We are currently winding down the Christmas holidays with one more set of family members here until tomorrow. Over the past week, almost every one of Dave's siblings and their families have been with us in Tucson. What a joy to have so many Arnesons in one household.
We have eaten ourselves silly and have exercised not nearly as much as we should. But, on a truly high note, the three Labs have been in Heaven. They know how to seek out the "most likely to drop a morsel" and sit at that person's feet, lying in wait.
When one of Dave's sisters called to ask what she could bring a couple of weeks ago, Dave and I thought we would still be in Hawaii until the day before the first visitor arrived. So, he told her, "Maybe bring a pie or some cookies? We have everything else covered." You know how in that game "Telephone", the message gets distorted as it is passed down the line? Well, by the time she and her husband had arrived, it took them about five trips to their car to bring in tubs of cookies, four pies, candy, fudge and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, you got me. They didn't really bring fudge.
But suffice it to say, we have eaten well over the past week.
It just goes to show you how communication can be misconstrued. One of my favorite stories my parents used to share was when they got invited to the home of another couple one evening for "a pizza pie". As they told the story, they didn't eat all day, in anticipation of this culinary delight.
When they arrived at the couple's home, hungry and ready for dinner, they were shocked to find no wafting odors of pizza but rather the invitation to sit down to a "piece of pie" with a cup of coffee.
Whether you are enjoying a piece of pie, a pizza pie or a plate of fudge this holiday season, I wish you happy communicating with you and yours.
Participation requested for this post!!!
I read the latest issue of Reader's Digest today. In it, there was an anecdote that said, "My nine-year-old and I passed a store with a sign that read 'Watch Batteries Installed---$5'. He seemed confused: 'Who would pay to watch batteries installed?' "
I laughed outloud and had to share this chuckle with Dave.
He laughed then asked me, "Why do you think it is that misunderstandings are so funny?" I truly had to pause and think about that.
After a bit of thought, I have come to the conclusion that misunderstandings, when they don't have serious consequences, are so humorous because we can so relate.
How many times have you experienced a misunderstanding, one in which you thought someone meant one thing when they meant another?
George Bernard Shaw said it best when he said "The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
One of my favorite things to make me giggle are butchered song lyrics. You know the famous one Phoebe coined in an episode of "Friends". Instead of Elton John's "Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer", she thinks the lyrics are "Hold me closer, Tony Danza."
Misunderstandings are not always so funny if they impact people in a negative fashion. As someone who consults with folks all over the U.S., the biggest potential misunderstanding I encounter is one of time zone. When a client asks if we can talk at 1:00 p.m., I always ask, "In which time zone?" Clearing up misconceptions before they occur can save a world of frustration.
Just for today, why not be willing to clear up any misunderstandings and laugh at the silly, harmless ones that occur.
I am requesting for you to share your funniest misunderstandings as a comment to this post.
It's not decorated yet but this is our beautiful Christmas tree. It is a gorgeous, 6 1/2 foot Noble Fir and we picked it up from Lowe's yesterday....without paying a dime.....and legally, I might add (lest you think this blog is about how to procure things illegally). This blog might just be about how great my husband, Dave, is with customer service, better with communication than almost anyone I've ever met (despite the fact that I wrote a book on communication).
It all started when Dave ordered a refrigerator. We are having lots of company for Christmas and we might just need an extra refrigerator in the garage. The order was quick and painless, with the promise of delivery on Friday morning. Friday morning came and went, with no phone call (and some frustrated Labrador retrievers, whom I had told, "Sorry, we can't go for a walk this morning as we must wait for our new frig." "Boo", they all said in unison----you'll just have to trust me on that part).
Dave finally got in touch with the manager, who apologized profusely for their error. "How about Saturday?" he asked. Long story short, that refrigerator ended up at the store with a bashed in door, so no delivery. Once again, Dave spoke to the manager who assured him our refrigerator will be delivered this morning. And the promise is it will be done within a two-hour time frame, not the typical "we'll be there sometime between 6 a.m. and your bedtime". Dave thanked the manager and told him we appreciate his diligence in making this right. The manager said, "We just want to be sure you are satisfied. If there is anything else we can do...." And that's when Dave dipped his toe in....."well....if you happen to have an extra Christmas tree, my wife sure would love a real one this year." To which the manager replied, "If you can come by and pick it up this afternoon, I'll set one aside for you."
I've always known Dave is the most charming person I've ever met. But the proof is in the pudding. He simply asks in kind ways, that allow customer service people to want to make things right for him. And that is why we have our beautiful Christmas tree, awaiting decorating today.
Just for today, perhaps we can try to be conscious of how we speak to folks in customer service, especially this hectic time of year.
It will make us feel better, too!!