Monday, July 5, 2010

When "I'm Sorry" Isn't

I was at the hospital this morning waiting for somebody to undergo a test and rather than "wasting" the good book I brought with me by reading it in that smelly, clinical setting I decided to peruse some of the magazines laid out in the waiting area by the kind souls who supply them because the corporation that owns the hospital is too cheap even to offer something other than their own propaganda brochures or advertising materials to occupy the poor souls who are there waiting and worrying.  It was in a large print version of the Reader's Digest in which I found an article written about a tangent of political correctness.  The author suggested that we've been trained (by the liberals) to accept more or less automatically any apology tossed in our directions for any or all transgressions committed against us.  He suggested that sometimes there's healing to be had in holding a grudge.  I don't necessarily agree with his thesis, but I have had it with the insincere apology that really isn't one in the first place.

Most guilty of these worthless, most insincere forms of apologies that don't really count as apologies at all are the proprietors of businesses whose policies are in place for their own convenience and protection.  A sign, for example that says, "We cannot accept checks.  We're sorry for any inconvenience," is both a lie and a false apology.  They certainly CAN accept checks; they simply refuse to because they don't want to get burned.  But, here's the kicker.  You can't say you're sorry for something that you can change but refuse to change.  If you were truly sorry, you wouldn't cause the inconvenience!  I'd rather read the honest, "We do not accept checks."

Here's where the article I read in the hospital comes into play, in a sense, though.  When we as the consuming public read one of those "Sorry for the inconvenience," signs we're inclined simply to think, "Oh, that's okay," and reach for another form of payment as we tuck the the checkbook away.  We should not be so quick as to accept those false apologies because they're not honest.  If you're "apologizing" for something you're doing that causes me grief, and you're truly sorry, then stop doing it.  Or, at the very least, stop lying to me and making as if you don't have any control over it when it's your choice to inconvenience me!

Any good Catholic who does some time in the box (confessional) knows that you can't confess a sin that you haven't yet committed.  Likewise you can't apologize for an ongoing policy that makes life harder for the people who give you their hard earned money for the junk or services you sell. If you're sorry, then you're wrong - and if you're wrong, knock it off!

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