Today I was fairly (no, extremely) angry and frustrated when I arrived to pick up my daily allotment of newspapers to deliver to find that there were 4 complaints about not receiving a newspaper on Saturday morning, and 2 of those complaints were canceling their subscription due to my "poor service".
Yes, I did not get papers to several people on Saturday morning, due to weather conditions in which I literally could NOT get to those people's houses to deliver their papers. Other than (highly) inclement weather, I have ALWAYS delivered these people their newspapers. So 100+ delivered papers and about 3-4 undelivered papers (which were always brought by the next day, by the way), and suddenly that constitutes poor service.
I was pretty angry all day, thinking of long letters I would like to leave in those people's newspapers boxes, explaining in great detail why they are colossal jerks.
Then it hit me.
These people, having received good service the vast majority of the time, decided to focus on the few times that they felt they did not receive good service.
Similarly, I, having received good treatment from the vast majority of my customers, decided to focus on the few ones who treated me poorly.
So then I got to thinking, why IS it that we tend to focus so much more on the bad things that happen than on the vast majority of GOOD (or at least neutral) things? I believe the answer is that we are biologically inclined to pay special attention to bad things. From a survival standpoint, this completely makes sense. Those people that would have been inclined towards paying attention to bad things (like a small amount of poisonous berries in a large patch of good berries) would survive at a higher rate than those who gave equal attention to both good and bad.