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Thursday, December 21

Tying up Loose Ends

I wish this were a joke. It's not. I'm just off to the post office to send the printed copy of this. God I can leave stuff undone for a while. Still, it's another thing off my mind now:

Dear John,

Guilt is a horrible thing. Even a small indiscretion can eat away at your soul – no matter what good you’re doing, the memory of that one thing you didn’t do right is still there, bothering you, reminding you that you’re not perfect. What makes guilt worse is the acceptance of others. People treating you well, despite what you’ve done, makes that thing you didn’t do all the more poignant.

In this case, despite accepting your money - £4.95, which is closer to $10 than it’s not – I failed to send you the CD you purchased. It’s the sort of thing which happens on eBay, and I’m sure I’ve forgiven, or at least gotten over similar transgressions against me. Yet you didn’t even complain. You didn’t remind me that I hadn’t sent you the disc. You didn’t give me negative feedback (or not that I’ve noticed). You were simply stoic in the face of my inadequacy. You did nothing. You went “Ah well, eBay’s not that reliable. I probably didn’t want the disc anyway”.

In fairness, if it were that good a disc, I wouldn’t have been selling it, having bought it on a whim myself. However, that’s not the point. You have been a forgiving soul and you have allowed me to walk away from this failed eBay transaction without a blemish on my character if I so desired it.

But as I said, guilt is a powerful thing. In this case, the guilt is born of a sense of responsibility and propriety. When I listed the CD on eBay I fully intended to supply it to the winning bidder. You paid me and so, at the time, I fully intended to supply it to you. Your opinion of me shouldn’t matter, but it worries me that I’ve not only given you the impression of being the sort of person who charges for non-existent items (or at least items he has no intention of supplying) but that I’ve also acted like such a person. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want to take your money and give you nothing.

So, though it’s six months later than I would have liked, and though you’ve probably even forgotten that you bought the item. I am sending you your CD. With a bit of luck you’ll receive it at the start of 2007 and maybe it will feel like the world is not as bad a place as you were so willing to accept when you didn’t even bother complaining about the apparent rip-off you paid into. Some people might try to sweeten you up with a refund or additional gift in order to regain your goodwill and maybe get future purchases. I’ve decided that the best thing to do in this circumstance is apologise. No excuses, no self-justification: I was wrong and I’m sorry. I hope that I’ve put things right now.

I hope 2007 is a good year for you, and I hope you enjoy your CD.

Best regards



Ashley Frieze


Worth remembering the point of this sort of thing. Sometimes it's best to issue a frank and unconditional apology. I don't even think excuses are necessary.

I dealt with a similar issue in this post.

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