#AtoZChallenge: C is for CASTIGATE

61 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2015, Language, Writing/Blogging
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#AtoZChallenge Day 3, April 3
Day 3, April 3



Verb, formal

reprimand someone severely
“he was castigated for not setting a good example” 

Have you ever had occasion to castigate somebody? I mean really let them have it?

Incompetent customer service seems to be more prevalent than ever, these days! This is where a good reprimand can garner favourable results. There’s an art to it. First and foremost, never let your anger overpower you. Remain courteous and calm at the outset. Ask for the person’s name.  State your case politely yet firmly. If that doesn’t work, try again. Remain polite, but with an icier tone. Still not satisfied? Demand to speak to a supervisor. If all else fails, threaten something that could hurt their business: Cancel your account, take to social media and spread the word about their lousy service, write a letter to the CEO and send a copy to the local newspaper. Companies don’t want bad publicity. Never, ever be afraid to speak up! If you don’t complain about bad service, it will continue.

For years, I was on the other end of the telephone, dealing with clients.

My recipe for customer service excellence:

Rule NUMERO UNO is “THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT” (even if they’re dead wrong). Never argue – always agree, for example: “I don’t blame you for being upset. Please accept our apologies for this error. How can I make it up to you?” If the client continues to castigate you, be self-deprecating, and usually, their anger will deflate. Are they making unreasonable demands? Offer an alternative. Don’t ever say “We can’t do that”, but rather, “Here’s what we can do for you.”

Have you participated in an online forum?
You can make good friends there, but also encounter a few agitators.

There’s a popular meme that states you don’t have to accept an invitation to an argument, but, if it’s one of my “hot button” issues, you can bet I will jump in, full force! Not recommended unless you have a thick skin and are willing to go the distance. When your opponent starts name-calling, you know, they’ve lost the argument. I never stoop to their level, but castigate them with my intellect and voluminous vocabulary. BRING IT ON, BABY! 😉

“CASTIGATE” stems from Latin “castigatus”,
past participle of “castigo” (I reprove)
and from “castus” (pure, chaste)

Have you dealt with similar situations? What were the results?
Looking forward to your comments!


AtoZChallenge 2015
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Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

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61 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge: C is for CASTIGATE

  1. “Customer service” should be renamed to “customer harassment”! 8 out of 10 times that I call customer support, I end up talking to a supervisor! I don’t like getting into conflicts usually, but, sometimes you just know you’ve had enough!

    You shared some excellent tips there. Most of them are quite afraid of social media at present. I got a bad HP printer once (it had been opened and then cunningly re-boxed to make it look new, and was covered all over with scratches) and the reseller refused to exchange it. I wrote a review for that shop on one of the most popular business listings websites in India, and the very next day I received a call from that reseller that he would exchange my printer! 😀
    Kaddu recently posted…A to Z of Blogging: C – Content #atozchallengeMy Profile

  2. I always hold off on criticism. I have found myself eating my words. Then other times I have stood politely for a neanderthal.

    The funniest and most satisfying happened when I was a young teacher. This old teacher who must have been about 35 would get on my case all the time. The air conditioner in the building had broken and it was incredibly miserable that day. That teacher came to give me a piece of her mind in front of several teachers. When you are uncomfortable you are more outspoken. I dished it back. She never gave me a tongue lashing again. lol
    ann bennett recently posted…Culture, Carter, Canola, & Cherry treesMy Profile

  3. Most definitely — I use social media to take them to task. Recently I was told I was not entitled to my $415 security deposit for our local telephone company business account. They wanted to keep it until I closed my account instead of refunding it after the first year. Ten minutes after I tweeted about it – I had my refund.
    Carol Graham recently posted…And Yet….You Walked AwayMy Profile

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Astrid.:) There’s a joke poster going around that says something like “Want to start a fight online? Just voice an opinion and wait.” The only time I get involved in anything like that is when it’s a subject I care deeply about and I’ll hang on until the end, determined to have the last word. I’m stubborn that way. LOL A good fight gets my creative juices firing on all cylinders! 😉
      Debbie D. recently posted…#AtoZChallenge: D is for DRACONIANMy Profile

  4. Yes, indeed. On many occasions. But, you need to be careful. I’ve been having problems with my insurance company because they won’t pay for my insulin; I called them up and the girl just became ruder and ruder. I then asked to speak with a supervisor. She said fine and asked me to wait while she switched me over. I’m patient, so I waited almost 10 minutes before I realized she had hung up on me. They had a survey, so I called back and gave the girl all negative points. At least my frustrations were gone (for the moment).
    Mary Purpari recently posted…“C” is for Christians? YES!My Profile

  5. Another great word! I don’t believe I’ve ever used that word but I certainly will add it to my vocabulary. Oh the customer service issues: Lord, haven’t we all had maddening experiences at one point or another trying to resolve an issue with incompetent company reps?! I used to lose my cool a lot quicker in my younger days but as I’ve gotten older I seem to be a little more….hmm…a little more determined to reach a resolution. Your advice is definitely sound advice. Great post again Debbie!
    Michele Truhlik recently posted…C is for Creedence Clearwater Revival, Charlie Daniels Band, Chicago, Cream, Crosby Stills & Nash, Collective Soul and Chic!My Profile

  6. Well, I was generally on the other end of this. I worked in retail from the age of 16 and so many companies expected you to expect downright rude customers and smile as they called you names. To be honest I got the point where if I had a wish granted it would be that every rude customer would have to work in a shop or store from October until the end of December, the busiest time in retail and learn patience and compassion. Most challenging staff members are having a bad day, have had shit from their boss and then have to smile and be nice. I left retail for this reason.
    Kelly Martin recently posted…C is for CURIOSITYMy Profile

  7. Oh you are so right! It’s usually the customer care folks who I need to castigate but personally avoid it under all circumstances. Reasons being they don’t know much and are always under performance pressure. I take it to social media on most occasions and let that get dealt easily..
    Great post Debbie!
    Parul recently posted…C for ChangeMy Profile

  8. I buy and sell every day. I mediate a lot, as well. If my customer is right, I will side with them. If the customer is in the wrong, I will side with my staff.

  9. The bus service from my area has been appalling for the last few years ever since a new company took over. They very politely tell me each time I complain that the buses run very late that their job is not to ensure buses run on time nor is it their job to have good customer service!
    Suzy recently posted…Love is in the Air – ConsortMy Profile

  10. Great word! I’m looking forward to ‘D’ already.
    I’ve learned a lot from my computer guro. Listening to him complain to our telephone company, and software companies, well…that was a show within itself. He always got what he wanted. How? He was the most gifted telephone flirter on the planet. It didn’t matter if the person was old, young, male or female. No way can I flirt on the phone to strangers like he does, but I’ve learned to soften my voice. And it helps! 🙂
    Angelika Schwarz recently posted…Photography and Travel – Part 1- Life… it’s not just a snapshot.My Profile

  11. I had been in a similar situation few days ago. I was trying to return a faulty product delivered by a online shopping site and they were arguing about reimbursing the money through promotional balance on their site instead of returning it to my bank account! I tried talking politely at first but when that didn’t work, I had to castigate them and that is when they finally gave in to my demand 😛
    Swathi Shenoy recently posted…CruxMy Profile