JULY 4 2017
AUTHORESS – LA FEMINA
I got a bollocking today from a trades firm no less. ‘How dare I say I want to meet the painter before he spends a week painting the inside of MY house’. The scenario went like this.
Some many months before I had a quote from the principal of this particular painting company to paint the interior of my home. Life got in the way as it does at times and it was many months later that I reconnected to arrange a date for the painting. My daughter was coming over from America in February such that I thought three months notice would suffice. The town house being some twelve years old only needed a tidy up, so an easy enough project I thought. The family visit came and went with no painting done, and no indications of when given this firms reluctance to provide any indication of a date. I tend to go with the flow on these type of things more readily now, accepting that some things happen in their own good time not mine. Besides I had plenty of other projects on the go. I had also been advised that the early part of the year was their most busiest. I had met the principle and given my deciding factor on who I do business with is ‘the person’ I was felt comfortable waiting.
On a Friday some months later I picked up mail which asked if the forthcoming Monday would suit to have the house painted. I agreed assuming that it was the principle who was undertaking the work. Seeking clarity I asked for confirmation and was advised that it would be x.y.z. doing the painting. Not having met this person I offered to meet the painting companies preferred choice of staff member by phone making myself available Sunday night. And then I got a bollocking the essence of which was ‘how dare I ask to meet the painter before he spent a week inside my house And I thought I was being flexible. But obviously, I was not flexible enough.
It’s that old hairy chestnut called entitle-litis – where one is so accustomed to having things their way they believe people will fall in and agree. The thing is with this particular company is that they knew that I was careful with my choices and my boundaries. Originally I was seeking a women painter but women in the trades are like hens teeth. Yet my choices were irrelevant – they were the trades firm after all – and they were busy so if you don’t like who we want to send to your house, well that’s tough – we won’t do the work. Then there was the blame game – blaming me for my choices, my boundaries actually, for they in their choice of language and judgements were making me wrong for their upset.
I had a similar push-back a few years ago when choosing new carpet. I made my choice and advised the sales person that I wanted to meet the carpet layer before I confirmed the purchase. I received an affirmative. Upon following through with dates and times I was asked to make payment. I replied “I have not yet met your carpet layer”. There was a pause in the conversation, an appointment was made, I met the person and the carpet installed. Easy peasy.
So whilst the painting company agreed to my original request there was no weight placed on my words. I gave weight to my words though by reiterating my original request. The days of being a push over are long gone, yet liked it is obviously not.
I did offer an olive branch to the paint company. I suggested they be bigger than their judgement of me, but no can do. As I see it I only wanted
to meet one of their staff members by way of a phone call who by way of culture would normally have the same values as the principles – but not always. The measure of a person or organisation in my book is their ability to apologise and say lets try again. And it seems I got my original assessment wrong though to be fair, the bollocking was from the wife of the principal I had met.
I remember a discussion many years ago with an engineering firm who advised me that their client base was 60/ 40 or some such ratio, split between commercial and residential clients. They had been urged by other commercial enterprises to let go of the residential business. However this Director saw things differently. He had been around awhile through the ups and downs of economies and he knew that commercial business is often more affected in the down times than residential and that to dispense with residential business would be a fool hardy decision. I remember this now given the world is on the verge of the father of all financial collapses. And whilst commercial is buoyant currently, and these pesky homeowners are a nuisance, the collapse will come – suddenly. And then?
Many in the trades industry have as big an attitude of entitl litis as the Corporates. They like to do things their way and don’t quite know how to work with a client that has their own specifics. They are of course being confronted by conditioning where the expectations are for women to fall into line. This is no more. I learnt to be more involved in decision making after a plumber installed a new water faucet in a previous property. I left him to do the job assuming he knew what he was doing. This was a mistake. For upon opening the shower door I found that the placement of the water faucet was not accessible when standing outside the shower door. He had changed the position. Thus one had to be in the shower to turn the water on – whilst standing under cold water and all that. A friend of mine relayed a story of a bloke installing a smoke alarm in her kitchen. The placement chosen was over the stove! And then there was my recent experience of having laundry shelves installed but finding that despite my detailed plans and three visits from the joinery firm the shelves were made so they sat on the new bench – not above it. A sight one would never see. Yet they fixed their mistake – after the installer initially blamed me – but you get that. Hence I kinda like to be involved with the wheres and why fores of my projects.
When push comes to shove its the nature of a person that is important. Get that wrong and well working things out tend to be more difficult. But getting back to this painting firm. We all have to learn from our own mistakes. My life has been full of them. I have found that from a fall comes humility. I take no joy from saying this – we all make mistakes, we have all acted less than judiciously and most, but not all, learn from their mistakes – eventually.
What came out of this experience for me was that if do not stand for myself then no one else will. It’s common sense. If you believe in something then stand by that belief. And yes when we hold on to our principles this sometimes comes at a cost. But I would rather step away and be true to self. I can wait and I can choose to go without. Good people will come along – people who match my values . I have no need to acquiesce – which is really appeasing another at my expense.
So that was my Sunday. Agreeing to a last minute request to have a painter arrive at 7.30 am on Monday morning, then getting a bollocking for asking to meet them by phone Sunday evening. Such is life. It’s a tough gig been an uppity woman.
Bollocking – a serve telling – off; dressing down*.
*Collins English Dictionary, Copywrite @HaperCollins Publishers –
Since wondering if ‘copywrite ‘means I cannot quote this definition in the context of a blog?
*Paintbrush and palette Sebastian Grunwald Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Image reduced in size.