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Here's this week's Marketing Minute...

Pick Your Battles

We all get angry while at our computers sometimes. When you get into a tiff with someone, though, and there's a heated back and forth where you feel determined to batter the other person into submission with your keyboard, pause. Take a time-out. Think: Is this blowup consistent with my values? If this exchange went viral, would it show me in a positive light?

Last week, a Harvard Business School professor was taken to task on the air, online and in print for letting his self-righteous crusading get out of hand. He had been overcharged $4 on takeout and complained to the family-owned Chinese restaurant involved.

The restaurant responded right away, saying the online menu hadn't been updated, offering to refund the discrepancy. The professor demanded triple damages ($12) and threatened to report the restaurant to authorities.

Someone leaked the exchange to Boston.com, and nearly everyone reading the series of emails found the restaurant representative humble and accommodating and the professor bullying, without any sense of proportion.

Who was right? It doesn't matter. The professor lost.
He apologized and probably wishes he could rewrite the skirmish.

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