The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


Who’s at fault?

My wife just endured one of those “clients-from-hell” experiences.  After investing hours and hours coordinating a cruise for a new client; the client cancelled at the last minute.  Nine months of effort cancelled – no cruise; no commission; no long-term client relationship.  Who was at fault?

It started out innocent enough; a pastor wanting to coordinate a church retreat.  Timing was fine; the sail date was a year out.  A man of God and his flock – how bad could it get?  My wife even secured approval from the cruise line to qualify his trip for fund raising; the cruise line would contribute $50 per cabin; my wife pledged another $10.  Seemed like a win all the way around.

Then reality set in – missed deposit deadlines; delayed paperwork; lost credit card; last minute changes; demands for upgrades; the works.  And no matter what was provided, “more” was demanded.  And when “more” was no longer available; “cancel” was called on.  But who was at fault?

Well obviously it was Murphy’s fault:

Murphy’s Law: 

If anything can go wrong, it will. 

Unknown Sage

In fact, our favorite Unknown Sage offers us a lot about this person Murphy and what he does to our client service experiences:

Murphy’s Law gives rise to Murphy’s Philosophy:    

Smile… tomorrow will be worse.

Murphy’s Eighth Corollary:

It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

Addendum to Murphy’s Law:

In precise mathematical terms, 1+1 = 2, where “=” is a symbol meaning seldom if ever.

Gattuso’s Extension of Murphy’s Law:

Nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get worse.

Yep – it got worse.  My wife earned a masters degree about Murphy with this client!

If we’ve been in business long enough, we’ve all faced the, “Who’s at fault” moment, true?  Who gets the blame?  Does it matter?  Sometimes, we just get “run over” by one of those disingenuous, impossible-to-satisfy clients, determined to totally waster our time; and then say it was our fault.

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an engineer”, said the balloonist.  “I am”, replied the woman, “How did you know”?

“Well”, answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is, technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”

The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”  “I am”, replied the balloonist, “but how did you know”?

“Well”, said the woman, you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.   You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air.  You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

Unknown Sage

I wonder if his name was Murphy.


Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my website and book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective© Please check it out.

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  1. Jim Anderson
    Sep 02, 2013

    Great story! Lots to think about. Thank you.


    • Nancy Burianek
      Sep 02, 2013

      This story is priceless. Having heard about this saga along the way in many ways it’s not surprising that they canceled. Doesn’t take away from the frustration and anger though.
      What I have learned is we all have our own truth/judgment. Isn’t that why there can be 20 different versions of what happened at a car accident all 20 people viewed? We have a tendency to put a right/wrong, good/bad label but it’s probably just one of those things that “just is.” Doesn’t necessarily help with the emotions, however. Hugs to Debbie!! She can now begin to breath and let go of the hassles.
      Happy Labor Day.

      • Gary
        Sep 03, 2013

        Thanks for your kind comments Nancy! Yes, serving clients can be a challenge – as we have all discovered – usually the hard way 🙂 Thx, GAP

    • Gary
      Sep 03, 2013

      Thanks for continuing to read me Jim. I bet we’ve been down this path before. Thx, GAP

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