Author: Cornish, Rick

I apologize

Well, not really. I mean, unless I did or said something. In which case, I do apologize. Sincerely.

No, my welcome today is not about making a public apology to the visitors of, (though Iíve done that a few times in the past eight years, always for an excellent reason.) Rather, Iím into a little feasibility study, an analysis of a business Iím considering starting, and I figure, who better from whom to ask advice than my bluegrass friends.

Hereís what happened. About a month ago I attended a jam and I inadvertently angered someoneÖ.the what and who are unimportant, though I would recommend a quick review of the information provided at Ē A couple weeks later a friend let me know about the angry mutual friend. That night I sat down at the computer and wrote a letter of apology; it was a couple paragraphs long in which I attempted to explain myself without making any excuses and let her know how much I valued her friendship. Above all, it was a sincere letter. Well, a couple of days later, I got a call from the offended individual who thanked me for the letter. It was, she said, the best apology sheíd ever received. In fact, she told me that she was thinking of having her husband frame it for her. (I know she was kidding, but it was still a nice complement.)

So this got me to thinking. What if I started an Internet business selling personalized apologies? Let me back up a little bit. There are two things about me that could make this a winner. First of all, Iím a natural born communicator, both written and verbal. I know, it sounds like Iím bragging, but Iím not. The proof lies in the fact that Iíve made a fairly comfortable living out of writing and speaking extemporaneously.

Secondly, and this is more to the point, Iíve lived a long and full life making apologies. Iíve said Iím sorry to more people than anyone I know. First, because, in my excitement, I have a habit of doing and saying things before thinking (a natural spontaneity that can be costly); second, because I have a wide circle of friends, a job that brings me into contact with many people around California, and an avocation, that of helping run our bluegrass association, which routinely places me one-on-one with folks, I seem to have an unending supply of folks in whom to arouse indignation; and last, because Iíve just never, ever had a problem admitting that Iíve made a mistake and apologizing for it. I wonít say I enjoy asking forgiveness, but itís cathartic for me, make no mistake. And it almost always makes me feel better.

So you get the point. Good communicator with lots of experience in contrition and a little time on his hands. Why not cash in? Of course an apology business could never have been possible pre-Internet. But with the world-wide-web itís now possible to reach a global market. While I might not get more than a customer or two per year (or decade) here in Jamestown, world-wide, who knows?

Who would buy my services I hear you wondering. Simple: people who want to apologize for something to someone, but have a hard time doing it, for one reason or another. Maybe they just arenít good with words. Maybe what theyíve done is so terrible that it would clearly require the help of a pro. Or so complicated. Or maybe itís a person who knows they should express regret but whose pride wonít allow them to do itófor me, prideís never an obstacle. I can think of a dozen scenariosÖ.a hundredÖ.in which a person could use the services of a professional apologist.

So whatís the product line? Iím thinking a range of services, each tailored to a specific need. I could simply consult or counsel, that is, talk people through the process of coming up with their own apology. I could write the apology and forward it to the apologizer who would deliver it herself to the apologee. I could write the ĎIím sorryí and take responsibility for making sure that it got to the damaged party. I could make apology phone calls, (Iím especially good at thisówow, the experience I got after the SuperGrass financial crisis!) And for the right fee, I could actually meet with the offended person and make a proxy confession.

So what do you think? Am I nuts or is there a market out there for really, really good, frameable apologies?
Posted:  5/30/2008

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