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As we were getting ready to shift from being a portable church that had to set up chairs every week to a church that had our own facility, a lot of people would comment, “Things are going to be a lot easier once you have your own place.”  Clearly no longer being portable means there are certain problems we no longer have.  However, as you might guess, having your own place means having a whole new set of problems.

I got thinking about last night because of a situation involving a certain home improvement store in Ithaca.  As you might have heard we are selling our house.  The sad thing about selling a house is that is when you actually start doing all of the projects you should have done over the past couple years but never got around to.

Well, one of the projects we have to do to get the ready to move is replace our kitchen floor, since it is pretty beat up. So, Liz calls a couple of places, we go back and forth over whether we should install it or pay to have it installed.  She gets a quote on the floor from this one store, finds out that for the square footage we are looking at installation would only be around $350 to $400, so we decide, let’s have them do it.  So they come over, give us an estimate, & say they can install it on Thursday.  We just need to stop in on Wednesday to pay ahead of time.

Liz stops in.  The first thing she learns is that even though the estimate says moving large furniture is included, our island is not considered large furniture.  Extra $50.  Normally we’d do it, but my back has been a bit shaky lately so we decide, okay, it’s only $50.

Oh, and there is some prep work to get the floor ready, and that will be an extra $200.  Now, even though there is a note on the estimate that there may be an addition charge for prep work, you’d think that for a charge that almost doubles the cost, they might actually mention that in the estimate.  So a $350 estimate became a $700 + job in a matter of minutes.

Needless to say we will not be using them to install our floor.

So, what does that have to do with having our own building?  Both in getting the building built & in running it now, there are some companies & contractors that are a joy to work with.  The guys at Builders Best for example, who helped us with the doors were great every step of the way, (they actually have a guy with the title of door expert).

Then there are others that make you wonder, “how do these people stay in business.”  Just this past Sunday, after all of the snow we got last week, neither of our two lots were plowed by 8:30 am, and people start showing up to serve @ 8 am.  The main lot is the landlord’s responsibility, and his guy told him he’d be in on Saturday to get everything ready.  He wasn’t.

We are responsible for the overflow lot across the street, and we had another guy contracted to plow it (notice I said had).  Moses talked to him earlier in the week and he agreed to have the lot plowed by 8:00 am on Sunday.  He showed up after 9.

The guys who installed our super high tech heating & cooling system.  They made several errors in setting up the system, and when we have called to tell them that the sanctuary was over 80 degrees two weeks in a row, they refused to drive up from Binghamton to look at the system even though it is under warranty.  We finally got them to come up then found that the heat sensor in the sanctuary was wired upside down.  Moses’ office was in the 50’s…then send him a list of all types of experiments to try over a week or so…we finally get them here & the fan in his blower isn’t working.

Since then there have been for other major errors (including no heat in the offices) and each time they tell us that it is our problem, and when they finally come up, each time they discover that it was a maintenance error.  Even though we moved into the building in October, the system wasn’t working properly until January.  Now, even though every error has been theirs, and our one year warranty is still in effect, they are actually trying to bill us for their service calls.

Let’s not even go into the fact that the roofers have still not fixed the leak in the roof.

We’ve all had that experience.  You deal with a service person, they tell you what the problem is, fix it and charge you what they said they would, and it works. And you leave that experience thinking, I really like that person & they know what their doing.  And you deal with others that…well kind of make you feel like you’d want to write a blog post and rant about them:-)

Sadly, bad experiences like this, seem to happen more and more.

So my question is this, what do people experience when they encounter you at work.  Now, I doubt any of us gets it right 100% of the time, but is our general attitude one that says, “you are simply an inconvenience that I need to deal with as quickly  and with as little effort as possible,” or we deal with each person we encounter as though they and the situation they are dealing with matters?

Because, the thing is, they can tell….I mean, you can tell when it happens to you, right?  Clearly the bible tells us that we should work as if we were working for God.  At the same time, the whole, “loving your neighbor as yourself thing,” seems like it would cover how we treat people while working.

Clearly, we all know that you can’t make everybody happy.  There are people that no matter what you do, won’t be satisfied.  But day in and day out, are we honest, and loving, and fully present when we are dealing with people?  Are we people that others walk away from shaking their heads hoping they don’t have to deal with us again anytime soon, or are we the one that stands out in a crowd because we actually treated them like they matter, and actually served them to the best of our ability?

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About author / bob

I am a church planter living on Dublin's Northside. I also serve as Director of Marketing for Communitas International. I write about various topics that happen to be going through my brain.

2 comments
  1. bob__wilson says:

    So while I'm writing this, Liz goes to Ithaca Paint Supply to buy more paint since the first purchase didn't cover as much area as we'd hoped. It was without question something I did wrong, and yet the guy gave us a free gallon ($40 value), even though previously we'd only bought a quart. Guess where we'll be buying all of our paint from now on…

  2. Abe Paul says:

    You need to try Angie's List. There is a fee for fit but it really helps you find all sorts of various contractors. I've used several of the highly recommended ones and had great experience.

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