Sorry only works for so long.

cal-0814-cl3-restaurant-10Waitrose – Crewkerne, Somerset 9.30am Thursday 21st April 2016.

It could be anywhere.

Me: I’ll have a bowl of porridge please.
Assistant: “Certainly sir”, opens cupboard, no porridge, “Sorry sir, we have run out of porridge”

Me: ”No problem, I’ll have some toast then”
Assistant: “Certainly sir”, opens cupboard, no bread, “Sorry sir we have run out of bread I’ll go and get some. Brown or white?

Me: Brown please.
Assistant returns and gets on with toasting my couple of slices, asks me if I would like honey, jam or marmalade. It’s breakfast so of course it’s marmalade. Then he makes my green tea (as it turns out it isn’t but I had given up the fight by then).

He cuts my toast diagonally into triangles and hands me them on a tiny plate. “Sorry about the size of the plate sir.”

The assistant apologised for three things that were entirely avoidable.

This pleasant young man was playing the cards that were dealt him to the best of his ability.

Lesson – build systems where your team are not having to keep saying sorry.

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