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Good services and good attitudes

December 24, 2014
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Breakdowns often come in bunches.

If a water heater goes out, it is often followed by a washing machine, or drier or dish washer or air conditioner or the family car failing also. It's like they collude. The first one tells the others that the bank account has been greased and money is sliding out. They all jump on the bandwagon to get their share of the money before it's gone. This can make it difficult to maintain a civilized attitude when fixing or replacing these necessities of life. We never seem to budget ahead for these things. We live in an atmosphere of hope, desperately wishing that each of these machines will hold on for a little longer. At least long enough for us to save up a nest egg or hit the lottery or something. Anything. Just stop breaking down. Please. The machines are merciless. They don't care, but then machines can't care. Only people can care. Some people do care. The people in the business of fixing our broken machines do care about our problems, and they derive satisfaction from helping us. It's one of the main reasons they're in the business. However, people being people, they can't help feeling resentful when being criticized, ostracized, or slandered, and that negative mind-set can be very counterproductive to workmanship.

Getting good service work done can be difficult, or it can be easy. It depends on attitudes. For instance, if you're the wife, you can demand that the husband take care of something. He, in turn, can hire a professional company, which he accuses of being too slow and too costly as they negotiate a price. The company can then assign it to a department head who, because of the bare-bones quote, will schedule it for the lowest paid service technician. The technician may then go home and complain to his wife about being overworked, underpaid and stressed out. If she's had a tough day with the kids, she might tell him to shut up and just do the job, whereupon he has the option of kicking the dog, who will then bite the cat, who will then scratch the kids, which will really tick off the wife (and if Mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody gonna be happy), so he may as well plan on shutting up and doing the job. You can guess what the workmanship will look like when he's finished beating on your machine.

Fast forward to scenario two. The wife notices that repair work is required. She asks the husband if he thinks it is something he can do, or if they should hire someone. When they agree to hire it out, they research various companies until they find one they like, agree on a price and contract the job. The company salesman asks the department head to take good care of his nice customers. The manager assigns it to the most capable technician for the particular problem, who takes pride in his work, and goes home every night and has a peaceful family dinner. No dog kicking required, the cat purrs and the kids do well in school. Good workmanship is much more likely.

Maybe the old adage about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar is on the right track. Or was that about a little honey making the medicine go down? Whatever. Attitudes matter. You can demand service by banging your shoe on a desk if that's your style, but I think you'll like the outcome better if you walk in bringing cookies. Chocolate chip or ginger snaps. (Just sayin').



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