I’ve combed through more than 10,000 emails trapped in a queue and responded to every one.
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For those of you following along at home: I haven’t been getting all of your messages. Since January, some emails were landing in an unchecked “in” box instead of getting forwarded.
Yeah, it’s pretty embarrassing.
Yesterday, I reviewed the emails from last spring. And now I’m getting to the rest, from February to March.
What a fascinating exercise. It offered me a new perspective on consumer complaints. Here are a few new things that I learned:
Patience really does have its own rewards. After sending my apology and asking for an update on a case, the most common response was: “The issue has been resolved.” That gives me hope that the system still works, at least to some extent. Not always, of course — but maybe more often than I thought.
The worst offenders are still the worst. Reading eight months’ worth of complaints was depressing because for a short while, I thought certain parts of the travel industry had gotten their act together, based on the lack of grievances from readers. But no. The legacy airlines still stick it to their passengers. Frivolous car rental damage claims still get made by the usual suspects. Sigh.
I’m a number, you’re a number. In the end, our cases can be reduced to a single record locator or expressed as a binary “yes” or “no”. I have no illusions about my own role in all of this. I’m expendable. A day will come when this site will go dark and I’ll be parked in a rocking chair somewhere, enjoying my golden years. None of this will matter.
Oh, and one more thing: I found that I’m a little too eager to respond to emails that are critical of my work. Sometimes, it’s best not to respond to a tirade at all. I’m working on that.
If you’re one of the folks who tried to send me a message during the last few months, please accept my sincerest apologies. If you have an unresolved case, let me know. All of my email addresses work now.