This past weekend, the iconic Little Orphan Annie made her last-ever appearance in the funny pages.
Sad but true.
After some 86 years, newspaper syndicator Tribune Media Services finally gave the little gal with a blank stare her walking papers.
The decision made business sense. Newspapers are dying, and the “Annie” comic strip was running in less than 20 papers. So the redheaded kid, her dog Sandy, and Daddy Warbucks took their last bows Sunday, leaving fans misty-eyed.
And understandably a little pissed.
You see, Annie was trapped in Guatemala with a very bad man called the Butcher of the Balkans. And back in New York, a suffering Daddy Warbucks thought dear little Annie was dead — or worse.
Then the strip ended with these words: “And this is where we leave our Annie. For now —”
Not just cancellation, but an effin’ cliffhanger!
“For now —”?
Gimme a break!
A resolution to this storyline is as likely as, well, me taking a job with the FTC.
Sure, Tribune Media says canceling the classic strip “wasn’t a decision [they] took lightly.” And I don’t doubt that.
But couldn’t these corporate doofuses have wrapped up Annie’s story and furnished the octogenerian orphan a proper send-off?
Even more important, couldn’t they have shown respect to diehard fans who’d dedicated themselves to “Annie” since childhood?
Sure they coulda.
But they didn’t.
Annie got better treatment from the Butcher of the Balkans than funny page readers got from Tribune Media.
We can all learn something from this.
Like I’ve said before, when you build expectations in your relationships with customers or clients, you better make sure you not only deliver but OVER-deliver.
Just as longtime readers of “Annie” had every right to expect a satisfactory payoff after 86 years, so do the folks who do (or will do) business with you.
Don’t be a jerk and disappoint them by reneging on the deal.