Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Decency is hard.

Especially in a rapacious world, one built on self-pleasing, rather than self-effacement or even self-sacrifice.

If you act with decency, people can take advantage. 

Indeed, if you look around, it seems that decency is one ingredient that guarantees a lack of success.

I'm filled with a decent amount of sympathy, therefore, for American Airlines Flight Attendants.

They're damned if they're nice and damned if they're not.

As my colleague Bill Murphy Jr reported not so long ago, American Airlines staff have been encouraged to appease passengers who complain about their flights. 

The staff have been blessed with a tablet, infused with software called iSolve.

This allows Flight Attendants and other customer service staff to offer passengers immediate compensation for ills suffered while under the protective wings of American Airlines.

Perhaps your seatback screen doesn't work. Or perhaps your vegetarian meal smells remarkably like chicken.

It was a fine, thoughtful idea.

It seems, though, that American wants to stop its staff being so, well, nice.

As Lewis Lazare reports in the Chicago Business Journal, the airline last week sent staff a memo entitled Hey, Enough of That Sympathy. You're not Nurses, You Know.

I may have got that title entirely wrong.

Still, the memo seems to have instructed staff to rein in the compensation they can offer when pain strikes.

For example, no more free miles when a passenger is having a problem with their power port. Or their Wi-Fi.

And most definitely no compensation for not being able to get the meal you wanted.

Unless, that is, you're in one of the fancy seats.

Here's the big one: Don't even entertain the idea of compensating a whole plane-full of people just because the flight was delayed or canceled. 

I'm moved by the thought that some kindly American Airlines Flight Attendant might have whipped out their tablet in order to simultaneously compensate 200 people for their suffering.

I asked American whether its Flight Attendants had been too generous or whether passengers had been too demanding. Or, perhaps, both. 

Sadly, the airline didn't immediately reply.

For now, then, we must conclude that American Airlines' staff do have a huge heart and that said heart is being frozen a touch by their employers.

Now why might that be?

Oh, you don't think money has something to do with this, did you?