Last weekend it was York Residents’ Festival. We get so many tourists in York that one weekend a year many museums and places of interest offer those who live here a chance to visit for free.
If I’m honest, that had pretty much passed me by. We planned to visit the cold war bunker a few miles away because our little boy was going to a party nearby, and it meant that we could go and do something more “grown up” with our daughter, who would be less likely to have nightmares about it!
Looking up the offer
As we were leaving the house, we remembered about the Festival and quickly looked up the offer. It was a bit ambiguous as to whether they were supporting it or not. When we arrived, we couldn’t get in. There was a couple standing on the other side of the fierce-looking fence who told us we’d be let in in a moment.
We struck up conversation, and it turns out that, having phoned up earlier in the week, they had come along, expecting to be able to visit for free. They were then told that this was only for the first two tours of the day. The man was, quite rightly, cross about this, and decided not to stay. “It’s the principle,” he told me.
Looking in the mirror?
And I immediately recognised myself in him. I’d had a situation only that morning when a nasty taste had been left in my mouth. I’d ordered something from a website a few days before during a flash sale. When it arrived, out wasn’t as expected, so I asked to change it to a slightly different product they were selling.
I was told that they would refund me as soon as I posted it back, and the good news was that I could order the alternative straight away so I wouldn’t have to wait for it. When I asked if they would honour the flash sale price, I was told that they wouldn’t, and that they had to draw the line somewhere as lots of people had asked them to extend the sale.
I’m afraid that I decided not to use this company again, and told them so, politely. It had left a sour taste in my mouth. I was trying to be environmentally sound and also to offer business to a small company, when I could have purchased other products more cheaply elsewhere. I was disappointed that when I was trying to “do my bit”, it just hadn’t gone the way I expected. And I was a repeat customer!
So, were the gentleman at the bunker and myself cutting off our noses to spite our faces? The tour was excellent, and I’m so glad we went. However, if we’d been expecting to get in for free, I’m sure I would have done the same as him. And where do we draw the line, as far as our principles go?
I don’t like to feel like I’ve been walked over. I try my best to be fair in my dealings with others, and hope to receive the same treatment in return. When someone deserves praise, I offer it gladly. When things haven’t gone so well, I might express this quietly so that the same does not happen to others.
What would you have done in those situations?
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