Have you ever been taken for a “ride” by a cab driver, been treated poorly by sales reps, had to wait for hours cuz your flight got delayed, or had your order botched at a restaurant? These are all things that we put up with that we don’t have to. Feeling like you just got screwed over sucks. Now don’t get us wrong- we’re not suggesting that you make a fuss over every little thing that’s not to your liking. Human beings make mistakes, and many times it’s a deal-able situation. For instance, if on your sandwich you get provolone cheese instead of the Swiss that you ordered, it might not be fuss-worthy. That said, if you’ve got a hankering for Swiss, and you indeed ordered it—get it! In addition, there is a class of behaviors, or lack thereof, that is just plain inexcusable. For instance, you get in a cab and the meter says $42, 309 (which is what happened to The Dream Team last weekend). WTF is that about? Unaccepts for sure! In this instance, The Dream Team asked the cab driver what was up with the meter and laughed with him about how it was clearly broken. He said he’d charge a flat rate to our destination, which was a few dollars more than what the frequently Mammy-travelled route would usually cost. The solution in this case was for us to realize that his requested fare included his tip– done. There is a way to go about these situations without being a jerk. You need to behave with a sense of calm, confidence, assertiveness, and grace. It doesn’t have to been an awkward confrontational situation, the fear of which prevents most of us from asking for what we want. The Dream Team proposes the following recommendations.
Taxi drivers who overcharge
Only challenge the fare when you’re certain that he overcharged you on a route you travel frequently. Keep in mind that gas prices increase, so if you haven’t ridden in a cab for a while, this could be the reason for an elevated fare. Getting a lower fare can be difficult because often cab drivers doggedly defend their fares when they’re clearly just trying to get a few extra bucks. When you arrive at your destination, what you need to do is stay calm, and state with confidence that you travel the route frequently and it costs $x. Tell him you’ll give him that amount. If he tries to argue with you, repeat yourself until he backs down. Mammies have successfully used this strategy countless times. Which brings up a whole other issue– Why all the shady cab drivers?!
Dealing with online order problems
Consider that if your order involved postal service delivery, the mail may be to blame, and it might be inappropriate to use the approach below. Follow these guidelines only after you’ve determined that the order company is clearly at fault.Email customer service with your complaint, and make sure you include all the relevant details (order # and such). If you don’t hear back from them within a few business days, simply forward your original email to them. If a week passes and you still haven’t gotten a response, resort to the use of threat. Email customer service again, notifying them that this is your third attempt to get in contact. Copy and paste your complaint, and let them know that you’ll be contacting the Better Business Bureau if you don’t hear back from them within a week. Usually this will result in a swift move to appease you. The key here is to use email as a way to document your attempts to contact them.
Airline delays and baggage problems
You can get a free ticket, or frequent flier miles, for certain types of delays. Delays due to weather conditions won’t get you anything, since (clearly) these are out of the airline’s control. However, mechanical failure falls under the responsibility of the airline, and you can get something out of this. For instance, due to mechanical difficulties, Mammy’s recent flight was delayed by 3 hours. She couldn’t get on any stand-by flights to the original destination, but she did manage to get on a standby flight to an airport near the original destination. Of course there was the luggage concern- Mammy’s luggage ended up at the original destination. The ticket agent at the departing gate had told her she wouldn’t be able to have the luggage sent to her house. Mammy refused to accept this and took matters into her own hands. Mammy got her bags delivered to her home that evening, free of charge. She also received frequent flier miles for the delay. Here’s how you can do it:
Getting bags delivered. At the arrival airport, calmly explain to the baggage claim agent the situation. There’s no harm in telling him or her (calmly) that you are frustrated with the situation. Just remember to be friendly, calm, and treat the agent with kindness. Use your manners – “please” and “thank you” will get you a long way.
Getting miles. Write and mail a hard copy of a letter to the CEO of the airline (contact information may be found on websites), explaining your frustration with delay situation and how it ruined your plans for the day. Keep in mind that it can take up to 6 weeks to receive a response.
Sending food back at a restaurant
Mammy is constantly asking for exclusions and substitutions in her restaurant orders, so often her orders arrive at the table messed up. Mammy’s protocol for handling this situation:
1. If it doesn’t come naturally, express the disappointment on your face.
2. Remain calm, and explain how your order differs from what you really ordered.
3. Say you’re sorry for sending it back, and acknowledge that it wasn’t the server’s fault.
4. Smile and say thank you.
5. Wait for your correct order to arrive. Possibly steal a French fry or two from your companion’s plate to hold you over.
Easy. And what’s more, many times your meal will be comped without you even having to ask. Should this occur, add to your server’s tip at least half the price of your meal. If you have to wait an excessively long time (please use your judgment here) for your meal to be delivered and perhaps go hypoglycemic, ask for the manager and calmly explain the situation. Tell him you don’t think you should have to pay for your meal. 9 times out of 10, you won’t have to.