I got hit by the old “blame it on the state” routine this holiday weekend. We were skiing at Whiteface Mountain, near Lake Placid over New Year’s, and unfortunately, my husband hurt himself the first day out, fortunately, not seriously. I didn’t want to ski after he got hurt (I had only done two short warm up runs), and quit for the day. When I asked “guest services” about getting a refund for the day, I was told I could fill out a form and it would take a good three weeks for my request to be “adjudicated.” And, the guest services representative added, “It’s the state of New York so I’m sorry but I wouldn’t count on anything. It’s not the same as a privately-run mountain.”
OK. We all know government is a bureaucratic rat’s nest. But come on. Adjudicate a simple refund request? The mountain can immediately tell by scanning my ticket how many runs I had skied. They can also easily confirm my husband’s injury in one quick check. What a ridiculous waste of time not to mention lousy customer service.
I can never understand why government can’t adopt some of the marketing and accountability of the private sector. Are citizens lower level folks than stock or equity holders? It also makes you wonder at the morale of government employees if they are shackled by the great manacle of the state anytime they try to help someone.
Of course it’s easy to point the finger at someone and find fault. The fact is that we all are guilty to some extent of handcuffing ourselves and not taking that extra step. It’s very easy to blame our not doing so on a million and one things: “The information wasn’t available.” “We couldn’t reach the person and gave up.” “We were told ‘no.’ ” “I’m tired.” I’m a firm believer that there is often another way around the bend and it’s up to us to steer the vessel of our lives so we get where we want to be. We will never succeed in branding ourselves if we take the easy way out.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year with much success branding yourself along with determination, pluck and a little luck tucked along for good measure!
Wendy Marx, Personal Branding and Corporate Public Relations, Marx Communications