Posted in business, grace, life

Grace

I’ve been in business for almost seventeen years. In that time, I’ve put thousands of window blinds, shades, and shutters in the windows of homes throughout Brazoria County. I’ve only partly joked that each project is almost like a pregnancy: I never feel completely at ease until each “baby” is delivered safely and satisfactorily into its new home. It’s always been very important to me to provide quality products, excellent customer service, and the promise that if my clients ever have a need, all they have to do is call me.

Every so often, though, there’s a hiccup. A speed bump, a hitch. This particular hiccup occurred because we’ve gone through a rough patch as a family, with illness hampering already stressful, but normal transitions. Without the illness, without the stressful transitions, I would have been on top of my game a bit better and the ordering, delivery, and installation of a single blind would not have been delayed.

Let me preface by saying this: we provided the entire house of blinds, but the opening where this single blind will reside had not yet been completed when I took the original set of measurements. It was unknown when the window sill would be installed, and it was unknown if tile would wrap inside the opening — requiring cut outs on each side for a truly custom fit. So the client paid for all the blinds and I made it clear that I would not be able to order the single blind until the window was finished.

At one point I called to find out if the opening was finished and was told, “yes.” I took time out of my day to drive over to get the measurements to discover that the window was NOT finished. (The house was still in the last stages of construction and when I arrived the door was open and no one was to be found.)

So I had to go back a second time to get the measurements, when the window was finally finished. I was a little disappointed to see that they had, in fact, put tile around the inside of the opening, requiring the cut outs, the wholesale cost of which is more than a standard blind. Cost that I had not included in my sales price, since I never charge clients for something “just in case” — and I don’t go back and increase prices after the fact, after the quote is delivered.

Between the time I got the measurements and ordered the blind, my daughter became very ill with pneumonia the week she was supposed to move to the University of Houston. Obviously, I was a little distracted, being worried about her illness in general, and how it would affect her first days at the university. Everything is okay now, but the last eleven days have been rough, what with worrying about her and trying to get things back on track in general.

Thus my reason for thinking about “grace.” This afternoon my client called to ask about the blind and in a conversation that started out pleasantly enough, I was told that if the blind wasn’t installed by Tuesday, the order would be cancelled. The order that clearly states “no cancellations” right above the place where the client signs to initiate the order. I explained that I was not at home, but working on another project and that I would check to see if the blind had arrived as soon as I got home. I explained that I was pretty sure the blind should be arriving any day, and that we’d had these health issues in the midst of trying to move our daughter to Houston.

I was reminded of “how many referrals” had been sent my way through this client, and then I was told that my daughter had been off at college for two weeks. I can only guess this was an assumption based on when other college kids left for school. However, I’m the one (along with her dad) who took her furniture to Houston while she rested here at home. I’m the one that fought with the apartment complex when we discovered the apartment had not been made ready, and stank like a litter box because of cat urine soaked carpet. I’m the one who lovingly bullied my exhausted daughter into moving to the apartment four days later than her roommates, and starting class the third day of the semester so she would have a little more time to recover. Basically, I was shamed for being human, having illness in my family, and not keeping it all together for a single blind.

Today. Today I was in serious need of a little grace.

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I'm a scribbler and a shutterbug.

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