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@Corfasht (I know I already posted this link once, but TypePad makes it very difficult to read prior comments, and I doubt the commenter to which I am replying bothered to do so.)
On your last question, Daniel Pink has it right: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
@Divalicias When I made inquiries about this several years ago after this happened to my daughter, I was told that there were no laws or regulations whatsoever governing how airlines handle unaccompanied minors. Each airline apparently is entirely free to make whatever rules it wants about how to handle them.
@MW I doubt Phoebe Klebahn's experience would have been any different if she had flown through Newark. It certainly wasn't different for my daughter three years ago, when the Continental gate agent in Boston put her on the wrong plane, the crew of the plane she was put onto didn't notice she was on the wrong plane, the crew of the plane she was supposed to be on didn't notice she wasn't there, the gate crew in Newark didn't notice that she was supposed to be in Cleveland, and the staff in the unaccompanied minor room didn't notice either. Note that most of those people signed the bottom of my daughter's unaccompanied minor paperwork, which spelled out clearly that she was supposed to be going to Cleveland. Furthermore, the last person in the chain, the staff person in the unaccompanied room, looked at my daughter's paperwork to get my in-laws' phone number from it to call and chastise them for not being there (in the wrong state!) to pick up their granddaugher, and still didn't notice that the paperwork said Cleveland, not Newark. for the full story.
@Mliebow 1) You have zero evidence that Professor Sutton is censoring comments on his blog to favor a particular point of view. I believe him to be a man of integrity, and I find the baseless accusation offensive. 2) Here is what my wife wrote when this happened to us three years ago and people said it was our fault for allowing our daughter to fly unaccompanied: .
In the ever increasing demand for higher profits, corporations are required to squeeze every single dollar they can from wherever they can. Morality has no place in profits and efficiency. A corporation is a soulless entity created and nurtured to make money. While I am certain there are many corporations which fit this mode, there are also many which do not. There's no intrinsic reason why morality would be at odds with profits and efficiency. There are plenty of businesses, large and small, which are profitable, efficient, and moral and which treat their customers well. Indeed, one could argue that while treating one's customers poorly might yield short-term profits, in the long term it is bad for business. For example, thinking back on the numerous software companies I've worked for, the majority of them considered delighting their customers to be their primary path to success, and some of them were even profitable. :-)
@Bob Aho I think there is some truth to what you say, but there is also a huge flaw in your argument... There are a number of successful (i.e., profitable) airlines whose fares are as low as United's, if not lower, and whose treatment of customers is far better. I think it's much less about cheap fares leading inevitably to poor service, and much more about the mishmash of regulation and deregulation causing an unfair playing field which makes it hard for smaller, more consumer-friendly airlines to compete with the huge, uncaring airlines on many routes.
Ridsel wrote: I don't wish to defend United at all, but I do wish to suggest that we (the flying public) are part of the reason that their employees are so disengaged. I regularly see passengers yelling and screaming at United employees when a flight is delayed... I think you've got the cause and effect mixed up. I'm sure there are a few people out there who will scream and yell and carry on no matter how well they are treated. But in most cases, the yelling and screaming is the result of how people are treated, not the cause of it. You're absolutely right that United employees have little control over what they can and cannot do to mitigate the way their airline abuses its customers. However, what they do have control over is the way they give bad news. They can be sincerely apologetic and empathetic, or they can spend a half hour talking to their coworkers instead of helping the growing line of desperate passengers, rolling their eyes at people who are upset, telling them to go away, and making it clear in a myriad of ways that they have zero sympathy and what they'd really like is for everyone just to go away and leave them alone. I'm sure it's a thankless job. I'm sure the people in it have a ton of abuse heaped upon them for things that are not under their control. But they are choosing to be part of that system, and "I'm just following orders" does not cancel out their culpability for treating people like garbage. It is also worth mentioning Bob's story about strategic temper tantrums in The No Asshole Rule, which he retells in a blog entry at . As he establishes there, it's a well-known fact that sometimes the only way you can get an airline employee to pay attention to you is to tell, scream and swear.
"...but writing an e-mail to the CEO's e-mail box will get you a call from executive relations very quickly." Who cares? They won't do anything useful either. All the executive relations office is supposed to do is placate angry customers and make them go away. They have no power to make any sort of meaningful long-term change. The marching orders they are given are, "Everything we're doing is fine. Complaining customers are the problem, not us. Just do whatever you need to do to make them go away."
@Joe, Sounds a lot like what Jeffrey Gitomer says in "Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless".
United nowadays is, of course, the merger of the old United and Continental. I'm said to see they're up to their old tricks. They lost my daughter in 2009 ( ). Aside from the exact details of how they lost her, everything else was exactly the same as what happened to your friends... the indifference, the incompetence, and a total lack of caring about what happened until it made the media (because I contacted the media and made a fuss about it, hoping thereby to force Continental to change for the better). They lost another unaccompanied minor the same weekend they lost my daughter. And they've clearly lost children before and since. It really is astounding, isn't it?
Wow. That's awful. It looks to me like even the font she used for the title of her book is a close match for yours. That's too much of a coincidence. I think she's clearly trying to rip you off. That sucks. Please keep us posted about what happens with this. I hope you and your publisher do everything you can to ensure that the "author" of the other book and her publisher get what's coming to them.
Blogs have been commercialized like this for a long time. Popular bloggers get freebies, money for writing product reviews, and even paid trips to conferences and such sponsored by the companies that want to be written about. The honest bloggers admit when they're receiving any sort of remuneration for what they right. There are lots of dishonest bloggers. And yes, I do consider it dishonest when a blogger fails to disclose that they have a financial interest (past or future) in what they're writing about. I'm sure my blog ( is far less popular than yours, but I've been getting occasional offers for people to pay me money to write about them / link to them / whatever for years. I pretty much always ignore them. (I do have AdSense on my blog, which pays me very little -- I finally got my first $100 payment from them after having them on my blog for a year.) Something you have to be careful for is if someone asks you to put a link or ad on your blog, and they aren't clearly working for an ad agency or company you can verify and trust, there's a good chance they're trying to use your blog as a platform for getting malware onto people's computers.
Toggle Commented Aug 2, 2010 on Buying PR In Blog Posts? at Bob Sutton
"People who I have never met, but insist that their questions or concerns are so important..." Wanting to be helpful to other people is a normal, virtuous feeling. It is admirable to put oneself in a position of being able to help others. However, those who do so need to keep one very important thing in the back of your mind all the time: YOU DON'T OWE THESE PEOPLE ANYTHING. When someone makes unreasonable demands on your time, of course it's wise to try, at least in the first round, to politely deflect or defer their requests. However, if they continue to aggressively insist that they expect you to help them or you're somehow in the wrong for not doing so, then for your own mental health and sanity, I think you need to tell them firmly and explicitly that although you would like to help them, whether to do so is a choice, not an obligation. If they respond apologetically at that point, then help them as your time permits. If they continue to bluster and demand, then put them on the ignore list without guilt or regret. "In my old age, I seem to be using passive aggressive methods more..." I used to totally despise passive aggressive methods of responding to people and thought they were rather hypocritical. "If you have a problem with me, then put it out in the open so we can work it out," was my attitude. However, as I've aged that attitude has mellowed somewhat. I'm still not terribly enamored of people who use passive aggressive techniques to avoid conflict, but I've come to believe that there are circumstances when it is reasonable. One of these is when the target of the passive aggression is just a jerk who isn't worth getting worked up or creating a public scene about. The other is when the situation is likely to blow over in time, and the other guy just hasn't figured that out yet, so you're just quietly waiting for it to become moot.
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Jul 23, 2010