Is the Customer Always Right?

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Could you imagine going to work each day dreading the customer you are going to HAVE to work with? How awful would that be? By noon, you’d want to walk out. There is no way a company would stay positive. You could put on your best “fake” voice, but you can only put up with so much disrespect.

Though “the customer’s always right” is commonly accepted, we have learned to say goodbye to many customers over the years. Now, don’t get me wrong…we do NOT take saying goodbye to customers lightly. It is the last thing we want to do, but sometimes in the service industry, it must be done. Confidence in your product or service helps. If you know that your service/product, customer service, work force, and follow up is superb, it’s much easier to say goodbye, though you often wonder why.

Depending on what the customer does to disrespect one of our members, we will generally go through the pros and cons of letting them go, then come to a consensus. Watching fellow employees react to process of “firing a customer” can sometimes be a treat. I say that because in that moment, the employee realizes that the company has their back, no matter what. That in turns creates a workforce that wants the same goals as you, and knows that treating a customer with the upmost respect is extremely important. No one wants to let anyone go after having a bad day, but you also shouldn’t have to bend so far over backwards that you nearly break yourself.

Our workforce knows to do anything and everything possible to ensure our customers plumbing problems are solved quickly, quietly, and neatly. Yet, sometimes this isn’t good enough for some individuals. Constant complaining about pricing, swearing at our technicians, or yelling at the office staff… All of these things and many more are huge red flags to us. It is just like an unhealthy relationship, you know the signs that point to “kick em to the curb” route. Because we do know when to stop bending backwards, we know have many happy, nice, and respectful customers. They then send all their nice family and friends our way. Just remember, you are human too and don’t deserve to be disrespected, at all. Stand up for yourself, employees, and business.

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A “Real” Good Time

Just the other day we had some lumber delivered to our home and being the kind of guy that I am, I quickly struck up a conversation with the delivery man. I asked my new friend, John, how the lumber delivery business was going and his answer made my day. John claimed that he couldn’t keep up, that they had him working day and night. Both John and myself agreed this was a very excellent news indeed.

Filming our latest commercial

Our television rep was in to visit and we got to talking about different things as we usually do. Side note: You see we got lucky with our rep. He has become our friend and advisor, he really gives us his time. Whether he really cares of not, I don’t know, I do know that he shows it and that’s all that matters. Taking care of business. Okay back to the story.. So our rep says that his station is fully booked with ads. That they are breaking records and activity  is at a 5 year high! This is fantastic news, fantastic for everyone!

Just last week I spoke with a painter we network with. Kevin is a great business person and the leads we have given him, he has taken care of right away. In our brief talks Kevin says he has never been busier this time of year, and he has never seen anything like it. This is absolutely wonderful news.. So now you start to wonder where this is taking you…

After all this great news my mind wanders to the men and women we have working here that are under 30ish, in fact, all men and women working anywhere under 30ish. Are they ready for the recovery? They’ve never seen truly prosperous times. They have lived through the horror of 9/11, two wars, and the worst economy since the Great Depression, nearly 100 years ago. What do they know about good times? Then a smile came across my face, of course they are ready.

Our social media team is under 30

They’ve been ready for several years now. Actually they were born ready because they are OUR children and grandchildren. They are going to rock this thing. All we have to do is stand back, guide when necessary, and watch. The recovery is going to be so much fun and rewarding to be a part of.  After eating on a bread and butter diet for most of this century, the steak and potatoes that we are about to gorge on will be that much better.

Especially for those under 30 who have never enjoyed “good times.” Better watch out this thing that we call an economy is about to take off and we have all new leaders at the front of the ship to guide the way. What a blast it shall be! Weeeeeeee….

Oh, I wouldn’t change a thing. Or would I?

When we say I wouldn’t change a thing, do we really mean it? Isn’t there just a bit of curiosity, a bit of wonder about how things might have been?

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to see what might have been? Without, of course, any ramifications to actually being able to see that uncharted road. Thinking about that possibility leads me to believe that knowing what could have been leads me straight to an eight by ten padded cell. This all directs me to the decisions and choices I am making today.. AH! Even writing this blog has changed everything about my future and though I know that, there is nothing I can do about it nor do I know the outcome. Hell, I could be discovered and be cast in the movie of my life all from this blog. That’s it! I am not moving from this chair ever again, but that changes everything too. If I could see an altered past or future, it doesn’t matter, I am still going nuts over this subject!

Usually my standard answer is always I wouldn’t change a thing, and honestly, I wouldn’t. BUT knowing that one look left instead of right could have changed it all. What if I had applied myself in school a bit more? Maybe getting one percent higher on a test could have meant that I would have gone on to be a sports broadcaster… Nah, I am good.

What if I had said no to some of those mind altering drugs as a teenager. They were fun, I think? This isn’t something we bring up at Christmas dinner but the first time I ever even spoke to my wife, the very first time she ever told me to get lost, I was so out of it that it’s a wonder life continued after that night. Before she drove off that night I informed her of the date we would be married. Believe it or not, that actual date years later ended up being the day we got married so what if I had never said those words. Now, if I hadn’t of been so blotto (for those who do not know blotto is slang for inebriated/tipsy/intoxicated/hammered) we would have never had that conversation. It really wasn’t much of a conversation just her telling me to get lost, I took it as she was diggin’ me.

What if I had not started a plumbing company in 1997? That one bends my mind like no other. In some future blog we will analyze that one. Yikes.

Fact is we all have these moments in time that with one move, one change of heart, our lives would be different. Is it meant to be? Is it all free will? Has it all been predestined? This blog isn’t here to debate all that and as you may have guessed by now, I am no where near smart enough to pick apart or answer those questions. So who knows, for now I get to sweep up dog hair due to a choice made some years back about getting a dog. Or was it the choice of purchasing the computer that we used to find the dog in the first place. Or maybe the choice was made for me when the dog kennel decided to breed the dogs that we had chosen to be part of our family?

Come visit me at the funny farm,only if you want, and we’ll talk all about it. You choose the time and day though, I am not about to.

Once Upon A Time.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, I was cast in the role of a plumber. As the years fly by, trying to find that guy becomes rather tricky. He never seems to have the time to come out and play. And when the time comes that he does have the time to do something, something else seems to get in the way. I miss that guy. The filthy-clothes-after-a-hard-days-work guy. The “wife not letting him in the house until he strips his filthy clothes off” guy. The guy who seemed to jump right into a new project as soon as he got home. Where is that guy? Who is that guy? Sometimes I forget he even existed. The sands of time really do mellow one’s life.

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, I was cast in the role of a little boy. A little lad who frolicked through his neighborhood without a worry in the world, where did that guy go? Now, there is someone I haven’t seen for many, many years. One of the magical things about living in the same area your entire life is you get to visit your old haunts quite regularly. These visits can bring back all of the memories in one fell swoop. Sure at times it can be overwhelming, yet, usually it gives great joy to a persons day. When strolling up and down ol’ memory lane of someone’s life things can get extremely intense. You know, the questions, the insecurities that you had during that particular moment, the victories, the losses. Oh, we all have lots of losses. Long ago I read that all we have to do is win 51% of the time and we will be successful. WOW, that leaves lots of room to make your comebacks. We all are familiar with comebacks. Who doesn’t love a good comeback. Sometimes it just slips our mind.

It’s amazing really. The video of our lifetimes. We all have our own bestseller. Our own award winning productions. All of us are famous in our own stories, we all act a little bit don’t we? I acted like a little boy once, although that story is now old and seems to be in black and white, it’s still a classic in the mind of he who wrote the story. We forget about those lands far, far away.

SO much denim

Then I got to play the role of a lifetime, a husband and a father. Now that show has been running for 30 years now. That show has not won any awards but it still holds a great audience level and has given me much joy and lots of great adventures. Who needs awards anyway?

Now I have been asked to play this new character. You know the one.. One who plumbs no more. One who attends meetings, luncheons, and shakes lots of hands. One who encourages those he gets to spend his day with to be the best that they can be. One who watches his children carve out a living in this big, bad, beautiful world. It’s my most challenging role to date and I can’t wait to read the script. Oh what adventures we shall have. It’s no wonder we forget about all of those old characters. Who has the time? Yet it is the old characters who prepared us for the next role and the next scene. I finally understand why that little boy was smiling as he sat on the front porch with a broken left leg waiting to say hi to the mailman. That little boy knew that the adventures he would soon take would make up the story of his life. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that all of us have our very own grand once upon a time..

Chocolate Cake & Life

I have never been too hard to please. My favorite cake and will always be chocolate with chocolate icing. Nothing elaborate, nothing too fancy. Just deep, rich, moist chocolate cake with enough frosting to know it’s on there, but not so much that it takes away from the yumminess (yes, I said yumminess) of the cake itself. Strange thing now that I write all that down I can see how my life parallels that cake quite a bit. Not saying my life is anywhere near as delicious as chocolate cake, not that at all.

Chocolate cake is something everyone can relate to. It’s solid and can perform well in a pinch. You know exactly what you are getting with chocolate cake. It’s straight forward, to the point, you have few surprises and well, chocolate cake is very reliable. Chocolate cake is not as wacky as pineapple upside down cake or as strict as German chocolate cake. Not as strange as spongecake or as traditional as white wedding cake. Chocolate cake does not stand out like a strawberry cheesecake but it can certainly work a crowd and dominate a conversation if it needs to.

This Pinterest craze has created many new crafts and recipes for all to make and with that said.. Recently I had a slice of chocolate cake made with diet soda instead of eggs. It was interesting and fine, I will admit it was pretty good. I probably would have never known the difference had someone not told me. Yet I was informed and this made the experience seem phony, like a wannabe chocolate cake. Perhaps that is what makes chocolate cake to me, the ingredients. They are dependable and after all isn’t that what everything in life is about? Too much of this, too little of that and all of the sudden you’re delicious chocolate cake is no more. One false move can change the whole outcome.

OH, and who doesn’t like a warm, rich, moist slice of chocolate cake accompanied with an ice cold glass of milk? Now I mean come on, that is life. Or perhaps a small slice in the morning with a cup of java from, say, Costa Rica- YUM. Let’s not forget about the die hards and maybe a medium slice with a large glass of Adult Chocolate Milk. Now is a great time to give a shout out to the people or person who decided the cocoa bean was edible.

Can you imagine this world without chocolate? Seriously, no chocolate history what-so-ever. With all the confusion, all the turmoil and uncertainty in this world around us, can you imagine how grumpy some people would be? Or what kind of mood everyone would be in. Really, not something I want to ever imagine again. Yes indeed, life can simply be and is a piece of cake.

What About The Children?

DISCLAIMER: The blog entry you are about to read may lead you to believe that raising children is a breeze, please know that is not the case. They cause you to pour an extra drink at night, cover-up the gray hairs you slowly start to notice, and in some cases, use range in your voice you never knew you had. But really, children are great.

More times than often thoughts of what my journey would of been like without the two children I helped raise enters my heart. Would my wife and myself been able to fill the last 30 years? Would we have survived all of the trials and tribulations that life can throw at each and every one of us? What would of my moral compass been calibrated to if not for wondering what was best for the children? Funny how decisions made nearly 30 years ago shaped my entire being, my entire life really. It’s almost as if the first twenty something years on this planet were in someone else’s body.

Once the decision was made to bring children into this world my thought pattern changed forevermore. Certainly this isn’t the case for all young men and women today, but for me, everything changed. I had to actually be an adult myself. I have said that once you’ve raised children you will not have a selfish bone left in your body. I mean realistically how could you? Once the children have made their way into the equation of one’s life and even to this very day, for me, some 28 years later, I still find each day starting with “what about the children.” Sure, it is not as consuming as it once was yet, still you worry and hope all is well with them and their loved ones.

Not being able to know what or how my life would have turned out without them, I can only imagine how things might of been. One thing I know for a fact is that there is no way, no how I would have stayed so focused and so determined without them constantly on my mind. For that I am truly thankful to the both of them, and now to both of their loved ones.

Being responsible for something so, so delicate can be overwhelming to many. Too challenging for some. Too troublesome for others. For me helping raise our children has been a constant education on life. Playing kid games, driving them to the movies, watching them grasp for adulthood… Every bit of that has been a constant movie of the week in my eyes. Yeah I have made more mistakes than I care to even remember. There is not a “fail safe” brochure for this adventure (I would have paid big money if there was one). Yet through all of those mistakes, through all of the good and bad, I have always been there (with my wife, OF COURSE) and always shall be, as long as this giant floating ball will have me as a guest. It’s the simplest of promises but also the hardest of all to keep.

I am a lucky man, I know that. Had relatively good health, had a darn good time trying to grow up. I have a wife who has always remained by my side for nearly 30 million years now. I have 2 grown children who are also very dear friends of mine. And if I were to stop breathing at this very moment it would be okay, I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, and don’t remember most of it. Wait a minute… If I were to leave this earth today what about the children… See it really never ends.

My delicious family


You Know Who You Are.

Do we ever really thank people enough? Not just the ones who help you all of the time but also those people who went out of their way to not help you. The anti-helps. You know who I am talking about. The ones who did everything in their power not to help you. Lets make a list of those and see if we have any anti-helpers in common, because I bet we all do.

You know the types, the “I’m going to cut you off on the highway no matter what you do” anti-helper. These folks are a strange breed indeed and lets give them a big thanks today for allowing me to remember how not to act towards others while driving a ton of moving parts at speeds our ancestors couldn’t have even dreamed about…

Or what about the “I’ve got the nastiest flu I’ve had in years yet I am still going to go to this show because I paid for it even though I am going to hack and sneeze my way through the whole event poisoning everyone” anti-helper. Pass the popcorn over here, Brother. Yummy. Lets give him a giant round of applause. Thanks for reminding us how easy it is to give away tickets and get some rest when we feel like we are dying from the flu.

And my favorite kind of all time, the ones that I thank every single day of my life. Sometimes I thank these people more than once a day. The “You will never make it, you might as well quit now because your idea is terrible and I would never do it that way if I were you” anti-helpers. Good thing those people are not me.

These types come and go all of the time and for me I really wish they would come around more often. Why? Because every time, every single time someone even gets close to talking to me this way things start to get better for me. I get more focused it seems. I become more determined than ever before to succeed to carve out my piece of the pie. To prove someone wrong is to me the closest thing to winning a Superbowl as I will ever get. So bring it on all you wreckless drivers, you selfish individuals, and you naysayers in the world around us all, bring it on. I shall use your lessons you give me wisely and shall smile broadly with each passing day knowing you came into my life for a purpose and I shall learn from you and more than anything I thank you.