Don’t promise what you will not deliver

I will keep this short and try not to rant.

I keep getting rankled by people making promises that they then fail to keep. I am not concerned about the lofty ideals or lowly commitments that come from politicians, but the stuff that flows from the mouths of ordinary folks. I often say to people that one thing that really disappoints a child is a broken promise, so I try to not promise what I am not sure I can deliver. Or, if I say I will, then I do, whatever it may involve in terms of personal inconvenience. But, I noticed a few years ago that people seem ready to trot out a promise, almost as if it’s a way of satisfying a personal need to show they care, but then do not carry through.

In the social sphere, there is a string of “We must do coffee/lunch/dinner/…We must have you over” type offers that never turn into anything else. Then, perhaps, there is a chance meeting with the person(s) concerned and the process starts over again. In the corporate world, we have the “We will get back to you about that…”, “One of our representatives will follow up on that and let you know…”, “We will come between 10am and 12 noon…”. You know the drill. There is a follow-up phone call to ask what happened, and again, we start the process over. It’s hard to see how some firms stay in business, except for the fact that they have customers captive (add name of your favourite company). Firms that really need business and look to serve customers well, cannot afford to be light on fulfilment.

Frankly, I can take the truth and deal with its consequences. If you don’t want to do something just fess up to yourself and keep that empty offer under wraps. If you are in business, just imagine what really happens if a supplier does not provide was is due, or if a customer does not get what you offered. If you are really concerned, then you wont be indifferent to the consequences.



About The Grasshopper

Professional international economist, recently retired from an international organization. I use blogging as a way of organizing my ideas and thoughts about a range of topics. I was born in Jamaica, and spent many years being educated, living, and working in the UK. I lived in the USA for a few decades, and worked and travelled abroad extensively. My views have a wide international perspective. Father of girls. Also, married to an economist.
This entry was posted in Human relationships, Life styles, Private enterprise, Service economy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t promise what you will not deliver

  1. Esther says:

    I’ve noticed the same trend – people say more often now “let’s get together, etc” and then never follow up. I’m taking it in the spirit of “how are you doing today?” – No one really wants a full answer – it’s just a phrase to fill empty time.

  2. Dennis Jones says:

    Having vented a little, I will take up a friend’s offer to have tea this afternoon, having had to shelve the idea a few weeks ago.

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