1 min read

Cooperation versus compliance

The apartment complex in Marina Del Rey, where I used to live, has an administrative team that manages all aspects of the property.  There was a reception area where you could visit to log any issues with your apartment, pick up packages and deal with any financial aspects regarding rent, utilities etc.

Shortly before vacating the apartment in July I was downstairs waiting in line to pick up a package that was delivered. The guy in front of me was in a heated debate with the receptionist. When I say heated, it was coming from the customer and not the receptionist. His voice was raised with many accusations being made to the receptionist. This was a result from being requested to move his car from his normal parking spot for one day (among many other residents). The complex has the parking lot cleaned once every year and provide notifications weeks in advance to all the residents.

What’s key here is the difference between cooperation versus compliance. For example, we have all experienced the arsehole at the front of the queue abusing the customer representative who is trying to serve him/her. In situations like this I always want to be the next person in the line as I’m always a nice guy and typically get looked after. If only the dude in my story was nice and rational then his issue would get resolved without angst and stress.

Back to the story. The receptionist was calm and rational to this guy without much success. He was dealing with a rude and inappropriate customer. Ultimately the receptionist was resolved to not help this guy at all and just continue to apologize and reiterate that notification was provided weeks in advance and that there was nothing he could to. He was ultimately complying, not cooperating. I say this because I know the receptionist and he could have helped the guy find another parking spot for the day while the cleaning occurred; if only the customer had of been nicer about the entire situation the outcome could have been different.

The lesson here is to cooperate as much as possible. Make it a win win. And try not to be an arsehole as it isn’t a good look.