by Peter Hyatt
This is one in a long series of simple application of Statement Analysis principles displayed by submission from readers.
The following was sent in by a reader who prefers to remain anonymous.
I am a chef who must have certain speciality knives in my collection, particularly when dealing in seafood. Anything less than razor sharp in a particularly expensive knife impacts my work and contrary to what others think, a less than sharp knife is more dangerous, but that's for another story.
Anyway, I bought this speciality knife on line from a reputable dealer, who is known for his expertise in sharpening. It was very expensive and all of his speciality knives are sharpened by him personally. Only an expert would know how to sharpen to the degree needed, and only an expert (or someone with a microscope) would know when it is done professionally.
When I received the knife, I found that I was not able to debone certain seafood the way that I expected this knife to work, so I wrote to him about it. His reply was that it was not the knife but my technique.
Of course, this is possible, but I know the technique he sharpened this knife for and although I am not an expert at it, I am not a novice, either.
I wrote back to him and said, "Did you sharpen this before you shipped it?"
I received the following response:
"All of my knives are professionally sharpened before leaving the store."
I then asked, "Is it possible that this one slipped through without being sharpened?"
He wrote, "You are not handling the knife properly. It is sharpened to work at slightly less than the 45 degree angle. You need to try using your non dominant hand to pin down the bone area while cutting with the angle prescribed. I think you need more practice."
What do you think of his response? I hate accusing anyone of deception.
I wrote back that he should have the knife re-sharpened.
I noted that the seller did not answer the question, "Did you sharpen this before you shipped it?" with the pronoun "I", as in, "I sharpened the knife" in any form. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is likely that the knife was shipped without sharpening but the seller does not want to own the error. As Anonymous said, the seller has an impeccable reputation.
I wrote, "Better to admit error than to lose a customer. "
I did not hear from Anonymous for a few weeks, and was curious as to what happened. I like to know the result of my analysis,
He wrote that he apologized for not getting back to me but had forgotten. He took the knife to an expert sharpener who showed him, under the microscope, that it had not been sharpened other than a factory sharpened, and certainly not with the specialized tool the seller is known to use.
He paid to have it done properly and is very happy with it now.
He also will likely buy from someone else.
People do not like to lie outright, because it is stressful and it is avoided, sometimes by deflection, that is, not answering a question directly.
It is possible that one may say "All knives leaving here are sharpened" and it to be true, but in this case, not only did the seller avoid answering the question, but blamed the purchaser. I look for pronoun usage, particularly the strength of the pronoun, "I."
A recent study showed that the higher up the chain of command in business, the less likely the "boss" will use the pronoun, "I" in emails.
I believe the study to be accurate.
But, does this not go against the principles of Statement Analysis, and the power of the pronoun, "I" in analysis?
What do you think of higher management avoiding the use of the pronoun "I" in emails?