flights, fights and applying the things you learned as a toddler.

12 May

i’d categorize myself as a fairly laid back person. ok, am i a control freak about clean sheets, vacuuming and sanitized toilets – maybe. (but really, if you’re not a freak about those things, what’s wrong with you.)

basically, i want you to know i’m just a normal, run-of-the-mill rational person.  now stick with me to the end, loyal follower, cause this is a great story. so laid back.

so my original airline ticket here was booked for march 27th with a gloriously cost-effective expedia-like company in india called make my trip.  it all seemed so easy in my naïve youth of 2 months ago: book ticket, get on flight, move to kolkata, make india love me.

but then, the indians struck their first blow and denied me entry into their spicy country. depressed, i had to cancel my flight on march 26th.

luckily, the make my trip people kindly told me that i would get a refund from the airline carrier within  6 – 8 weeks.  ok, fine.

please insert your choice of catchy intermission music here.

the weeks flew by and soon it was may 4th and, looking at my credit card, i noticed that no refund had arrived from make my trip.  i inquired – perfectly politely – with their customer service department and was promptly told over the phone that i would not be receiving my refund. their reason? i didn’t show up for my flight.


as i am sure you can understand, being accused of sleepwalking and/or memory loss doesn’t sit well with me. to make matters worse, the customer service guy  said he couldn’t answer my questions – he’d have to call me back within 48 hours. well, a week and several angry emails later, i still had not heard what the effing eff was going on.

so i made some increasingly angry calls to make my trip. but  each effort yielded the same answer: i didn’t show up for my flight, and now i would have to pay for it.

as husband can attest, at this point i was getting ready to march to make my trip’s offices with a pitchfork and torch screaming “kill the beast! kill the beast!”

but after poo-pooing my disney-derived logic, i did the only thing i could think of: i went straight to the top.

yesterday, thanks to some creative email snooping, i sent a very calmly worded email to make my trip’s ceo – deep kalra – with the subject line “make my trip organizational values”.   i did so because, after a little angry clicking around their website, i had discovered that they list customer centricity, integrity, accountability and respect for people as the cornerstone of their corporate culture.

well, the poor man! someone needed to save him from career suicide – because clearly the company  which he was so fearlessly leading was destined for failure.

my email to mr. kalra was incredibly rational. i simply explained that – as a professional courtesy – i thought he might want to know his company was suffering from a massive strategic cultural misalignment, let’s call it.

and, being a genuinely concerned customer, i said i would keep him copied on all my future emails to his customer service department. for his benefit, of course.

and wouldn’t you know it – within 30 minutes of hitting send this morning on my daily email to make my trip’s customer service department, i received a response from mr. ceo’s office. i guess he got my note.

amazingly, it’s now just 7 hours later and i have received 2 emails from senior staff members at make my trip and a phone call confirming they made a mistake regarding my mysterious out-of-body flight tardiness. they’re sorry, and will i please forgive them if they refund my cash within 72 hours?

i win.

what i am trying to illustrate here using my charming indian example is that the values you learn at 3 years old are really the only ones you’ll ever need. even in the most trying situations.

wait your turn (be patient), listen to what your superiors tell you (be respectful), say please and thank you (be kind) and – when all else fails – throw a strategic and well-executed temper tantrum.


9 Responses to “flights, fights and applying the things you learned as a toddler.”

  1. A.A.B. (auntie angie baby) May 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    I had a recent similar experience with my car. In the end, I like to say “be nice to stupid people” because stupid people seem to run the world. smart people? they are trying to change the world – carry on!

    • Al May 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      hah, certainly an excellent theory by which to live ones life. i try not to be too cynical and shocked when things go awry, alas, perhaps that’s not so much working.

      • Barnet May 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

        Remember, the great thing about being a serious cynic is that you rarely experience disappointment.

        “If you scratch a cynic, you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

        – George Carlin

  2. DaddyO May 12, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    A very creative approach and execution – well done! Now that’s the way to win over the real decision makers.
    Great conquest my dear Alli!

    • Al May 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      i just took a page out of the deidra saumure guide to infinite persistence. and of course practiced your ability to stay calm in effed up situations. now let’s see if i actually GET my money….xo

  3. Hannah May 13, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    Your lesson is actually:

    No doesn’t mean no.
    Arguments are like a game of chicken, whoever gives up first loses.
    Demanding {or seeking out} is the best place to start
    Carefully worded explanations with nicely articulated threats are how win.

    That is your lesson dear Al.

    • Al May 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      a very well-stated expansion on my simplistic point. approve.

  4. ann sitch May 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    i’m still worried about that turquoise splotch on your curtains being juan carlos.

  5. Naresh October 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    I would say you have to be into the system to change the system..does not matter how smart you are.

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