The Station Wagon podcast: Seattle - Snoqualmie - Olympia: Episode 14: Giving up Apologizing

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Episode 14: Giving up Apologizing

In this episode we give up apologizing. Listen to this episode to get tips on how to give a non-apology (if you are an evil ratfink). Spoiler alert, among many other things, Julie apologizes on behalf of the weather, and Marc apologizes for his jittery Excel handling skills.



Salem Witch Trials Jurors
“We do heartily ask forgiveness of you all, whom we have justly offended and do declare, according to our present minds, we would none of us do such things again on such grounds for the whole world, praying you to accept of this in way of satisfaction for our offense, and that you would bless the inheritance of the Lord that He may be entreated for the land.” Read the whole apology letter here.
President Ulysses S Grant
Acknowledging the scandals that had plagued his two terms in office with the words, 'Mistakes have been made, as all can see and I admit.' " (ref)
Sorry!, the game patented

The earliest variation of today's Sorry! can be traced back to England. William Henry Storey of Southend-on-Sea filed for a patent. (ref)
Apology Laws

Beginning in 1986, a growing number of states have adopted what have been called “apology laws”—protective measures designed to encourage injurers to apologize by expressly ensuring that at least some types of apologies cannot be used against them in litigation. ... they deny protection to expressions of remorse, guilt, and self-criticism, such as “I’m sorry I let that happen to you.”7 They protect only expressions of good will, such as sympathy (“I’m sorry you’re suffering”) and benevolence (“I want to help you recover”).(ref)
Kanye West
Apologized for grabbing the mic from Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Music Awards (ref)
Research Published from Stanford U: Why Women Apologize More Than Men
Why Women Apologize More Than Men : Gender Differences in Thresholds for Perceiving Offensive Behavior. In one study, their findings suggests that men apologize less frequently than women because they have a higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior. (ref)
Sorry Watch

Posts its first blog post. From their About page, “SorryWatch analyzes apologies in the news, history and culture. Was that a terrible apology? We say why.” (ref)
Mike Jeffries non apology
2006, The CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch told
why Abercrombie’s largest women’s size is a 10. Jeffries had said that for his brand, sex appeal is “almost everything.” He continued, “That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” And that’s very deliberate. “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids,” he told Salon. “Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

2013 He gave this non-apology
“I regret that this thing I said EONS AGO was taken out of an unnamed and unclarified context, and I’m sorry you’re interpreting this unnamed and unclarified contextualized thing in a way that is deeply hurtful to me.”

Read all the details at It’s a terrific write up.
Waiting for an apology
Marc is waiting for an apology from the companies and city planners that make my travel time out of Seattle (Fremont)  to I-90 take up to an hour on some nights. What happen when I need to leave in hurry during the zombie apocalypse? It needs to take much less time to leave the city.

Many more apologies through history:


  1. Allan, A., & McKillop, D. (2010). The health implications of apologizing after an adverse event. Int J Qual Health Care, 22(2), 126-131. doi: 10.1093/intqhc/mzq001
  2. Anderson, J. C., Linden, W., & Habra, M. E. (2006). Influence of apologies and trait hostility on recovery from anger. Journal of behavioral medicine, 29(4), 347-358. doi:10.1007/s10865-006-9062-7
  3. Anderson, J. C., Linden, W., & Habra, M. E. (2006). Influence of Apologies and Trait Hostility on Recovery from Anger. Journal of behavioral medicine, 29(4), 347-358. doi: 10.1007/s10865-006-9062-7
  4. Beyens, U., Yu, H., Han, T., Zhang, L., & Zhou, X. (2015). The strength of a remorseful heart: psychological and neural basis of how apology emolliates reactive aggression and promotes forgiveness. Front Psychol, 6, 1611. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01611
  5. Conejero, S., Etxebarria, I., & Montero, I. (2014). Gender differences in emotions, forgiveness and tolerance in relation to political violence. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17.
  6. Gonzales, M. H., Pederson, J. H., Manning, D. J., & Wetter, D. W. (1990). Pardon my gaffe: Effects of sex, status, and consequence severity on accounts. J Pers Soc Psychol, 58(4), 610-621. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.58.4.610
  7. Gonzales, M. H., Pederson, J. H., Manning, D. J., & Wetter, D. W. (1990). Pardon my gaffe: Effects of sex, status, and consequence severity on accounts. J Pers Soc Psychol, 58(4), 610-621. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.58.4.610
  8. HOLMES, J. (1989). Sex Differences and Apologies: One Aspect of Communicative Competence1. Applied Linguistics, 10(2), 194-213. doi: 10.1093/applin/10.2.194
  9. Leunissen, J. M., De Cremer, D., Reinders Folmer, C. P., & van Dijke, M. (2013). The apology mismatch: Asymmetries between victim's need for apologies and perpetrator's willingness to apologize. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(3), 315-324. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.12.005
  10. Nazione, S., & Pace, K. (2015). An Experimental Study of Medical Error Explanations: Do Apology, Empathy, Corrective Action, and Compensation Alter Intentions and Attitudes? J Health Commun, 20(12), 1422-1432. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2015.1018646
  11. Schumann, K., & Ross, M. (2010). Why women apologize more than men: gender differences in thresholds for perceiving offensive behavior. Psychological Science, 21(11), 1649-1655.
  12. Vaish, A., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2011). Young children's responses to guilt displays. Dev Psychol, 47(5), 1248-1262. doi: 10.1037/a0024462
  13. Walfisch, T., Van Dijk, D., & Kark, R. (2013). Do you really expect me to apologize? The impact of status and gender on the effectiveness of an apology in the workplace. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43(7), 1446-1458. doi: 10.1111/jasp.12101