Friday, August 14, 2009

Anger in Paradise: Pizza Rage

This just in from -

"When we first heard the story of Miami-Dade prosecutor David Ranck punching a pizza delivery woman, we knew he needed anger management courses.

But that's it? Apparently so. Battery charges were dropped against the attorney under the condition he completes and passes an anger management course and does 25 hours of community service. Ranck could have faced a year in jail if he was convicted on the misdemeanor.

"There is no conviction. There is no adjudication. The case is dismissed,'' Ranck's defense attorney, Simon Steckel, told the Miami Herald. " Considering the facts of the case, it's a good resolution for everybody.''

While such a deal isn't totally out of line, punching a delivery woman for being a little late with your pizza and not speaking English is.

On May 30, 54-year-old Ranck allegedly attacked Yudisceus Rodriguez de Armas for not getting him his pizza in a timely fashion. Witnesses said there was a bit of a language barrier, which further frustrated an obviously hungry Ranck, who yelled at the delivery woman before striking her in the arm and knocking off her hat.

Maybe his former prosecutor buddies felt he had been punished enough since Ranck was forced to resign from his post as a division chief in June because of the heavy media attention. (There's more to this story, but it isn't relevant).

I couldn't help but try to take a stab at this scenario from an Anger Solutions perspective: Let's begin with understanding how anger develops and then look at how the TSA Model could have avoided the above outcomes.

Anger Develops when your experience of an event does not match your expectations. So Ranck was hungry. He wanted a pizza. He did the assertive thing and called in his order.

His expectation was that the order would be delivered in a timely manner (we don't know his definition of "timely" - but lets say, according to typical pizza delivery service standards, within 45 minutes). BUT his pizza was late.

To add insult to injury, his delivery woman did not speak fluent English. His expectations were not being met, and he experienced a "frustration signal" or a burst of anger.

Knowing this, what if when Ranck got his frustration signal, rather than take his anger out on this poor woman, he chose to TSA:

What is happening? "My pizza is late - this lady doesn't speak English so it is making it hard for me to communicate my dissatisfaction to her."
What does this mean? "This is bad customer service. I'm unhappy about my perception of how I'm being treated. In the long run, this means nothing really - I am hungry, and my pizza is here. That's what matters."
How do I feel about what is happening? "I am feeling unhappy about the bad service, and frustrated because I can't communicate effectively with this woman. I'm hungry, and that is adding to my sense of agitation."
How would I like this to be resolved? "I deserve a discount or some other perk since my pizza was delivered so late. I really want to eat - gosh I'm starved!"
What can I do to resolve this situation? "Well... I have choices. I could take my frustration out on this delivery person. She is smaller than I am - I can take her. Besides, acting out my anger will feel really good in this moment, and I like the feeling of control and power that aggression gives me. My other choice is to just pay for the pizza and eat it - so I won't be so doggone hungry, and then call the pizza company and complain about their poor service."
What's the best thing that can happen if I choose to take my anger out on the delivery person? "I might get away with verbally and physically abusing this delivery person, and I'll feel really powerful in this moment."
What's the worst thing that can happen? "I could get arrested, and charged with assault. That would look pretty bad for me - might ruin my reputation. Jeez, I might even get fired!"
What's the best thing that can happen if I pay now, and complain later? "I won't be hungry anymore. I will be able to vent my frustration to someone who can help me, and I might even get a free pizza out of the deal."
What's the worst thing that can happen? "The pizza company won't care that I feel inconvenienced - and they won't give me any perks. In that case, I suppose, I'll just use a new pizza delivery company."
What will be my course of action? "I'll pay for the pizza but no tips. The fact is - she was late. I'll call the pizza company once my belly is full, and deal with the customer service issue later."

SAY: (Immediately) "You're late. Here's your money - No tip since you're late. Thanks for my pizza." (Later) "Hello, Mr. Pizza Guy - I ordered a pizza and it was really late. I couldn't communicate with your delivery person because of a language barrier, and I just found my whole experience with your company really frustrating. I'm ready to never use your service again, unless you can give me an incentive to stay a loyal customer. Convince me that you can provide better service than what I received tonight."

ASK: In this case, ask for a coupon, a discount offer, or a free calzone with the next purchase from Mr. Pizza Guy - whatever seems reasonable, given the circumstances. If Mr. Pizza Guy is not interested in helping out - decide to use ABC Pizza next time.

Had Mr. Ranck been well-versed in the Anger Solutions way, he would have achieved a much better outcome. He would have avoided the wild media attention he received, and he would have been able to maintain his employment status. This would have been just another day in the life of David Ranck, and a non-story for NBC Miami.

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