I thought the act of selecting a painting company would be the hardest part of the job….but I was wrong. Turns out actually finishing the job is the hardest part. I realize that weather plays a factor and this summer has been less than cooperative at times, but to take a month to paint 5 units…oh and it’s still not done….ugh!
When it wasn’t the weather’s fault, painting was delayed because guys were scheduled on other jobs. When they weren’t at other jobs, the issue was that he struggled to find people. When people did show up, the issue was that only certain folks did certain jobs.
Now I’m not painting expert — although, I did paint one summer in college — but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if everyone has their specialty, you can tackle more than one piece of the work at a time. Once one side is sprayed, the trimmers should come in to finish that side while the sprayers move to the other side, right? Nah….that would be way too efficient.
Sure, I have a logical brain. So I’m able to see the big picture as well as the pieces and parts that comprise the big picture, and I’m pretty good about seeing how they all fit together. When I look at this painting project, I see a dozen ways that it could have been streamlined….but none of that matters. Because I’m not in control of the situation…I’m not running this job. What I am is simply a consumer…a customer…a client.
I’m at the mercy of a man who said he’d do a quick job and it’d be quality work. Now we’re a month in and while the end is in sight…I have no idea how long the remaining work will take. Seems like it should be done this week, but who am I to forecast. I would have never dreamt the job would take as long as it has…and still counting.
It seems like the customer used to matter a lot more than they do now. Maybe it’s just how I was raised…maybe it was my education…but one bad customer cancels out the voice of at least five satisfied customers. That used to matter to companies. Your word used to matter. It seems far too many people and businesses say what they think you want to hear, regardless of whether it’s the truth or not.
We’ve all gotten so good at believing our own bullshit that even when we are lying, we’re able to convince ourselves that there’s some truth to the story…or that it isn’t our fault. I wish I had an answer as to why this is the case. Maybe I can blame Facebook…smart phones…the Internet?
Are companies this desperate that they’ll commit to anything to win the business? Are people so desperate to get ahead that they’ll say anything? Do they think customers are so stupid that we’ll believe anything…and will we?
I’m of the school of thought that when you say you’re going to do something, you do. When you give your word, you follow through. When you make a commitment, you honor it. And if you can’t, you find someone who can…you fess up…or you get out…but you don’t just assume the other person doesn’t have options.
We all do and we need to start doing a better job of executing our options so people (and businesses) realize that we expect what we have paid for. That we expect a level of quality…common courtesies…honesty…and a work ethic. Expectations aren’t always good but when it comes to doing business, expectations are absolutely necessary.