Go to What I SHOULD Have Said... main page
Here is one story retold, albeit with a pithier ending:
What happened: At the anonymous 4-star hotel I worked at, in-room pay-per-view movies were constantly a problem. Particularly "adult" movies, since people rarely watched the full feature.
No one wanted to pay the $12.95 for these movies which they only watched part of. Despite there being 3 warning screens about the charge, 3 opportunities to cancel, people always tried to get it adjusted from their bill in the morning.
As a customer-service oriented job, we at the front desk were seriously trained that our guests were 'always' right, and we were paid to kiss butt. At the same time, we were given grief by accounting for taking so many movies off the bill, so we were also supposed to make a good effort to collect on these before giving in and letting them get a free movie. This tended to make for hostile encounters.
One morning I got a 15 minute riot-act read to me for just such an occasion. "I ONLY WATCHED 3 MINUTES OF THE DAMN THING! I'M NOT PAYING 13 BUCKS FOR 3 MINUTES! I ONLY TURNED IT ON ACCIDENTALLY!"
"Well sir, there are 3 confirmation screens before the movie comes on. We're really not supposed to take the movies off your bill unless the movie itself was defective... if there was technical difficulty"
"ARE YOU CALLING ME A HALF-ASSED IDIOT! I DIDN'T SEE ANY 3 CONFIRMATION SCREENS! IT MUST BE BROKEN! I'M NOT PAYING FOR IT!"
What I said: OK Sir, I'm sorry if I offended you. I'll have it removed from the bill, and I'll have the vendor look into why the confirmation screens didn't come up for you. [It's simply impossible for these screens not to have come up... but what could I say? Perhaps this...]
What I SHOULD have said: Oh no sir, I calling you fully-assed. And I'm sorry, but it's $12.95, whether you watch all of 'Charlie's Devils' or if you can only last 3 minutes .
The French call it l'esprit d'escalier, "the wit of the staircase," those biting ripostes that are thought of just seconds too late, on the way out of the room-or even, to tell the truth, days later. It's happened to you: you've suddenly thought of just what would put your foe in his or her place, but past the time when the arrow could sting its victim. You've stewed in your own juice ever since, and the chance for singeing repartee is gone forever.
Or is it?
Dorothy Parker or Oscar Wilde may have had the rapier wit to tweak their tormentors on the spot, but for the rest of us, we offer the Internet's only L'esprit d'escalier web site!