When Listening is Important/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on September 19, 2011


The NJ Star-Ledger gave out a “knucklehead award” to the White Castle food chain. It seems that Martin Kessman, a portly 290-pounds, sued White Castle because its cramped seats discriminated against heavy patrons. But Mr. Kessman did not get the award despite his frivolous suit. White Castle was so honored because of its reaction to Mr. Kessman’s first three complaints. It responded to Mr. Kessman’s demands by a form letter and a coupon for three hamburgers. It apparently was not resolving much of the problem in the way it chose to respond.
In a negotiation you either learn to listen to the other side or you run the risk of exacerbating an already tense situation. People have a need to be heard. The way to do this is by respect, civility, and a good ear. The alternative is of needless litigation and enmity offers nothing but bad publicity. Don’t believe me? Ask White Castle.