American Airlines lost my wife's luggage last night. This morning, the driver brought golf clubs, not her bag, to our house.
The thing is, every single person who walks into the Lost Baggage office is annoyed, disappointed, upset or angry. And the hurdle that American has to get over is trivial.
"Hi, guys. You look like your luggage is lost. I'm really sorry. Would everyone in the family like a lollipop?"
What would happen if every single AA rep said that (with as much sincerity as they could muster) when each rightfully annoyed person walked in?
Instead, of course, it's a lot of grumbling, poorly xeroxed forms, irrational procedures, delays, and most of all, passing of the buck.
This is true: Yesterday, I watched the supervisor give a woman $95 for a suitcase worth triple that. American had totally trashed the bag, and the victim wasn't pleased with the settlement. The woman behind the desk snapped, "Hey, you should be grateful. I'm being nice because it's Easter. I could have made you get me a receipt for your bag!"
Amazingly, sometimes all you need to do to be a Purple Cow is say, "I'm sorry."