Archive for October 2022


Why I’m no longer mad at Viking. Some of you let me know it wasn’t fair to leave it at that without telling you why. I’ve thought about it, and I think this is the answer.

I wrote the book(s) on forgiveness and know I’m personally better off without the anger.

Also, my demands have been met. I did get a call from customer service and the young woman did very well at the job she was assigned. I still don’t know how they chose us to bump. I suspect she didn’t know either. But I did get the apology I sought and some practical satisfaction. Being mad is no longer functional.

So, at this point, I have respect for myself, for the customer service agent who called, and for the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General.  I strongly suspect that her call was in response to the letter from Ellison’s office giving Viking a limited amount of time to respond to my complaint.

In conclusion, I hope Viking learned something about treating clients with respect, and I’m feeling sufficient confidence in them to keep the cruise reservations we had already made, admittedly not with the same degree of joy and enthusiasm.

But I’m glad I’m not mad. Stress level is much better that way, as is sleeping.

I’m not mad at Viking Cruise lines any more   10 comments

I just completed a very pleasant conversation with Samantha of Viking Customer Relations and am totally satisfied with the apology and explanation. She does good work.

Posted October 20, 2022 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

PRO-LIFE?   9 comments

Every stage of my career has called for making complex things simple, but no matter how much sleep I lose, or how much thinking I do in between, or how much I focus on the issue when I do my daily half-hour walk, or how long I sit in front of the computer and try, there’s just no way I can make it simple. The killing of the right to abortion reaches into every aspect of life like athletesfoot creeping into the tissues. So I’ve decided to focus on just one piece of it, ignoring the women and their families who are impacted, the chipping away at freedom, the children who are threatened with the loss of a parent, the pain suffered by women denied palliative medication …. Nope, I’ll pretend the only thing that matters is that every zygote should be allowed to develop into an embryo, every embryo should be allowed to become a fetus, and every fetus should be allowed ultimately to be expelled from the uterus on its path to the outside world.

It seems to me that the first thing that matters is that the environment in which the development happens should approach an ideal if we want to reach our survival-to- birth goal. But there seems to be a problem when we look at the evidence.

“According to this year’s America’s Health Ranking Annual Report, the U.S. infant mortality rate is 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live infant births, while the average rate of infant mortality among the OECD countries is 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. Compared with other OECD countries, the U.S. ranks No. 33 out of 36 countries (Figure 62). Iceland is ranked No. 1 and has the lowest rate with 0.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Mexico is ranked last with 12.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. New Hampshire and Vermont are tied for the top state in the U.S. with 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. These two neighboring states have achieved an infant mortality rate equal to the OECD average. As the bottom-ranked state, however, Mississippi has an infant mortality rate more than twice that of the OECD average at 8.9 deaths per 1,000 live births and internationally ranks below all but two of the OECD countries. Over the past 50 years, the decline in the U.S. infant mortality rate has not kept pace with that in other OECD countries. When examining sex- and age-adjusted infant mortality rates from 2001 to 2010, the U.S. rate was 75 percent higher than the average rate in 20 OECD comparable countries.” (Copied from the web.)

If you’re curious, OECD refers to “the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) [which] is an international organization that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people worldwide” (Also copied from the web).

Since this kind of information is easily available for anyone dedicated to the “pro life” position, it’s obvious that the next step, after requiring every pregnant woman to give birth, is to press for the provision of ideal health care for pregnant (and potentially pregnant) women. That, it seems to me, would require lobbying on a federal level, or at the many state levels, for funding for universal maternal care.

Also, given that human infants are born helpless, requiring many years of care just to stay alive, one would assume that those who are pro the life of all fetuses would lobby to follow through with the project by funding parental leave for a sufficiently long period of time as well as providing perpetual support of the health of the parent(s)/caretakers with adequate insurance. And, of course, there would be the need for food and shelter throughout the years. That would require lobbying for sufficient affordable housing for all families as well as sufficient incomes to provide food and clothing.

I said I’d keep it simple. None of this says anything about the overall quality of life of the individuals as their lives develop. Just the basic demand that life be required.

Letter to the editor, Pioneer Press   9 comments

I just sent the following letter to the editor of St Paul Pioneer Press  Minnesota.

“Viking Missed the Boat.

With honesty, Viking could have enlisted our sympathy with their problem. Instead came a last-minute automated e- mail telling us  “… some bookings need to be cancelled, and we are contacting you today because yours is among them.” Thus we were thrown off the Mississippi boat after we were among the first to pay in March, 2021 and some twenty days before departure.

Honest customer care could have enlisted us as friends. A personalized a message explaining why we were bumped. An offer of a possible future departure. Asking other passengers to give up their spots in return for a future reward. Enlisting our understanding from the first sign of trouble. Even now they could reach out in a more personal way to apologize and sympathize.

Viking does a great job of marketing. Not so with customer care. Any psychologist could have foreseen a human relations disaster.

Mona Gustafson Affinito, PhD, LP””

The full length version which had to be edited to meet the Pioneer Prsss length restrictions was as follows.

“Viking Missed the Boat.

It didn’t have to be that way. My stomach curdles at the sight of the “Viking” symbol. I know, there’s a lot of misery in the world and by comparison this is nothing. But my body isn’t that smart. If only they had followed their founder’s claim of the basic values he learned in his little red house in Norway they could have enlisted us as sympathetic sharer’s in the problem. Instead, a week after sending us the confirming luggage tags and only twenty days before the joyfully anticipated departure date they sent an automated e-mail with the warning not to respond. After confirming our booking number and thanking us for choosing Viking they went on to explain that they were “working around the clock to ensure that all are able to have the Viking experience for which we are known – and that you expect and deserve.”

The next paragraph goes on to explain they are still “refining the onboard operations …” ending with “… so, some bookings need to be cancelled, and we are contacting you today because yours is among them.” And in that manner we were thrown off the boat after we were among the first, or maybe even THE first to sign up and pay our money in March of 2021. No explanation of why we were chosen. Thud. There goes my stomach. And now I have to anticipate going on the next Viking cruise for which we’ve already paid. My stomach doesn’t want to go, but it’s too late to withdraw.

Instead they could have used this event to enlist us as friends. All it would have taken is honest and effective customer care. They could have called or sent a personalized email sympathizing and explaining why we were among the chosen. They could have offered us a choice of possible departures in the near future. Instead, they are completely booked through 2024, well beyond the time when I’m likely still to be able to go and enjoy. They could have done as the airlines do and asked other passengers to give up their spots in return for a future reward so that we early birds wouldn’t be dumped. Most of all, they could have enlisted our understanding from the very first time they realized they were running behind in construction. Even now they could reach out in a more personal way to apologize and sympathize.

As it is, my stomach is stuck with going on an upcoming cruise which was once highly anticipated and now feels like a punishment. Viking does a great job of marketing. Where is their customer care service? Any good psychologist could have foreseen a human relations disaster. No, I can’t accept the job. My years of practicing and traveling are pressing against the end.

Mona Gustafson Affinito, PhD, LP”


Posted October 2, 2022 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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