was in sales for many years, and it didn’t take long to find out that the majority of people will be very understanding if you explain how you screwed up instead of giving them a “kind of.” Okay, it was really the boss who forgot to order their item but blaming it on him only made me look guilty, so I took the fall, even if the problem wasn’t my doing.
Unless someone had a history of problems with ordered items or they were desperate for it now, I learned how incredibly nice most people could be. I would hear stories of how they screwed up themselves or even words of sympathy for having the courage to call them to explain. It was not often that the sale was lost. People would wait longer for an order. They would be comfortable with a repair or replacement, especially if it came with a discount.
If someone had to have their item now and I couldn’t get it to them on time, most would come in and see if I had a good substitute. Sometimes they told me they liked the substitute better than the original order. Other times I lost that sale but knew they would come back next time they needed something else.
If someone had problem after problem, even if it had nothing to do with my sale and they got angry, I tried to be understanding. If I wanted to say what I really thought, I did the nice person thing instead. After all, I have reached the point of too much frustration and lost it myself so that I could understand their anger. If you haven’t done the same, congratulations, you are indeed emotionally advanced and appreciated by salespeople everywhere.
The “kind of” happens. So please be kind when it happens to you. The outright lie also happens, so the way you react to that even harshly is understandable. “Kind of.”