Where are your manners?!

imagesI’m feeling very irate on behalf of DD. She’s feeling quite livid on her own behalf. Why? Read on …

DD’s major assignment at school this semester is to research a career in which writing skills are used and to interview someone who actually works in that career. This is not necessarily a novelist or journalist, though it could be. There are many, many ways to earn a living that involve writing, and after much thought and deliberation, DD decided to research a public relations career.

What she learned excited her – particularly the fact that if a PR person works for a large company, it is very possible to earn scads of money. This really interests DD. So, she found a woman who runs her own PR company, contacted her, and arranged to meet her for an interview.

DD rehearsed all her questions many times, figured out the most efficient way to get to the appointed location on time, practiced with her digital recorder, carefully planned her clothes, hair and make-up (must look professional, you know!), and headed off early so that she wouldn’t be late. She texted me when she arrived, way too early.

Then she phoned me. In the middle of the morning. You don’t phone a teacher in the middle of the morning. We are busy teaching. So when the phone rings, we immediately assume that it’s an emergency and we answer in a panicky voice.

It wasn’t exactly an emergency, but DD was pissed. Her interviewee didn’t show up. All that preparation for nothing – not to mention a big project that revolved around this interview.

But DD did make contact with her MIA interviewee later, who was full of apologies. So sorry, she wailed, I forgot! One of the casualties of running your own business is that you don’t have secretaries making your appointments and keeping you organized any more, it seems. The woman offered to meet DD another day, but that didn’t work for DD. So, she offered to set DD up with another PR person who lives in our area. DD agreed, thinking that this would be the very least this PR person could do to make up for the missed meeting.

So, after a few emails and phone calls back and forth, DD ended up making an appointment to meet with this second PR person today. She even emailed her yesterday, reminding her of the time and place of their scheduled appointment, concluding with a friendly, “Please call or email me if something has changed and you’ll be late or won’t be able to make it after all.”

I was getting my nails done late this afternoon. My phone rang. Luckily, one hand was done so I could answer. It was DD.

“Mom,” she said flatly.

“Hi DD,” I replied. “What’s up?”

“I have a question.”


“How long is it appropriate to wait for someone when they don’t show up on time to meet you?”

“This one didn’t show up either?!” I sputtered.

DD’s voice was cold. “No, she didn’t. I’ve already left her one message saying that she was fifteen minutes late and I was wondering if she was still on her way or had I gotten the day or time or something wrong.”

No, DD, you didn’t get anything wrong. You did everything right. It’s just too bad that some people can’t keep commitments to those who are counting on them. And five hours later, this woman still hasn’t had the courtesy to call DD back to explain her absence. I hope it’s not death or destruction, because that’s all that could possibly excuse this lack of manners. Possibly.

And DD still has to interview someone who makes their living by writing. Someone who will actually show up to the interview.


8 responses to “Where are your manners?!

  1. What a very sad and frustrating situation. They thought, Ha, she’s just a teenager, we won’t need to bother! Very rude of them. I’m glad it had a happy ending at least.

    • Nora – It was also a good lesson for DD in how the real world works sometimes. Things don’t always go as planned, people do disappoint and don’t follow through on all their commitments – but, we have to be flexible and go on to Plan B as best we can.

  2. That is awful and completely unprofessional! Those women obviously have their heads up their bums! I hope she can find a decent interviewee soon!

    • hannah – The second PR woman finally contacted DD, again all apologies, with two excuses. She “wrote down the wrong date” for their interview, and (this one really made DD gnash her teeth) her “phone was broken”. Right. Someone whose livelihood depends upon appointments and phone contacts wrote down the wrong date and broke her phone. If she didn’t want to help out a student, all she had to do was say sorry, she’s too busy. Definitely NOT a PR person you’d want to hire.

  3. Having done a degree in PR, I can tell you that yes, PR people are all this unreliable. A huge chunk of our course work every year was to interview and/or work with a PR person or firm on various projects. It was a nightmare. They never showed up, they never returned calls or emails, they always had excuses days later. This is a good lesson for DD – do not go to work in PR. It’s a brutal, insanely hectic, chaotic life. Same with communications and advertising and even the magazine industry. I would suggest she find herself a nice novelist. They have lots of time and love talking about themselves. (Or if she gets really stuck she can do a remote interview with me – I write for a living)

    • XUP – Now that’s interesting, coming from the inside, so to speak. I will certainly share that information with DD. Her program coordinator said that she’d never heard of TWO prospective interviewees bailing on one of her students in the 10 or so years that she’s been coordinating. So, she is trying to set DD up to interview a graduate of the program. Probably a journalist or freelance writer, I imagine. If that falls through as well, I am definitely passing on your name to DD!

  4. Having been stood up for another appointment yesterday, I can sympathize with DD. My client has an annoying habit of wanting last minute appointments (in this case in 1/2 an hour). We arrange for the next day, but she’s sleeping off her night shift and hubby is furious at me for knocking on the door. She did at least apologize, 6 hours later!
    There is no excuse for such bad manners and who could trust a PR person like that?

    • VioletSky – And those are exactly DD’s sentiments: are all PR people so unreliable and if so, is this a profession that she really wants to enter? No wonder PR gets a bad rep!