An Open Letter To An English Teacher- Some Memories Never Die

The Scarlet Letter (1926 film)

The Scarlet Letter (1926 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Mrs. Hackleshmackle,

Hi, it is Josh Wilner.  Rumor has it that you are dead now so I don’t expect you to respond to this note and I am ok with that.

Twenty-six years ago you gave us an assignment to read the Scarlet Letter and then to write an essay about it. I won’t lie and say I remember the exact parameters of the assignment but I know I turned it in on time.

What I remember most about the assignment was your public accusation of plagiarism and how you gave me 12 F’s on the assignment. I won’t comment on how your grading system resembled the tax code nor will I talk about how I remember your eating a stick of butter in class.

Ok, I lied, I just mentioned the stick of butter. Some might accuse me of being bitter but I’ll swear on a bible I included it because it adds color to this tale.

My Own Scarlet Letter

You gave me my own Scarlet Letter to wear. While it might not have been literal the public accusation of plagiarism embarrassing. Maybe you thought that publicly shaming me would teach me a lesson or maybe you didn’t think about what you did.

You certainly didn’t listen to my protest of innocence. I’ll repeat it here again. I didn’t copy anything. Maybe a phrase or expression sounded like it had been pulled but I didn’t do it.

Some might wonder if any of this matters. I graduated with my class, went to college and earned a BA in Journalism. I was Editor-in-Chief of both my high school and college newspapers.

I did all those things in spite of you unfounded accusation and your refusal to recommend me for the Advanced Placement English class. Incidentally I am convinced that you refused because you believed that I did it.

People Remember How You Made Them Feel

If we turn this around and ask what lessons can be learned from this experience there are a bunch of areas we can focus upon. As a father I could argue it serves as a good example to try to make sure our children always feel free to confide in us, but that is not the focus of the blog.

The real point here is for businesses, brands and people to remember people may forget what you did but they almost always remember how you made them feel.

If your goal is to build long term relationships with people and convert them into life long customers your goal has to be to make them feel good. Your goal has to make them feel wanted, loved and valued.

Think about this for a moment and you can probably think of a company that has made you or someone you know very angry.  You can’t make everyone happy. Some people are unreasonable and always will be, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t try to make your customers happy.

Substitute the name of my English teacher with Brand X and think about what would happen if my children were taught not to trust Brand X. How many of my friends and family would also be swayed.

An Easy Way To Distinguish Yourself From Your Competition

Great customer service serves as an easy way to distinguish yourself from your competition. It is worth the time and effort.

Don’t be a Mrs. Hackleshmackle. Take the time to listen to your customers and then respond to their requests. People will remember and they will respond.

What do you think?


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