January 2014 - Pg 6-President’s Message
by Marty Hayes, J.D.
I am going to take this month’s message opportunity to get something off my chest. I need remind people who are reading this and who might be considering joining the Network, that membership in the Network is a two-way street. I cannot recall ever telling someone, “No, we don’t want you in the Network, good bye,” and then hanging up but I suspect the day may yet come. You see, sometimes people who are (simply put) “Grade A Jackasses,” call up and demand information, are argumentative and/or are otherwise complete jerks to the ladies answering the phone.
Well, let me explain something. Those “ladies on the phone” are not simply secretarial staff. Jennie is the first one you might speak with when you call, because she handles phones three days a week for the Network. She is a very good friend of mine, is one of my staff instructors for the Firearms Academy of Seattle, and is the person who processes and ships out all the membership packages.
She sounds nice on the phone because she is nice, and one of the reasons we brought her on to help our members is because she is great with details and has good people skills. She also has a background as a paralegal, and understands the mission and concept of the Network. Occasionally she lets me know that someone has been a real jerk to her, and I thank her for putting up with the person, but I also have told her she doesn’t have to take verbal abuse.
In fact, I have told her that we don’t want jerks in the Network and she knows that I am not afraid to cancel a membership and issue a refund based on a report from one of our staff.
Dealing with angry callers raises a lot more issues than just defusing the immediate problem. You see, it has been my experience that people who have trouble with anger management are often times the very same people who get into trouble with a gun. They refuse to walk away from a slight insult and end up escalating a simple misunderstanding into a lethal encounter. What happens when two jerks that are carrying guns come together and neither will back down or walk away? Here is the bottom line, when calling and talking with Jennie: if you find yourself arguing with her over anything, and she tells you, “I am sorry, I don’t think I can help you, so please call back tomorrow and talk to the President,” and then hangs up, you should know that we are concerned about your anger. Please DO call me the next day and I will attempt to solve your issue.
Now, if the other lady you may speak with when you telephone is Gila, please understand that you are NOT talking to a secretary, but instead a full partner in the ownership of the Network, who has full authority as part of the board of directors to make ANY decision she chooses on behalf of the Network. She runs the Network, and has the final say on all day-to-day decisions. If you find yourself in an argument with her, it is kind of like arguing with a football referee who has just thrown a flag. You are not going to get very far, and you might just get tossed out of the game (in this case, out of the Network).
Remember, we don’t want argumentative hotheads in the Network. Of course, if you feel either Gila or Jennie is wrong about something, just ask them to have me call you back. I will be happy to explain the reasoning behind any policy or decision.