Monday, February 4, 2013

Eating crow...disguished as a pork chop

Received a complaint about our pork this am. Not about the taste or the way it was raised or even the price we charge ($3.25 per pound hanging weight) No, the complaint was about the size, the hog carcass was too small.

The customer, who does indeed drive a long way to get her meat at the locker we use in Eureka Illinois, was very disappointed that her hams were small and there was not enough meat left over for the sausage she ordered.

I felt bad and quickly took responsibility for our not communicating with her that the hogs were going to be smaller this time. They do grow slower in the winter. It would have made a difference to her, she might have put off her order until she could have had a larger hog with more meat to take home to her family.

I followed up with a 20% refund check to offset at least her gas expense for traveling so far for such small results. Hopefully I have kept a customer.

But, in the 4-5 minutes it took me to listen to this woman, accept responsibility for our mistake and then make it right with her via a refund, I wondered...why can't I be so accepting of responsibility with those I love so much, those closet to me, my own family?

How is it, I can accept blame, ask for forgiveness and offer an act of kindness as proof of my concern so easily for someone I have never met before but cannot easily admit when I am wrong with my own children, siblings or husband ?

Well, sometimes I admit it but certainly not very often  and even more certainly not without a great big long discussion where I drag out charts and graphs and statistical reports that will prove indubitably that my family member has to be at least HALF as responsible for the miscommunication as I am.

What is that defensiveness all about? It went so well with this customer. She was very disappointed when she called, she was absolutely right in the matter, I said I was sorry and would make it better and it was OVER. But with those we love, those who stand by us when we are at our ugliest, our sickest, our  most needy times, disagreements and bad feelings, burdens of proof can go on for weeks, months or years and perhaps without ever being resolved.

So when we think a situation is about the size of a ham steak, it really is much more about who is being the bigger pig.

Oink Oink says she.


  1. I guess that when you fall out with family and friends you end up thinking about all the other times you've fallen out and so this makes it worse. When you speak to a customer like you did there's no history of falling out.
    You're right though it would be much better if we could just say sorry and move on!

  2. You are an insightful and generous soul, Donna. So very correct, and I feel humble.

  3. I ask myself the same thing from time ti time about admitting being wrong at home. I work in retail, so customer service and making wrong things right is a big part of my job, but it somehow seems like a lot more work to do that in personal relationships, ironically enough.

  4. Kev. What an excellent point. My customer today never took my favorite eyeshadow, gauging it with her fingernails and using the color on her doll so history and thus I had no grudges against her. :)

  5. Susan. Yes very insightful and generous...on paper. It's putting it into real action that I struggle with. I am so fortunate my family is a forgiving lot.

  6. Crowe. For 25 years as an RN I was always having to take responsibility for others who would not...mostly and sadly physicians, and you're right it is easier to do it at work.

  7. What a great post and insight....and I'm sooo guilty of doing the same thing with my family:(

  8. The wife-beater is usually the most popular, kind hearted, well loved, person around. It's just when he gets home to those who love him the most that he becomes an ogre.

  9. It's ever so much more difficult to have that generosity of spirit when you have to live with the foibles of those close to us, who are often more than happy to point out your own short-comings! (And then, of course, 'business is business!';-)

  10. That old song - 'We always hurt the ones we love...' is - unfortunately - true.

  11. Good post. Seems that defensiveness is common nowadays, but you're right, it often seems to be harder with those we're close to. I reckon recognizing it is the first step to changing it.

  12. WOW. Great comments.

    Mystic. Thank you

    Cro. It is essential that you understand, I have never beaten my wife. I do sometimes steal candy from my husband

    Broad. Absolutely

    Tom. And it's so stupid isn't it? Why would I want to pick a fight with the man who lies in bed with me when I am asleep and defenseless? Because he is a far better man than I, thats why.

    Leigh. and talking about it publically. One or two of my family members so read my blog, hopefully saying these things "out loud" will help keep me accountble.