Doing It Right

My niece got married this week-end and after a year of planning it was a lovely event for our family. If you’ve been involved with weddings, as a bride, a family member, a guest or just an interested observer, you know that they are complex endeavors with lots of moving parts. The people involved are emotional, lots of money is being spent and something or other is almost certain to not go as planned.

Our primary “glitch” happened at the boutique where the bride bought her gown. She ordered her dress last September and had a couple of fittings in the last few weeks. At the last fitting there was one small detail that needed to be fixed and the agreement was that she could pick up the finished dress the week before the wedding. She called the salon Thursday at lunchtime, expecting to be told that yes, the gown was ready to be picked up. Instead, the woman on the phone, who I’m going to call Jane, advised the bride, two days before her wedding, that “your gown isn’t here” and the owner would call her later that day. Really? To recap, the dress had been received at the salon and the bride had had two fittings. Unless one of the employees took the dress home and wore it out dancing, it had to be in the salon. Where else could it be? To say this was upsetting to my niece is a massive understatement.


So why on earth would Jane tell the bride the dress wasn’t there? Was she unkind? Mean? Stupid? Lazy? Initially, when I was volcanically pissed off, I would have said “all of the above.” When I calmed down, I might have said, to paraphrase Sam Seaborn, that she was just a “nice woman having a bad day.” Regardless of which is the actual truth, Jane was dealing with a customer who had a problem and she made no effort to solve it. When my sister called the salon Friday morning and spoke to someone else, she learned that the dress was indeed at the shop and ready to go, it just wasn’t hanging in the usual place for dresses that are ready to be picked up. There’s no question in my mind that if Jane had made a sincere effort to look around and find the dress, she would have found it.

Ultimately all was well, the wedding was lovely and my niece looked beautiful in her gown. Even so, I’m still annoyed at the way this incident was handled. It’s an example of a little thing that can have a big impact. It’s about making choices about how we treat people. It’s about keeping commitments and living up to promises made. It’s about doing it right.

Kimberly Hanes is a writer with a passionate love for words and ideas and extensive experience in business communications and event planning.

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