Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Defending honor

We can all end up unintentionally being jerks from time to time, but consider this situation:
  • Camp is run by volunteer parents.
  • Camp is extremely popular.
  • Through the commitment of literally thousands of hours, volunteer parents organize camp logistics and a registration process that is consistent from year to year.
  • FLASHING RED LIGHTS: MARCH 1 - DEADLINE

For two years, my wife has done the grunt work on the processing of registrations for this camp and, in that job, has worked hard to convert a cumbersome paper-based system into a computer database entry system that can be transferred easily to the next volunteer. But the most thankless part of my wife's task is having to call parents who did not pay attention to the MARCH 1 - DEADLINE and tell them that their applications are late and their kids are not guaranteed to get in.

An interesting thing happens at this point more often than not; the parent who couldn't circle a date on the calendar acts like someone who is getting bad service at a restaurant and goes on the offensive, laying into my wife, the dedicated volunteer. The general theme is that this particular person was entitled to a wake up call right before the MARCH 1 - DEADLINE.

If I ever act in a remotely similar fashion at any time in my life, I want the closest person to slug me in the face.