Archive for the ‘disaster’ Tag

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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Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds. Theme: the present. Location: the past   4 comments

An excellent novel makes one think, and think I did as I read this one. The story covers the early period of my life – the great depression. and how different My Father’s House was from what Elsa and her family experienced. While my mother fed the hoboes who came in from the street, and the town provided some part-time jobs for them, Elsa encountered cruel mistreatment from the “good” people who defined the sufferers as lazy, dirty, illness purveyors ruining the economy of their small town. One suspects that the “good” people of my town would have been no kinder had the number of migrants been larger. In my innocent, fortunate childhood I experienced no destruction of Hooverville’s, the temporary “homes” of the dispossessed. But I can’t fail to see the same things happening today in only slightly different circumstances

Enough of what the story activated in my private awareness. What about the writing. This is a long novel, as so many are recently. And I wondered whether, if I’d been an editor, I would have recommended eliminating some of the “unnecessary” detail. Why so many words to convey the basic impression of land and dreams literally blown away in the wind, of lives lived in day-to-day misery, of friendships and kindnesses, of familial love buried in the rules of propriety, of gender restrictions. By the end of the book, I realized how important all the details were as I experienced the frustration of day after day of hope followed by disaster – of disaster followed by hope. I felt the frustration, the suppressed anger, the cruelty, the love.

And, to return to my original point. To recognize that this is the story of today, wearing different details, but still the same.

I confess it took me a bit to get caught up in the story, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. That’s what I don’t like about a good novel. It interferes with my sleep. But I thank Kristin Hannah for the experience. Obviously this is a book many have read and recommended. Now I’m joining the parade.

My Sister is Safe   3 comments

I called my sister in Louisville. It’s been a terrifying time, but she’s safe. The terrible weather has surrounded her, but her area has been blessed with relative calm. I’m happy for her.

But when will we catch on that weather is more than a comfort footnote at the end of the local news report? People died in this current horror. People die in droughts. People die in floods. People’s homelands disappear. Let’s pay attention.

Posted March 2, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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