Unrealistic Expectations

I heard a news story the other day about a local couple that was bothered when a paper printed the wrong number for a sex-chat line. 

Some imperfect human at the paper entered one digit incorrectly, it got printed, and it happened to be this couple’s number.  They were annoyed by a string of phone calls from men wanting to procure the services of a dirty talker.  They finally figured it out and called the paper where they received an apology for the mistake. “That’s not good enough”, said the man who was furious and hanging onto his anger like a dog on a Denta-stick.

What the heck?  Why is an apology not good enough? Someone made a mistake and you got a bunch of phone calls.  And you’d prefer, what, a public flogging of the person who erred?  Apparently the phone rang and rang and rang.  Phones can be unplugged, can they not?  They have little buttons on them that control the volume of the ring.  They can go unanswered too, unless your phone comes equipped with a little gun on a mechanical arm that pops out and goes to your head every time a call comes in.

When I lived in downtown Toronto, NOW magazine accidentally printed my number (also off by one digit from the actual number) in an ad touting roommates who would do unseemly things together for money and the enjoyment of others.  I was beseiged by calls and it didn’t take me long to figure it out and let the rest of them ring off to my answering machine.  (That was before everybody had a cell phone and could stay connected to the outside world even without a house phone.)  I talked to the people at NOW and they said “Sorry” and made the correction in the next issue.  The calls trickled off and then stopped.  I was a little annoyed but…so what?  People make mistakes, no real harm was done and life went on.

I don’t understand people who expect everything in life to be perfect and smooth and want someone to “pay”, either literally or figuratively, when it isn’t.  There is genuine trauma all around us and these folks want some sort of compensation because they got some phone calls they weren’t expecting?  It baffles me.