I’m so nice… as long as I’m getting paid for it

Today's guest post is by Peppercommer Sara Whitman.

I am all for authenticity. In this business, you can’t put a high enough premium on straight talk, honesty and the real deal. Sometimes, though, you can be a little too open, thereby jeopardizing your reputation and the reputation of your company.

Designall.dllTake for example my return home last week from an international trip with my family. Like most Americans, I was dreading the airplane travel. It’s not a fear of flying or security lines or even traveling with my three kids (who were very well behaved for 12+ hours, for those of you think children are better off in isolation than in the main cabin).

Nope, for me, the constant delays, lack of reasoning and utter disregard for human beings on the plane kills me. This time, we were flying Continental. I’ve been impressed with the United merger so far. It hasn’t impacted me all that much beyond being able to consolidate my miles and a few gate changes. So when my family of five faced a flight delay on our last of a three-leg trip home, I was disappointed, but I know it’s not the airline.

We were delayed, not delayed, leaving right now, last call, and then sat on the tarmac before taking off 90 minutes later. Annoying. Still, it’s the reality of flying today. And it doesn’t change my opinion of Continental or any other airline for that matter.
Then the kicker. Our flight attendant gave us the option to either stay on the plane or to get off. Some passengers opted to stay and others tried to get off. That’s when she said, “Oh no. It’s either all of you or none of you. I’m not going to stand here and be nice to you if I’m not getting paid.”

What? Did I hear that right? You’re happy to be nice to us if we’re all trapped on the plane, but if anyone gets off the plane, you’re no longer paid and we have a fat chance of any common courtesy. Amazing. Authentic? Yes, though not in the way Continental would hope, I’m sure.
We all stayed. The attendant was very pleasant the rest of the trip. But there was no doubt every passenger on that flight knew her real deal.

2 thoughts on “I’m so nice… as long as I’m getting paid for it

  1. Thanks, Sam. Totally agree. My first reaction was a chuckle. The woman a few rows in front of me said she was going to write a letter. That’s still the way to get things done I suppose. She didn’t say if her letter would be sent by mail, email, posted on Facebook or tweeted.

  2. This is a great story, Sara. I would still say authenticity and transparency are good things: the honesty is that it’s the sentiment she’s revealing when she’s being authentic that is so bad. To be frank, this is probably not the line of work for her, if she just couldn’t be nice to people in those circumstances. I guess she could have left it gone unsaid, and those of you who tried to stay on the plane would have found it out the hard way. 🙂