- Do nothing (but then nothing will change)
- Yell at the bartender (ineffective and rude)
- Find the MOD (Manager On Duty) and yell at them (pretentious and rude)
- Word a polite letter and leave it for the MOD
I did want to say something but also wanted to be civil and constructive, so I choose Option 4, pen my letter and drop it off at the front desk.
Tuesday night, I'm getting ready for the conference Gala and the phone rings. It's the MOD. He read my letter, was happy to get the feedback and glad that I was not the typical guest banging their shoe on the table with a polemic. He offers a complimentary breakfast to make amends.
Morning comes and I go down for breakfast. I spy a good friend, Nat Forbes, fellow consultant and ex-pat working in Singapore, fellow speaker and member of the Organizing Committee. "Hey Howard, join me?" "Sure, Nat!" The manager comes over as we are sitting down. "Excuse me, but which of you are Howard Mannella?" "I am, why?" He becomes very effusive. "Well, Mister Mannella, we are so glad you could join us for breakfast! All is taken care of. Please enjoy. If you need anything - anything at all - please don't hesitate to ask!" He hands me his card and walks away. Nat is staring at me, not knowing what to make of this. "Who are you?" "Well, apparently I'm Howard Mannella." He's still staring at me in disbelief. We take our runs at the buffet and enjoy a meal and conversation. The waiter comes over and Nat offers to pick up breakfast for me. "Oh, no, Sir, it's taken care of!" Nat says, "Oh - OK, then, can I have my tab?" The waiter flashes a big smile. "Oh, no, Sir, please - with our compliments. After all..." he waves his hand in my direction "... you are with friends here!" He turns on his heels and walks away. Nat is staring at me again in utter disbelief: "Who the hell are you?!?!" I grin and reply, "Let's get down to the plenary, shall we?"
Be assertive without being aggressive and always remember that people are deserving of respect, and positive things will happen. That's the Alternative!