Speak Up

Melissa and I recently had an experience that reinforced the value of speaking up. You might benefit from our experience. We’re members of a wine club which includes monthly wine tasting opportunities. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the tastings were suspended, but we’re still paying for them, thus, the club came up with a scheme to trade the unused tastings for a glass of wine, but with restrictions. I didn’t particularly like the scheme so, when we went to pick up some bottles we were due, the manager mentioned the glass substitute scheme and I told him “I don’t like that plan. You can do better, why not trade all of my unused tastings for a bottle?” To my surprise, he did it. He took a minute to think about it and realized, why not? We negotiated a trade in terms of numbers of tastings to equate to a bottle, but we walked out with an extra bottle, because I asked. If he said no, then oh well, I tried. But, because I tried, and said something, it worked. Speaking up can, though not always, get you what you want. Be it a dinner with one less or one different menu item than on the menu, or a good deal on clothing at a retail store (a trick we learned from Ron Lit – see http://magnusinsights.com/2014/07/connections-ron-lit/). It doesn’t always work – to the detriment, sometimes, of the other party. Melissa and I once took my Dad to a recently opened BarBQue restaurant near our house. We hadn’t tried it yet, but we took him because BBQ is one of his favorites. He asked the server to give him a combo plate of pork and beef, instead of all beef or pork, “just balance it out to be the same proportion.” No was the answer, even though the beef and pork dinners were the same price. Couldn’t do a mixed plate. That was the one and only time we ever patronized that restaurant, which, no surprise, did not last long. It can’t be said that “ask and you shall receive” but it is worth a try; you might be surprised.

David almost always speaks up.  He has been speaking up about things for a long time.  He told me about speaking up, in the form of challenging one of his teachers about unfair test grading, when he was a child.  David often speaks up, not only on his behalf, but on the behalf of other people who lack the courage to do so.  (This was the case when the teacher’s grading was challenged.  All of the students in the class benefitted when David corrected the teacher.)  David has pointed out many flaws in the operation of the assisted living facility where his dad currently resides.  He pointed out numerous flaws, in the form of filing a complaint with the State of Florida, about this facility and in doing so, got the attention of the president of the corporation that operates the facility.  During one of their recent discussions about improvements being made to address David’s concerns, the president mentioned that he was impressed that David was doing so many things to help his father.  David thanked him, then politely corrected him by stating that, although his father will benefit from these improvements in care, all of the other people who live in the assisted living facility will share in these benefits.  Thus, in complaining about negligence that directly impacted his dad, David complained in a way that will result in improved care for all of the residents, without their realizing it.  Speaking up to receive benefits for oneself is a good thing to do, but speaking up to help someone who is unable to help himself/herself is an excellent thing to do.

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