Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Amends

In December I wrote a blog post entitled, "Moving: The Saga," in which I told of my experience making a cross-country move with the help of a reputable moving company. You can read the original post by clicking here.

As we had experienced a certain amount of frustration during the moving process, I admit that my post is, to some degree, a rant. If you're reading this, you likely read the original post, and you probably noticed me complaining about dealing with the moving company, complaining about the bills we were receiving, and complaining about when our stuff arrived.

The average person reading that post would probably say, "Ugh, that would've been frustrating." However, if you are the moving company you would've been offended to read my words, which were at times aggressive.

It just so happens that someone from the moving company stumbled across my blog and read my post about them. She responded rather energetically in kind by setting up her own blog in response to my mine. And her comments have certainly given me much on which to ponder. Soon, you will be able to read her response by clicking here. (I will activate this link as soon as the author grants me a request, seen below, regarding confidentiality.)

In the response she is clarifying, from her perspective, some of the events I griped about. Isn't that just it, perspective? I wrote about my experience from my perspective, and she wrote from her own. My words were fueled by frustration, and even though I was harsh, I still hold that I was writing from my experience with this moving company. That should give them something to think about.

(*Note: My above use of italics is not to make those italicized words louder but rather to emphasize the point I am trying to make, which is this: my blog post was the result of my experience with this company. All good businesses will welcome input from their customers as a means to better serve customers in the future and prosper as a company. No doubt this moving company is a good business and will use well this input. Hence, they have something to think about.)

In all frankness, I slung mud at them. Yes, me. (Shocked? Me too, because I'm the least confrontational person out there.) In return, mud was lobbed back my way (some directed at my integrity as a minister, which hurt a little). But also, reading her response, it's evident there's lots of emotion and feelings of being wronged. And as I did not want to "wrong" anyone, that certainly gives me something to think about.

Now, I suppose we could go back and forth slinging mud and arguing details till we're blue in the keyboard. She read my blog and perceived errors which she wanted to correct. There are also errors in her response, which I'm tempted to re-correct. However, this cycle would likely never end. And, where would it get us? Only more disconnected, more angry, more feelings of betrayal, hatred, judgement and of being judged. That is not a road I want to travel. We've all been there at some point or another, we know its a place of pain. I would just as soon not start down it. So, for now I will temper my urge to re-correct certain details addressed in her response.

In the response, she wrote that she tries her best to conduct business and live by the Golden Rule. And I can tell you, as I dealt with her during our move I can affirm that statement. N was the bright spot in my experience, the "ray of warm sunshine," as I originally wrote.

So, readers, where do we go from here? How do we best resolve conflict? I will tarry on the mud-slinging option in hopes that the other side will do the same. I would like to search for a place of reconciliation, a place to make amends, in hopes that the other side will do the same. However, I'll confess, it's not always easy to know how to do that. I suppose I could fold, admit outright that I was off my rocker, take back everything, delete the blog post, apologize profusely and request forgiveness for my words, all the while completely denying and discrediting my own feelings which produced the original comments. That approach would be inauthentic.

I could demand that they see things my way, make a list of all the facts as I see them, insist my list is inerrant, and wait firm fisted until they either ignore me or give in. But, I don't see that working either. Both of these approaches creates a winner and a loser, which I perceive to be a loss for both parties.

A month or more removed from "The Saga," I can think a bit more objectively about the situation. I called this moving company a "scammer" company. Here in January, I am willing to take that strong accusation back; however, I cannot take back the fact that we felt as if we were being scammed.

The truth is, I believe if I had been told some of the things that N has revealed about my move in her response, it may have considerably changed and positively inclined my feelings toward the whole thing. Yet, often times I felt left in the dark by the company, and this generated feelings of angst which grew into hostility. So, communication between us needed to be clearer.

Let me ask you this: What have you done in the past to respond and resolve conflict? What is your advice to me now? What is your advice to the other party?

While I still do not see clearly the road to take for how best to make amends, here is a start:

N,

During my move I had a considerable amount of frustration and negative emotion toward your company. Please accept my apology for posting these feelings on the internet instead of coming to you directly. The result could also be named as slander, and for that I apologize.

I yearn for reconciliation as I believe it to be the most life giving resolution to conflict.

What's done is done, and I cannot take back what people have already read on my original post. However, as a step toward making amends I have removed all names of people and companies from my original post. Please accept this as a step toward reconciliation. I would ask in return that you remove specific invoice amounts from your response blog as they are closely related to my own personal finances and something I prefer to be kept private. I trust you will graciously and promptly honor this request for confidentiality.

I realize that reading my blog has put you on the defensive. For me, reading your response has done the same. My wish is to lower my own defensiveness making myself vulnerable in hopes that you may be able to do the same, so that we might talk to one another openly and genuinely to find resolution.

Sincerely,
Nathan

Readers, I invite your input. Is this a step in the right direction?

Comments?

4 comments:

Neena Dee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dear Nathan,

Thank you. I accept your apology and please accept mine as I allowed both you and Heather to endure unnecessary stresses of your move as it was my responsibility to decrease the stress and apparently, I fell short of this.

I am going to delete my response post for when I forgive....I forget. It is not necessary for you to delete your "moving saga" post as is your right under the first ammendment to express your frustrations. So as long as you keep the participants anonymous, I am okay with this.

I have to agree with you that your post does give us cause for consideration. Your feedback provides us a good amount of data that will help us determine what we can do in the future to better ourselves as a reputable moving company. I do realize that such stresses could have been mitigated with better communication on my part and I have taken this to heart.

If you wish, I will paste my comment in your post and per your request, all the pertinent information you have requested will remain confidential. I will await for your approval to repost my response in your comment box.

Nate, you are a good person and I respect you as a Reverand for it takes a humble man of God to ask for forgiveness and to accept forgiveness as well. This is certainly what Christianity is all about.

Despite the experiences you and I have had as of yet, I consider you as a friend and am happy to have connected with you even if it was a "rocky" blip in yours and my lifetime.

I wish you and Heather the best of luck with your new life in Alaska.

With My Warmest Regards.

Vicki Hesse said...

Good post, Nathan. I hear you coming from your heart on this. My sense is that your feelings are your feelings and they are valid. How did all that mis-understanding make you feel in the midst of it?

As someone who has moved four times in the last six years, my experience with movers and moving companies was not unlike what you experienced. Every time you listed "they said x and I thought Y," I cringed. Inability to contact someone who can make a decision or even make some estimated guess at what time "they" might arrive...frustrated me to no end.

I certainly connected to your frustration and do not feel that your post was slanderous or libel-ous or whatever that means... especially since I can't figure out who you are talking about.

Yes, it was a rant. Yes, I could relate. Yes, I keep you in my prayers. Yes, your contact person is listening to you. None of the companies with whom I worked cared in the least what happened after they got paid, so my hats off to your moving company for taking the time to even notice your blog!

There is room for reconciliation between y'all; you are on a healing path through your honesty and integrity.

thank you for sharing this part of the journey!

Nora said...

What I've learned from your story and from my experience my last year in Chapel Hill is this: it is so worth it to pay extra for a binding estimate.