A lesson on the value of clear communication (caution: humor)

Whenever there’s a miscommunication caused by someone being too vague, I remember this funny old story. The woman’s aversion to simply asking clearly about the “BC” reminds me of people in NE Texas who wouldn’t say the word “pregnant” and would use the abbreviated “PG” instead.

The story is told of a lady who was rather old-fashioned, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in her language. She and her husband were planning a week’s vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a particular campground asking for a reservation. She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn’t quite know how to ask about the toilet facilities. She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter. After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old-fashioned term BATHROOM COMMODE. But when she wrote that down, she still thought she was being too forward. So she started all over again, rewrote the entire letter referring to the bathroom commode merely as the BC: “Does the campground have it’s own BC?” is what she actually wrote. Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all and when he got the letter, he just couldn’t figure out what the woman was talking about. That BC business really stumped him. After worrying about it for awhile, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn’t imagine what the lady meant either. So the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:

Dear Madam:

I regret very much the delay in answering your letter, but I now take pleasure in informing you that a BC is located nine miles north of the campground and is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I admit it is quite a distance away, if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it. They usually arrive early and stay late. It is such a beautiful facility and the acoustics are marvelous…even the normal delivery sounds can be heard. The last time my wife and I went was six years ago, and it was so crowded we had to stand up the whole time we were there. It may interest you to know that right now a supper is planned to raise money to buy more seats. They are going to hold it in the basement of the BC. I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it surely is no lack of desire on my part. As we grow old, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather. If you do decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks. Remember, this is a friendly community.

Sincerely,
(Campground Owner)

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One Response to A lesson on the value of clear communication (caution: humor)

  1. Communication can make you or break you.Especially if you have an interpreter. You should watch the movie; Lost in Translation. starring Bill Murray.

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