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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's (not) too late to 'pologize.

Three years ago this summer I participated in a teacher training program in a small town in China called Haiyuan, where I happened to eat at this fake KFC restaurant:

Ah yes.... the FCK.  I thought it was funny (who wouldn't?), so I put up a short blog post about it.

This weekend, as I was looking through my blog stuff on Blogger, I happened to notice that some readers were coming to my old blog through a post on a different site.  I went there, and *gasp!* there were my FCK photos, resurrected from their quiet, dormant life on my dusty old blog, and posted as part of another blogger's article.

I sent an e-mail to the site, asking them to remove the photos.  Here it is:
I see from glancing at my blog traffic that some users have come from your site. I clicked in and found my own photos on your site, which were posted by you without my knowledge or permission. The article is the fake kfc article
The photos are those of the "FCK" restaurant. Please email me to let me know they've been taken down, and do remember that intellectual property theft is not legal. Thanks.
It's actually pretty embarrassing to post that e-mail.  I don't know why I felt the need to be so snippy... It's not like I was hugely offended that my pictures were on another site; it just kind of felt like walking into a stranger's house and seeing my vacation photos on their fridge.

The editor of the site sent me back a prompt and professional response, along with a link to Fair Use guidelines showing that they had a right to use those photos, and then took them down per my request.

I felt bad that I'd been so rude.  So I apologized.  And I got another prompt reply:
"Sure - happy to help, no apology necessary and I in turn am sorry that the use was not to your liking (but glad you were pleased with the prompt resolution)!"
Plus he gave a little more info and made a joke about Canada.  Who doesn't love jokes about Canada?  All in all, it turned into a pleasant and informative exchange that got me thinking about today's topic: apologies.

The Bible says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."  (Proverbs 15:1).  Have you noticed how true that is?  I'm amazed at how phrases like these can change the whole tone of a conversation:

I'm sorry.
I'm wrong.
That was my fault.
I take the blame for that.

Recently I've noticed that when I apologize instead of making excuses or blaming the other person, I almost always receive a gracious response. (It helps that I know a lot of gracious people.)  My experience with my FCK complaint was a good reminder to me that there are real people on the other end of online comment forms, online comment sections, and customer service lines.  So I thought I'd pass these thoughts on to you.

By the way, if the conclusion that you get from reading this post is that you should somehow be using the letters "FCK" when you apologize to someone, I'm sorry you're so dumb.  I was wrong to believe you'd understand my cheesy jokes.  I forgot how clueless you are.  That was my fault.  In fact, I take the blame for that.

Haha.  Just kidding.  :)


Unknown said...

Sheesh, what a profanity-ridden post. What are you trying to teach your impressionable little sister?

(Good insight, and good food for thought!)

Alison said...

I suppose i should apologize for corrupting your young mind, yeah?