There are a couple of phrases that used to mean something but now mean nothing, "I am so sorry" and "We apologize for that sir". A politician says something profoundly stupid, and within a few days gives his apologies. "I am so very sorry if the words I used offended anybody." See how that works? The politician didn't apologize and admit that he/she is a total asshole. The politician apologizes that he said it in a way that upset you, not that what he/she said is wrong. The worst offenders of empty apologies are corporate call centers. The place that you call when something you ordered didn't show up, or if a representative of theirs screwed something up. I remember an incident many years ago where I walked into the Walgreens near my house and picked up a product that I needed. I stealthily made my way to the cashier that had the fewest people in line and quietly put my item on the counter. The cashier picked it up and ran it over the scanner. Nothing happened. So the woman picked up the phone, dialed up the storewide intercom system, and broadcast for all to hear, "I need a price check on A200 body lice shampoo." I just stood there for a moment in shock, then I asked the woman, "Did you have to do that?"
"It didn't scan sir, I have to get the price."
"Do you know how embarrassing that is?"
"I'm sorry sir, but it didn't scan."
When I got home I called Walgreens headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois to complain. I talked to a nice sounding lady.
"Oh, I am so sorry for you bad experience sir."
" We do apologize for that."
"Thank you for calling."
What brought all this up was listening to Mark talking on the phone the other day to somebody at his insurance company's call center. He was screaming into the phone while strolling through the house. Just as he got near the hallway right outside my office I heard him shouting at the person on the other end. "I don't want a goddamned apology. You can stick your apology up your ass, I want a goddamned refund!"
Which really is the best apology you could get.