chapter  12
The Social-Interactive Aspects of Account-Giving
Pages 20

In this example, a bank employee reported on an "account episode" at work. He had arrived late, and his supervisor had been quite hostile when reproaching him about the tardiness. In fact, the supervisor had said, "Why in the hell are you so fucking late?" The worker had intended to explain that a truck carrying fruit had jack-knived on the freeway, causing him to be tardy. Such an excuse, specifying unintentional, uncontrollable, unstable, and external causes (see Weiner, this volume) should be effective in exonerating the account-giver of blame (also see review by Cody and McLaughlin, 1990). However, confronted with such hostility, the worker first attempted to defend himself by claiming that he wasn't "terribly" late. The worker then began to relate his excuse. Unfortunately, the supervisor displayed virtually no inclination to forgive the worker and barely allowed the worker to finish telling his story before ordering him to stay after work to "make up for the lost time." The worker hung his head in seething anger, dreaming of how he could leave his life at the bank behind.