Bob Goldman
Let me start with an apology. I'm sorry this week's column isn't very funny. Or very interesting. Or very relevant. I really wanted to write a truly terrific column for you, but I decided to take a nap instead, and by the time I woke up, there wasn't sufficient time to do anything but throw together a bunch of slapdash nonsense, like this apology.

Which makes me think I should apologize for my apology. Clearly, it wasn't very heartfelt, and I obviously don't feel a bit of regret, nor do I expect any negative repercussion from making such a lousy apology, nor do I plan to amend my ways so that I won't have to make such feeble apologies when I really have something to apologize for, which is often.

Holy smokes!

I just realized -- if I make any more apologies, you'll think I'm the CEO of a major corporation. And who could blame you? With the possible exception of a certain corpulent governor of a minor East Coast state, the real apology machines today are our nation's business leaders.

Am I right, or am I right? Industrial production may be sluggish. The stock market may be slogging. But the apology machine is running full-tilt boogie, 24/7/365.

(I should pause now to apologize to New Jersey for the snide comment made two paragraphs earlier, but I've run out of mock shame, so the residents of the Garden State will just have to apologize to each other.)

Our current case of apology-mania was not clear to me until I read "Too Many Sorry Excuses for Apology," a recent Andrew Ross Sorkin article in The New York Times.

As Sorkin writes, "Everyone is so apologetic. It seems like just about every day a chief executive, politician or other prominent figure is apologizing for something."

Like Gregg W. Steinhafel, the CEO of Target, who recently made a very public apology for a very nasty security breach that made the personal credit card data of as many as 110 million customers instantly available to computer fraudsters around the globe.

Exactly how many people actually have suffered financial losses from this techno boo-boo, we don't know, but even if no one's credit gets dinged, isn't it amazing that Target actually has 110 million customers? I thought you were the only person who couldn't resist a Pink Floyd Tee & Pants Sleep Set, $21.24 on clearance, or went gaga over the Be Amazing Tangerine And Fresh Bergamont Reed Diffuser, $12.79, in store only.

Of course, I don't know how many people actually heard Steinhafel's apology, since so much of the apology space has been occupied lately by that serial apologist Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase.


Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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