Broken Promises


[Author’s note: This is the second installment in my Life Lessons in 250 Words or Fewer essay series. It includes short essays, like this one, that are no more than 250 words … plus an accompanied reading.]


“Stay on the line for amazing customer service!”

The perky, caffeinated, infuriating voice on the other end of the line begged.

Actually, I’ll be the judge of that.

Seeing as how this delivery order was promised to arrive more than 40 minutes ago …

And seeing as how the last time I ordered from you, my order was not delivered for — and I promise you this is not an exaggeration — three hours …

And seeing as how this is now the second time I’ve called, only to be met with promises of “amazing customer service” but without receiving any actual customer service …

Well, you’ll forgive me if I’d like to withhold my rating.

Because amazing is not the adjective coming to mind right now. Aggravating is the word on the tip of my tongue … where delicious, spicy pad thai is supposed to be.

You see, disembodied, bubbly voice on the other end of the line, I am neither disembodied nor bubbly. And my body is quite hungry, while all bubbles in my personality have been popped by your broken promises.

So please accept this lesson, which I provide in a genuine attempt to help the next hungry person who will hold on hoping that amazing customer service is nigh:

When you break a promise, ten tons of words mean less than one ounce of action. And you ought not make another promise while the previous one dangles unfulfilled.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, too-da-loo.


Song credit: Promises by The Cranberries [affiliate link]

Image credit: Untold Broken Promises by Lisa Norwood via Flickr

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  1. says

    Wow what an awesome podcast there Jerod I loved it buddy! Over my past 38 years living as a human being on this planet I have come across many examples of customer service both good and bad.

    Customer Service can break or make a company! I remember when I was a bartender a few years ago that experience taught me a lot about CS and I like to put that experience into everything I do, be it blogging or developing websites and I never try and make promises that I cannot keep!

    Thanks for an inspiring post buddy! Normally I like to leave a tip in my comments but on this occasion they escape me!
    Have a great weekend dude!
    - Phillip

    • says

      Thank you Phillip! Your comment means a great deal. Thanks for posting it. Customer service is HUGE. And this company, while they were trying … I think their efforts to make it “sound right” had the opposite effect in the heat of crisis.

      • says

        Hahaha No problem Jerod! I enjoyed it! Why oh why do do companies insist on trying to sound right!

        I remember working for a company called weatherspoons as a bar tender! We had scripts to memorise when dealing with customers! Wrong just wrong! Yes be polite, respectful and helpful but lets not be trained to be robots!

        All the best dude!
        - PD

  2. says

    This is a lovely format. Got to admit, I expected the audio to sound cheesy. Copy that’s read out usually sounds, well, read out.

    Spotify’s adverts are a good example of this.

    But actually it works great. Writing like you do – lean and punchy – translates really well to audio.

    Maybe that’s a mark of good copy – you know you’re doing it right when it sounds good read aloud.

    • says

      Thank you so much Ian. I really appreciate it. I’m enjoying this format. It’s good practice at getting better at reading copy, and I LOVE the challenge of trying to distill both a story AND a lesson into 250 words. It’s hard, but will hopefully be an exercise that improves my writing overall.

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