Inevitability, however, is not synonymous with irrelevance.
I think there are at least three things one should do after making a mistake that affects others:
1) Admit the mistake.The first part is so rare that I'm probably a fool to hope for anything beyond it. The second one happens, on occasion, but I think it's only part of the resolution. Taking that third step means that anyone who suffered, a little or a lot, did not do so in-vain. A mistake has value when it leads to prevention or lessons learned for the future.
"This was my/our error. I/We apologize."
2) Fix the mistake.
"Here's what I/we would like to do to make things right."
3) Prevent future mistakes.
"Here's what I/we will do so that, hopefully, this particular error won't occur, anymore."
That's that. Feel free to stop reading now, as an example follows in the form of a rant:
I recently commented in Angie's post about my continued amazement at the completely unnecessary lies people will tell you with a completely straight face.
Just this weekend, some folks lied to me about some damned strawberry shortcake.
. . .
I kid you not.
A restaurant I've repeatedly praised on this blog makes a pretty mean strawberry shortcake - something I hadn't been enthused about in ages. So, when we returned to ATL, recently, we dropped by, ordering FIVE strawberry shortcake desserts: 2 with whipped cream and 3 without.
Before leaving, m'lady checked the desserts for whipped cream. 2 & 3. Looked good, so we left.
We decided to stop by Discover Mills, some 30 miles away. When we got there, I decided I wanted a bit of my dessert. I discovered the following:
I don't know how well you can see that on your monitors, but my girlfriend describes the above as a dry-ass biscuit with some sliced strawberries on it.
And she's right.
When I called the restaurant, not one, but TWO employees told me they knew, for a fact, that the dish is SUPPOSED to look like that. They said there's no juice, no syrup, no anything liquid in this dessert.
I told them that we've ordered these several times so we not only know how a strawberry shortcake is supposed to look, we know how THEIR strawberry shortcakes are supposed to look.
We finished shopping (albeit with a grouchy demeanor) and headed back downtown (sorry, I wasn't throwing away five desserts).
The manager who helped us, then, agreed that the desserts aren't supposed to be dry like that. She went to the kitchen, got the juice or whatever, and applied it to each container. She even added an extra dessert along with an extra container of nothing but the liquid we'd expected before.
She told us, in the future, to be sure to tell the servers to be sure to add the syrup to the dish. I informed her that both employees we spoke to claimed there WAS no "syrup" in the dish.
So, in the end, the desserts were fixed by a smiling, apologetic employee. So, you may ask, why am I not fully satisfied?
Because, these people made a mistake, as people do. Oh well. I can appreciate her approach of solving the original issue but, in my opinion, when someone makes a mistake, they should admit it (although that's a rare and valuable thing) AND take reasonable steps to decrease the chances that it will happen, again.
She only told US what to do differently, as if her staff played no part in this inconvenience. While I recognize that we, as consumers, have a role to play in ensuring our own satisfaction, I'm not sure that someone ordering 5 desserts should have to take them all out of the packaging, open each container, and make sure that that every single ingredient is present.
I dig that she took responsibility by fixing the original issue, but I'm disappointed that she apparently wasn't interested in taking steps ON HER END to make sure this doesn't happen, again, resulting in someone else having to drive all the way back to downtown Atlanta on a Saturday.