Effective Problem Solving
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

August 31, 2016, New York, USA

Little problems can grow into big problems, can end friendships and profitable business relationships. Sadly most of us do not know how to effectively resolve a problem.

Anger, ego, frustration lead us down the path of destruction and it seems nothing can stop our downward slide. We need to learn the art of diplomacy, void of ego and emotions. 

Diplomacy, I still recall a sign I saw on a wall; Diplomacy, the art of making someone feel at home, when in fact that is where you wish he were.

Enter the Problem.

As I do not live in the USA I have all my USA based orders shipped to the home of dear friends. When I arrive in the USA for Krav Maga tours I pick up my merchandise.

Yesterday as I was sorting through the boxes left for me I noticed an item that, well, was not the sort of thing I normally ordered but ..OK. I guess I must have ordered it. On the other hand there was a gun that I ordered and I could not find it anywhere.

I searched the house, all the usual storage places. I consulted with my friends, no, they did not miss anything. All the packages were brought in.


I checked with another guest; the order says no one was home so it was left outside, any chance that a passerby stole it?

Nope, he said, I receive all sorts of expensive times ,no one steals anything here, does not happen.

So where could it be?

The search continued, I questioned all members of the family, no one has seen this package.  A gun would clearly be noticed (training gun). OK, the housekeeper!! Yes, she must know where it is, I will ask her in the morning. No, she never saw it. 

What a quandary. 

And then I decided to think about it, not to look, not to turn the place upside down, and not, God forbid, to make any accusations.

I did not want to use the classic, "The butler did it", or "The maid is responsible". I did not want to accuse my friends of being irresponsible with my possessions, heaven forbid such an accusation.

So what could have happened?

I put on my thinking cap/yarmulka.

I went to my e mails and checked, sure enough it says it arrived July 15. OK and then it hit me, check the order more carefully. And I found the problem; the missing item and the unexpected item that I did not recall ordering, were one and the same!

They were not the same item but one was delivered instead of the other. So everyone was correct: Yes, it was delivered on July 15 as indicated, and no, no one had misplaced or lost anything. It was simply a mistake, wrong item delivered.

But there is more.

A careful examination of the listed item revealed the source of the problem: there was a photo of a gun but in the details it listed a "training magazine", which is what I received.

The category was guns, the photo was a gun, but the fine print said magazine. Thus the confusion.

I contacted the company, Amazon, and was amazed with the service. 

They accepted my argument without any issues and offered a full refund. It was my choice to apply it to another purchase or to receive a financial refund. I chose to use it towards a purchase. But they required me to return the item that was sent to me.

I responded that no, that would not be possible. I am on a road trip, I have no time or ability to get to the post office at this time. There response was immediate and satisfying. 

Alright, not to worry. As I see you are our loyal customer for a long time. I will help you with the refund however you do not need to return the product you can keep that as well. Will that work?

Wow, now they had me, I was impressed. I doubled my new order and vowed to remain a valued customer for years to come. All ended well and all were happy, but...it could have ended differently.

Let's examine other possible endings - 

1. I get frustrated and angry with my friends, accuse them of being irresponsible with my packages, not really caring about my stuff and carelessly dumping the packages ...wherever.

2. Falsely accuse the maid of being irresponsible.

3. Accuse the company of not really delivering the item, and making a claim that in fact the item was never delivered.

4.Accuse the neighbors of stealing it and saying, this neighborhood is terrible!!

5. The company could have told me: Sorry, you had two weeks to make a claim, that time has passed, your bad luck.  I would have shouted that I was not in the country and I will never order anything from them again.

6. They could have made all sorts of difficult stipulations, such as having to mail back the item delivered etc. This would make me angry and they would have lost a customer.

Instead, I accused no one and gave everyone the benefit of the doubt. The company went above and beyond and even overlooked their own officially stated policies. 

The result: All are good friends, no one was falsely accused, I go home with the items that I wanted, I feel great, the company has a very grateful customer who will order more in the future.

All it takes is a little understanding, a little flexibility and less ego.

I have had similar cases, many times over the years, but they did not end like this. The company representative would quote policy and tell me that "nothing can be done". No flexibility, no logic, and the result was an angry..ex customer. 

There are things in this world we cannot solve; disease, aging, health issues, but there are things that we can resolve. Put ego and emotion on the side and put reason and logic in charge...all can be resolved to our satisfaction.

The Blogs - Collected Writings

Original artwork by Arie Katz; an ancient Jewish warrior, wrapped in a prayer shawl and carrying a bow, trekking through Judea, our ancestral homeland.

My Journey through life. Krav Maga as applied to life, life as applied to Krav Maga, the warriors journey.

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