THE QUESTION: While socializing at a business reception for several important clients, one of your colleagues, Patricia, whom you do not know well, bumps into you while texting on her phone and spills her glass of wine on your new, silk dress. Shockingly, she nonchalantly says, “So sorry, Ann, excuse me. I never even saw you there,” and walks away without even addressing the expense to have the dress cleaned, assuming the stain can even be removed. You are irritated that this happened because of her carelessness and at her cavalier attitude.
WHAT’S YOUR ANSWER?
A. You call her back over, point out the stain down your dress, and say, “Patricia, I expect that you will pay to have my new dress cleaned or replaced if this stain won’t come out.”
B. Even though she was careless, you realize it was an accident and decide to take the high road, and let it go.
C. You politely accept her apology and approach her privately about taking care of your dress at the first opportunity.
D. You accept her apology and then ask your supervisor to speak with her about the incident and an agreeable solution.
WHAT’S MY ANSWER?
I picked C: You politely accept her apology and approach her privately about taking care of your dress at the first opportunity.
Because it was an accident, I would accept her apology and not make a huge deal about it in front of people. Plus, I think it goes a lot further to show emotional control and grace in situations. I would then try and remove the stain myself – wash it and/or go to the laundry mat. If the stain didn’t come out after all my efforts, I would approach Ann privately and talk about the consequences of her actions. With how nonchalant she acted, perhaps she didn’t realize the cost of her mistake.
Well, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know your answer and why in the comments below.
Don’t forget to read an evaluation of this Dilemma from Fulvio Di Blasi, a world-renown scholar in the field of applied philosophy and business ethics.