As I ponder the idea of continuing to blog for years to come about the fabric industry, it seems that I am going to have to venture away from the quilting related blog path every so often. It’s just that I need to mix things up a little for your sanity and mine. I don’t want my blah blah blogs to become too ba—ba—boring. With all that being said, this week I am going to tell you a personal story that some might consider funny and others might consider to be sad. In any case, there are lessons to be learned.
2 weeks ago I was at the Vacuum & Sewing Show in Vegas (more about that in another blog). Monday morning I got a frustrated call from my wife. Go figure, as always, whenever I am not home, that is when all the drama happens. She called to tell me that at 745 am someone took our garbage bags from the curb and spread our garbage allover our driveway.
My wife looked at our security cameras (see photo above) and unfortunately could not determine who it was. She called the police and filed a report. Of course, she and the kids were a little worried because who does such a thing in a so-called civilized society? The police thought it was someone with a couple screws loose. I thought it was just someone that didn’t like how our garbage smelled. My wife wondered out loud if it might be our neighbor. Turns out, we unfortunately didn’t start off on the right foot with them when they moved in to the neighborhood not too long ago. Long story short, there was a property line issue and I had to take down and replace 25 bushes and put up a new fence. Their moving in was definitely not an inexpensive venture for me and that didn’t even include the legal bills and unnecessary drama.
Fast forward 2 days when I returned home from Vegas. I was driving home and saw my neighbor putting out his garbage. In spite of our differences, I thought I would ask if he knew anything about the garbage incident for the sake of everyone in the neighborhood. Immediately, he said that HE DID IT! I was totally stunned and asked,”Why would you do something like that, psycho?” (Ok, I didn’t actually say the ‘psycho’ part).
He told me that over the last couple of weeks that he found my garbage allover his driveway. So I said, “And you think that I did this?” I went on to say, “Buddy, I am a nice 44 year old gentleman, you think I am getting up in the morning to get myself dirty and scatter my garbage on your driveway?” “Are you insane?” In any case, he said that this was like the third time it happened. That combined with a bad night of sleep with a sick child caused him to loose his cool. I asked him, “Why didn’t you just come over and ask?” He just presumed that it was me trying to mess with him because of the long past property line issue. As if I don’t have better things to do with my life.
There was an easy explanation after all. Our garbage collectors walk through the neighborhood emptying all the garbage cans and then the truck drives around and then they throw the trash in the back. It turns out that my garbage collector was moving my garbage to my neighbor’s driveway and I guess it spilled out a couple times. In other words, it was a big misunderstanding that went haywire. In the end, I think there are a couple of lessons to be learned. Never assume because that makes an ass out of u and me (ASSUME). Also, it shows how important it is to communicate with people.
Enough of the story, but I did want to tie this in to our industry and my business experiences. We often run in to situations where our customers assume certain things that are not true or not totally true. Rather than calling us to discuss, they just take a position like we don’t want to do business with you ever again or any of your other companies and cancel all my orders. This really isn’t a great way for anyone to do business and a lot of times there is an easy solution. We value all of our customers very much and as I always say, our business and industry is not perfect. We do the best we can all the time.
All the being said, please consider how you would feel if every time you made a little mistake or had a misunderstanding with a customer that they told you that they would not do business with you ever again. It is a little extreme if you ask me. I would venture to say that the error would have to be egregious for me not to want to do business anymore. Please keep that in mind going forward and remember that a lot of lives are affected when you make grandiose threats about not doing business with our companies any more. To be honest, it hurts when this happens and unfortunately it happens all too often. We didn’t make it for 87 years in the business by treating customers poorly.
By the way, I thought it would have been nice for the neighbor to show up at my house the next day to apologize with some wine or a cake or even just an apology. That is what I would have done, but then again I wouldn’t have tossed the trash allover. Live and learn my friends and love thy neighbor or not as you choose.
What do you think about that?
Rational Neighbor Scott