Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Wrong responses bring pressure, but right responses bring pleasure!

This week I went to a local office supply business to purchase some computer software.  I inadvertently purchased the wrong thing, but did not realize it at the time.  When I got back to my office and prepared to install it, I realized that it was not exactly what I needed.  I carefully re-packaged everything and returned to the store. 
As I was waiting in line for the customer service representative to help me, there was a man and his wife ahead of me.  The man wanted to purchase two of the same item, so he had printed two coupons from the store’s website.  The manager explained that the coupon was only good for one item and that the computer was only able to accept one purchase of one item with a coupon at a time.  That was not the answer the man wanted to hear!  He became irritated and argumentative. 
While I watched all of this transpire in front of me, I wondered why the man didn’t just purchase one of the items with one of the coupons and let his wife purchase another of the same item with the second printed coupon.  It would have been a simple solution to the problem, but I decided to hold my tongue.
Anyway, the man decided to make a federal case out of the fact that the manager would not do what he wanted him to do.  He raised his voice at the manager and told him that it was ridiculous that he could not get two of the same items with one coupon.  Rather than trying to cooperate in any way, he did not want to listen.  He just wanted to be right!  Every one of his responses brought more and more pressure upon himself and upon the manager.  I noticed that his wife was embarrassed by the whole situation and I think she was looking for a place to go hide! 
Finally, the manager suggested the very solution I had just thought of a few minutes earlier.  He explained that it would be possible to use both printed coupons on two of the same items as long as they were processed in the computer as two separate transactions.   Therefore, there would be two different charges on his credit card. 
Well, as soon as the man discovered that what he was trying to accomplish could actually work, his whole demeanor changed.  He became nice and cooperative.  He got his two separate discounts, purchased two of the same product, and left the store.
I was next in line.  I explained to the manager that I had purchased the wrong software and simply needed to exchange it for an upgrade product.  Then he explained that software is very sensitive and because it had been opened, he might not be able to allow me to return it.  I told him I completely understood and went on to explain that I had not used it.  I politely asked him if there was anything he could do to help me.  I also explained that I simply wanted to upgrade it to a more expensive version. 
After looking at the package, the manager realized that none of the serial codes had been damaged in any way.  He then agreed to exchange it for an upgrade after all.  I told him that I did not want him to do anything that would get him into trouble, but he assured me that what he was doing was within the guidelines and procedures of the store’s policies – especially since I was getting an upgrade and spending over $100 more on the necessary software. 
My interaction with the manager was very different from the gentleman who was before me.  His interaction had been heated and difficult, which brought pressure.  Mine had been warmer and kind, which brought about an exchange that was pleasant.  Both of us had experienced a problem, but we each handled things in a very different manner.
I not only thanked the manager, but also told him that I thought he had handled the previous couple before me very well.  I complimented him on his patience and his creativity.  He said, “As a store manager, you sometimes have to bend over backwards to work with people, but that is the way to keep customers coming back to your store!”  I again commented that I felt he did an excellent job and had remained calm throughout the entire process.  I also commented on his creativity in allowing the man to actually accomplish what he was trying to do in the first place – just in a different manner, with two different purchases.
As I left the store, I thought about the difference in the way people deal with others.  When you offer a wrong response to someone, pressure will begin to build.  However, if you offer a right response to a person, pleasure will be the result.  And, the interesting thing is, all of us have the choice as to how we respond to others.  Whether a wrong response or a right response occurs is up to us.  We are the ones who control the words that come out of our mouths and ultimately create either pressure or pleasure.
I don’t know when will be the next time you face a hard situation, but I want to encourage you to respond in a positive, upbeat, encouraging manner.  If you do, you can watch pleasure occur and see the value of this Tip.  It is something that will pay big dividends, not only in relationships, but in your wallet as well!
Have a great week!  God bless you!
Robert A. Rohm Ph.D.
Personality Insights, Inc. 

Reprinted with permission from the “Tip of the Week”. To subscribe for the free “Tip of the Week” please go to and receive Dr. Rohm’s weekly Tip every Monday morning.


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