Don’t we need a nice apology story right now?

I  think we do.

Thanks to SorryWatch’s Senior Starbucks Correspondent Ernie for sharing this one, via ABC News. (Warning: Video autoplay at the link.)

Mise-en-scène: Andrew Richardson, 20, is staffing the Starbucks drive-through window in Bishop, CA. A lady buys several beverages but is then informed that the shop is out of drink carriers. “She was a touch frustrated, like anyone would be,” Richardson recalls. She asks Richardson if he can throw out some trash she had in the car, and he says he cannot, as this is a health code violation. “She then became a bit more frustrated, but nothing that I would perceive as rudeness,” Richardson recalls. “At worst, she was playfully sassy. I really didn’t think too much of it.” Richardson notes that in customer service, one deals with entitled satanic hosebags [Note: I paraphrase] all the time, and this lady did not even place.

The next day, the lady comes by, sees Richardson, and apologizes! Amazing! They chat a bit and Richardson feels awesome because getting an apology from a customer “doesn’t happen much.” BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. She hands him a card and walks away. In the card is $20 and a letter of apology.

Can you read it? It says:

Greetings, Starbucks barista!

Yesterday at your drive-through we had a less-than-cheerful encounter at no fault of yours. You were out of carriers and said you could not take my empty cup (trash). I was less than understanding & my manner was curt.

I need to apologize. The thought of leaving a trail of unkindness like that is so not the path I want to reflect. Not for you, not for me.

You are young man clearly working hard to build a future and you should be commended. Keep up your attitude of cheer & hope. Stay hopeful no matter what kind of people cross your path (or drive-thru). 🙂

Surely, God has good blessings in store.

You taught this ole lady something yesterday about kindness, compassion & staying humble.


I thank you! God bless you today & all your todays.

Debbie, you mensch! You set an example for us all. We all have cranky moments. Debbie’s was so minor it did not even register on its victim. But she knew she had been rude, and that’s what matters — her discomfort with the fact that she’d not been her best self. Rather than tamp that knowledge down, as most of us do, and brush off her bad feelings about her conduct, she took action. The tip was not necessary; even handing over the letter was not necessary, since she happened to find Richardson working when she stopped by. The verbal apology would have been sufficient reparation. But it isn’t often we get to spotlight an apology that goes BEYOND what is required. Enjoy! Love you, Debbie! Thank you for sharing this, Justin, so we can all see how an apology can make people feel really good, and we can all strive to emulate Debbie!

People on Reddit are so SUSPICIOUS of nice things.

Editor’s Note (also Writer’s Note, because we are a shoestring operation): Snarly apologizes for being a careless reader/picture-looker. That is a $50! Thanks to all who pointed it out.

Posted in Accepting apologies, Good apologies, Personal Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Vermian Underhanded Daily Beast and Nico

still punchable

You may recall our dismay at one of the worst media “apologies” of the last year — The Daily Beast’s half-assed, defensive, self-aggrandizing responses to criticism of Nico Hines’s “story” about pretending to be gay to pick up Olympic athletes on Grindr during the 2016 Summer Games. Hines offered enough teasing detail about the athletes — some of whom came from countries where homosexuality is a crime, not all of whom were out of the closet — to make them identifiable. The Daily Beast defended the story long past defensibility — oh wait, it was never defensible — then apologized shittily.

Read a recap of the offense and the almost-as-offensive rejoinder(s) from the Beast here.

Nico never apologized. The Daily Beast ran no stories by him after the horrid gay-athlete-entrapment piece, but it also never announced that he had quit or was fired.

But now, Nico apparently “returns full-time” to the Daily Beast! (So he un-joined? partly? voluntarily? was there any penalty? was there conscious uncoupling? WHO CAN SAY?? ) The forever-together-and-never-apart-together-forever-we-two announcement comes in an editor’s note after a piece — published seven long, apology-free months after Nico’s entrapment piece ran/was pulled —  called “What I’ve Learned” (under the wee red words: “AN APOLOGY”)! By Nico!

I do not want The Daily Beast to get clicks for this mishegas, so I shall give you a screen shot of the apology and the note. Then we shall discuss why this apology and editor’s note still blow chunks EVEN AFTER WE GAVE THESE SCHMUCKS THE TEMPLATE FOR AN APOLOGY AND HELD UP ANOTHER MEDIA SITE AS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR THEM AND ALSO POINTED OUT WHY THE APOLOGY OF A SMALL BOY WHO THREATENED A FRIEND WITH A BOOGER WAS BETTER THAN ANY OF THEIR APOLOGIES GOOD GOD DAILY BEAST HOW MUCH MORE CAN WE DO FOR YOU?????? Continue reading

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We asked you to work for free to protect your ego

The Next Web conference presents itself as a big huge deal. Founded in 2006, based in Amsterdam, it claims to be “an unmissable fixture in the European tech scene, bringing together a week of side events and a 2-day conference consisting of 7 Stages of content, 250 game-changing exhibitors and 5000 m² of business floor…”

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Luvvie Ajayi

But apparently it’s also a pathetic little shoestring operation cutting corners everywhere it can. Like on paying speakers.

They asked Luvvie Ajayai to speak. Ajayi’s a writer, speaker, and digital strategist. When The Next Web invited her to talk at their next conference she forwarded the request to her agent. The agent sent Ajay’s rates to The Next Web, who replied that they have “no budget to pay any of the speakers and everything they make goes back to production. They don’t offer travel. All they can offer is experience, audience and publicity.”

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When you’re being called “the knees-together judge”…

…you should probably step down. Apologies can only do so much.

Meet Robin Camp! A provincial judge in Canada, he asked the accuser in a rape trial, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” He also informed her that “pain and sex sometimes go together — that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” and repeatedly referred to her as “the accused” instead of “the accuser.” He also asked why, if the man had actually assaulted her at the bathroom sink at a party, she didn’t “just sink your bottom down into the basin so he couldn’t penetrate you?” Astonishingly, Camp found the actual accused “not guilty.” The verdict was overturned on appeal.

Last week, the Canadian Judicial Council recommended that Camp be removed from the bench, even though he SEEMED to fulfill the mandates dictated by the authors of the study we discussed last year, “An Examination of the Structure of Effective Apology.” He did all the things! Expressed regret, explained what went wrong, acknowledged responsibility (sorta), declared repentance, offered repair, requested forgiveness. And he apologized multiple times! He began apologizing after the appeals court overturned his decision and four female law professors at Canadian universities filed a complaint saying he’d expressed “disregard, if not disdain” for Canadian rape laws. (Their letter is worth reading.) He kept apologizing during the hearing on whether he should keep his job. And he apologized some more after he resigned. Yet all this was not enough!

Let’s talk about why not.

Apology #1: Camp issued a statement apologizing for causing “significant pain” to the complainant and saying he felt bad if (you know how SorryWatch loves the “if” apology!) his words made rape victims less likely to prosecute their rapists:

I am speaking particularly to those who hesitate to come forward to report abuse of any kind and who are reluctant to give evidence about abuse, sexual or otherwise. To the extent that what I have said discourages any person from reporting abuse, or from testifying about it, I am truly sorry. I will do all in my power to learn from this and to never repeat these mistakes.

He also promised to undergo sensitivity training. Cool, since the qualifying phrase “to the extent” is pretty insensitive! Get rid of “to the extent,” bub. What you said DOES discourage people. Not just victims. It discourages all people who value justice and the law (not the same thing) to believe that justice can be served in Canada.

At the hearing itself, Camp apologized for his words and said “I wish I hadn’t said them.” (We do too.) He said, “I struck the wrong tone in counsel submissions. I was rude and facetious.” (Bro, “tone” is not the problem here. Content is.) He continued, “I didn’t realize the implication that came with those words.” (What words? Name them. Also, it is suspicious that you did not understand the implication of calling the accuser the accused.)

He went on, “I held onto the myth that women were supposed to fight off aggression” and noted that he was from South Africa, so he didn’t necessarily understand Canadian rape law. (Uh, you’re a judge in Canada. A justice and a law professor testified that Camp hadn’t been properly trained in Canadian sexual assault law or in how to conduct a sexual assault trial in Canada, but if I run over a little old lady with my car, I don’t get to blame my 10th grade driving teacher.) Camp also said, “I’ve let my family down. I’m sorry for the embarrassment I’ve caused to my wife and daughter.” (Nice subtle invoking of the women in your life, but you didn’t just embarrass them. You need to apologize to all of Canada.) Finally, he apologized to “the accused,” causing an audible gasp in the courtroom. The judge had to point out to Judge Camp what he’d just said. He corrected himself and said he apologized to the complainant. (A 19-year-old homeless indigenous woman, she’d said she wanted to kill herself after the trial.) “I’m very sorry that, on reflection and rereading what I said, that I intimidated her, using facetious words.” (You need reflection to realize this? Also, say you’re sorry for failing to uphold the law, when you’re a friggin’ judge.) “I’m a lot better than I was,” he affirmed. “I’ll always be vigilant. Perfect, I’ll never be.” (Saying this at the hearing about whether you deserve to keep your job is…not encouraging.) Finally, he assured the court “I was very unhappy with myself.” Well, OK then!

The judicial council decided, despite Camp’s apologies, that he should be removed from the bench. This is a very rare thing in Canada — only two judges have been asked to step down since the council was created in 1971.

The council observed that Camp had maintained that he shouldn’t be axed because 1. He’d apologized. 2. His legal decisions were reasonable and in accordance with criminal codes. 3. He’d provided evidence of remediation. 4. Removing him from the bench would be disproportionate punishment. As we are not a legal blog, but rather an apology blog, we will only look at #1 and #3.

The council pointed out that Camp’s argument rested on the fact that “removing him would mean that sincere apologies and extensive education are incapable of restoring public confidence in a judge who displayed unconscious bias.” The committee responded: “[T]he Judge is correct. Apologies and education may not be sufficient in certain instances.” (Is there not a slight edge of eyebrow-raisedness in that response?)

The fact that Camp said he didn’t know he had prejudices held no water. The council noted that his knees-together and “sink your bottom into the basin” queries were “not simply attempts at clarification. He spoke in a manner that was at times condescending, humiliating and disrespectful. The Judge’s misconduct was manifestly serious and reflected a sustained pattern of beliefs of a particularly deplorable kind, regardless of whether he was conscious of it or not.”

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No shoes on the couch

Screen grab of White House photo op

Excuse me, we paid for that couch. With our taxes. Is there anyone in this picture who doesn’t pay taxes?

In many families or classrooms, kids are taught the difference between an “outside voice” and an “inside voice.” Inside voice is quieter.

Then there’s an “inside-the-head voice.” That’s the voice for things that no one else needs to hear. Things like “he’s fat,” “what an ugly baby,” and “images of women make me think about sex acts.”

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Political Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

My public contempt for you is a concerned, helpful contempt

Photo: Pascal Blachier. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I was totally listening, Mr. Greer. And I was wondering if we could talk about how a border wall would cut off the remnant jaguar population in the US from the population in Mexico?

Rubidoux High School is located in Jurupa Valley, California. The school “mascot” is the jaguar. The town is about 70% Hispanic or Latino, and the student body is closer to 90%, according to the Washington Post. The town’s on part of the old Rancho Jurupa, a Spanish land grant.

SorryWatch wasn’t surprised to learn many students skipped school February 16th for the national Day Without Immigrants, especially in the current political climate. SorryWatch skipped some high school days for political demonstrations, and we’re not sorry.

SorryWatch wasn’t surprised some teachers liked having a small class for one day. But we were surprised that they got on social media and attacked their absent students.

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Regret is not apology, Karl

Bradley Theodore graffiti, NYC

DRAAAAAAAMA that has nothing to do with actual awards!

Out of nowhere, two days ago, Chanel’s terrifying-yet-mockable designer Karl Lagerfeld told Women’s Wear Daily that Meryl Streep was set to wear one of his gowns to the Oscars but backed out — with the custom-designed dress nearly finished — because she was getting paid by another fashion house to wear its gown. Lagerfeld said that Streep’s people informed him, “Don’t continue the dress. We found someone who will pay us.” Lagerfeld sniffed to the magazine, “After we gift her a dress that’s 100,000 Euros [$105,000], we found later we had to pay [for her to wear it].” He concluded, “A genius actress, but cheapness also, no?”

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You came to say you’re sorry?

Photo: gordonramsaysubmissions. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

It is so beautiful. And yet: ice cream headache.

Michele H. was 10 or 11 when she was asked to babysit for some neighbor kids. The parents said she could eat anything in the house. There was ice cream in the freezer, so after the little kids were in bed, Michele had some.

Yay, sweet gig.

A day or two later, Michele’s mother told her that she’d talked to the neighbors and learned that the freezer door had been left open. All the frozen food had melted or had to be thrown out.

Now, Michele’s mother had always told Michele that if she did anything wrong, she should tell her parents, and she wouldn’t be punished. And her parents lived up to that. If Michele told her parents what she’d done, she didn’t get in trouble. Even in the case of the slingshot incident.*

This created a certain fearlessness.

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Posted in Good apologies, Youth apologizes | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

10 Things We Hate About the Telegram’s Apology

First, check out this apology by Steve, the managing editor of the Telegram in Newfoundland. Steve is purportedly apologizing for a headline on a rape story — “TOO DRUNK TO REMEMBER.”

Let’s discuss! Why is this a terrible apology, compounding the initial offence? [Editor’s Note to Spellcheck: CUT IT OUT. I AM SPELLING “OFFENCE” IN CANADIAN.] Continue reading

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The biggest mistake in drunk driving apologies

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Steven Bowditch

Steven Bowditch is an Australian golfer. Good player, currently on the PGA tour and the PGA tour of Australasia, known for bewitching eyebrows and a struggle with severe depression.

In the low-digit hours of February 3rd, Bowditch was arrested in Scottsdale, Arizona, for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was competing in the Phoenix Open there.

They ran him in. He bailed out. The next day he played in the open and shot 3 over par. This meant he missed the cut by 7 strokes. The trauma of his arrest? A hangover? Or just the way he plays? (Although it’s possible he often plays hungover.) It was the same score he’d gotten the day before his arrest.

Was he really driving drunk or were the Scottsdale police just being persnickety?

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Posted in Apologies and Alcohol, Bad Apologies, Sports Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment