The Power of ‘Sorry’

I filled up my gas tank today and as I was tightening the gas cap the pump beeped at me and asked if I’d like a receipt.


It beeped and told me it was printing one, and I waited dutifully. My eyes went from the little electronic screen to the spot where the paper is supposed to come out.

No paper.


Roll eyes.

Yet again the pump and it’s self-serve convenience was mocking me. I walked into the store and asked for a receipt for pump 11. The cashier rattled off the price and I nodded. He handed me my receipt and then did something no other cashier has ever done when the self-service pump failed to issue the receipt it asked if I wanted: “Sorry about that,” he said.

That’s all I wanted. If your stuff doesn’t work right, at least acknowledge it.

One thought on “The Power of ‘Sorry’”

  1. And here I thought you were going to write about the board game! OK, no I didn’t. I have a daily quota of lame jokes, and I was behind today.

    This is a lesson I’ve learned working at Apple. I suppose it would apply at any business. When you really own up to what you did wrong (especially doing so very quickly) you can take a situation where people would otherwise be furious at you, and tone it down to a “Please try harder” or “Don’t make that mistake next time, OK?” Useful!

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