Not living up to expectations

I am sitting on a cruise ship as I write this. We found after we boarded that they changed the itinerary. The website and our travel documents listed one more stop. Now we have a day at sea without a stop. This is a small ship without much to do onboard. We are getting less than we expected, and are not happy about it.

I give my students a syllabus which tells them what to expect. I try very hard to stick to that, although sometimes changes are made. I also let them know what is going to be on tests, and I do not lie to them. The course should meet their expectations.

As a consumer, I am used to hype which always makes things look better. For example, on the cruise, we carefully looked at the plans of the staterooms and decided there was enough room between the bed and the window for a wheelchair. The stateroom did not look like the plans, but I was only mildly annoyed, although I had a right to be angry.

Students are often surprised at the difficulty and content of the tests. My tests are usually a bit easier than the homework and I tell them what I am testing on. I try very hard to be honest with them, but somehow they misunderstand what I am saying.

I don’t know how much the cruise ship company is trying to be honest and how much of it is advertising. I always wonder why companies think that consumers will go away happy when things don’t live up to the hype. Overall the cruise has been excellent, but the unrealistic advertising gives a sour note to the experience.

The crew quoted their legal disclaimers about being allowed to change itineraries, but that not add to our satisfaction. I changed the content and exam schedule of the courses I taught last semester due to a week of snow days. I hope my students understood why I did it. I don’t understand why American Cruise Lines made the change. The overall cruise experience is less than it should be because they did not live up to our expectations.

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