gallery Make Good Choices

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”  Steve Jobs

When is it ever ok to cut corners in your work? When does it ever feel ok to return home after doing whatever it is you ‘do’ all day and know you didn’t do your best when delivering your service or product to your client or customer? When is it ok to bypass what is the right thing to do for the easy thing to do?

And the answer is: NEVER.

Raise your hands, people, all of you who got this answer correct. In my world, and I assume yours, this was an easy question. However, every day I am amazed how often shortcuts are taken by individuals who feel the need to finish quickly or just chose to not take the time to do a good job. Today was no exception.

We have a leaky shower (as in leaking into the basement) that needed attention so I employed a man who has done excellent tile and floor work in our home previously. The fix was a tedious yet doable fix, repaired beautifully I might add, however what my guy discovered during his re-grouting was the fact that the basic foundation of our shower was laid improperly. Not just done improperly but flat-out wrong. Interestingly, based on the work my tile guy was seeing he felt confident he knew who originally installed my shower. In the past, on other job sites, my tile guy has seen the sub-standard work of this unnamed tile person who admits to doing his work in such a fashion. Well, because of sub-standard tile guy, my tile guy is assured of future work in this town (great for him!) and I, the unsuspecting consumer, am screwed years down the road due to the easy road seeming oh so delightful at the time (not so great).

Thus my mantra…MAKE GOOD CHOICES! Somewhere my kids are cringing reflexively as I write this. They have heard this slogan since their elementary years hopping on the school bus. Their crazed mother’s balloon of wisdom chasing them out of the neighborhood seemed so benign, maybe annoying at the time but in retrospect there is literary science in those three words.

MAKE- to frame or formulate in the mind

GOOD-of a favorable character or tendency

CHOICES-power of choosing

As I read it, we have the power to make favorable choices when we put our minds to it. Given the right tools, encouragement and structure it becomes second nature to deliver good in all that we personally control. And, knowing that our personal stamp accompanies our work, who wouldn’t want to put their best foot forward?

I know you see it everywhere, too…airports, the library, health care facilities. There is no boundary when it comes to receiving or not receiving great customer service. And while I may remember that terrible waitress at a local restaurant who cared squat about my improperly prepared salad and the terrible dinner she served yet seemed too distracted to correct for us, I most definitely remember my grocery bagging man who greets me with a smile and a hug EVERY DAY regardless the weather, news or personal grief. And even though it was quite difficult dealing with the very cranky nTelos lady who under no circumstances was going to help me with my cellular issues, I (almost) forgot her because afterward I entered the cocoon of my dentist’s office. From the moment I enter, beginning with the receptionist to the hygienist to the dentist, I feel like I am their only patient and they’ve been waiting for me all day.

Those who do make good choices and put their everything into making their day and mine a bit brighter deserve the recognition. Those who decided long ago that doing the right thing is, well, the right thing, I applaud you! And those of you who want to get through your job in haste, probably leaving a messy trail behind you, remember that someone else is paying the price for your poor choices.

So perhaps if the mother of sub-standard tile guy stood at his bus stop all those years ago yelling those three important words, he might have learned to make BETTER CHOICES early on yielding greater pride in his work and I wouldn’t be without my shower for nine days…Make good choices, ok?

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2 comments

  1. Two observations here. First about customer service received, second about customer service provided.

    Re the providers you describe in your post, customer service sometimes means giving the customer what they want, even if the provider knows it’s not what the customer really needs. Often that means doing a job quickly and cheaply but not in a manner so it will not need to be done again sometime down the road. I had a shower repair experience similar to yours, but I’m sure we don’t live in the same town. That type of service provider clearly works just about everywhere.

    Second, before I retired, I was a buyer who was often tasked with purchasing exactly what my customer, who would use the stuff I was buying, wanted, again even if I knew I could get it better or cheaper elsewhere. Then, to add insult to this injury to my professional pride, I had to justify why I bought the inferior or more costly product to my OTHER customer, the auditor. You can see this was a no win situation where it was usually not possible to make the good choice. That’s what forced me into retirement.

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