Saturday, June 25, 2022

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Did you ever try to be a nice guy and do the right thing, but then have your niceness taken advantage of, to the point that you say, “That’s it. I’m not going out of my way to be nice anymore!”? 

No, of course that did not happen to you — at least not in the past two years. Ever since the Covid pandemic began, our entire culture has lost its collective mind, and now nobody is nice. We’ve all spent two-plus years stressed-out and frustrated, and worst of all, we’ve spent way too much time focused on Satan’s media, er, I mean, social media.  Which means we’ve been filling our brains with toxic and divisive vitriol being spewed by such verbal flame-throwers as Alex Jones, Joy Behar, and Vanna White. (“Push your own damn letters, Pat!”)
Anyway, the other day I tried to be a nice guy, and not surprisingly it turned into a situation where my amenability was totally abused. (But not as much as the website was abused by me trying to find a fancy word that means friendly and agreeable.)

Right after I flew home from a business trip to Dallas, I received an email from American Airlines. The subject line said, “William, how was your flight?” I clicked on the email and it read, “After your flight from DFW to BDL, how likely are you to recommend American Airlines to a friend or colleague?”

Underneath this question was a simple grid with numbers from zero to 10. Well, my flight was fine. Everything was ontime, there were no problems, and so I decided to press the “9” box and give them some positive feedback. After all, airlines probably get tons of grief these days, so a little “atta-boy” for a job well done seemed like the right thing to do.

I pressed the “9” box (no one gets a perfect “10” from me — that’s just a little personal quirk), and figured I was done. But no. The minute I pressed “9,” a website popped up with a few more questions. I answered those questions, and another page popped up. Then another page, then another. They asked me to rate the cleanliness of the plane, the comfort of the seats, the convenience of the bathroom, and a zillion other topics. 
After answering questions and clicking through about seven screens, I paused and said, “Wait a minute. How long is this stupid survey? I’m just trying to give them a quick thumbs-up, and now they’re abusing my amenability!” (No, I didn’t really use that word, having just heard of it for the first time when I started writing this essay.) But I did exclaim, “I didn’t NOTICE whether the pilot’s tie was straight! I didn’t get CLOSE enough to find out if the flight attendant recently used mouthwash! When is this brutal interrogation going to END?!”

I was tempted to close out the browser and forget the whole thing. But I really wanted to give them some positive feedback, and at that point, if I cancelled it, the previous 15 minutes of my life would’ve been wasted. So, I slogged on and kept answering questions and clicking through screens. 

Finally, it came to an end. The last page was not a question that required a 0 to 10 rating. It was a big open text box with instructions to, “Type any additional comments you have.”

This is what I typed: “Everything about my flight from Dallas to Hartford was excellent. But your sneaky, time-consuming email survey was like a surprise SAT exam. Not fair! It rates a zero out of 10! Don’t do that again! Next time I won’t demonstrate nearly as much amenability!” 

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