Sunday, April 2, 2017

When Robbing You Blind, Priceline Perfers Passive

When I arrived at the airport yesterday, the airline's agent informed me my ticket had been cancelled and no seats were available on the flight.

I called Priceline, which sold me the ticket. Two agents spoke to me (after putting me on hold for 40 minutes) and told me the ticket had been cancelled and no refund would be issued.

They relied throughout the conversations on the passive voice, never admitting Priceline cancelled my ticket and Priceline is keeping my money.

It's ironic the two people have the title "agent."

Writing coach Sherry Roberts could well have had Priceline in mind when she described the passive voice:

"A sentence written in the active voice is the straight-shooting sheriff who faces the gunslinger proudly and fearlessly. It is honest, straightforward; you know where you stand.

"A sentence written in passive voice is the shifty desperado who tries to win the gunfight by shooting the sheriff in the back, stealing his horse, and sneaking out of town."
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