We recently had hurricane shutters installed on our home. Unfortunately, the guys who installed the shutters were sloppy, hurried, surprisingly moody and they clearly did not want to be working with each other. Thank goodness my husband was there to monitor their work and make sure everything was functional and properly attached..which it wasn’t in numerous places, and this (of course) led to more ugliness with the crew.
When it came time to pay the balance that we owed, I drove to this company’s office in town because I wanted to have a ‘sit down’ with the owner and share our experience with her. I was ushered to a table in an area off the main showroom and waited there for her to finish up a conversation she was having with another customer..a very, very heated conversation.
I couldn’t quite understand what the actual problem was that they were discussing, but the loud, foul language the customer was using was easy to make out. It got so bad that at one point I heard the owner say, “Now you need to stop that; stop talking to me like that!”
When the woman finally plopped down into the chair across from me in her office, her eyes were wide and she looked like she was ready for round two. I thought about how badly I wanted to lay into her about her lousy crew and their bad attitudes but I figured I should tailor my conversation around the one she just had..I needed to THINK this through before I opened my mouth.
I started out by saying how great the shutters looked on our home and how happy I was to finally have them..
and then I respectfully and honestly and calmly told her what I thought she should know about her workers. I told her I felt I owed her the feedback and if it was my company, I’d surely want to know.
Was my conversation super satisfying?
You see there was a pretty big part of me that wanted to “let-it-rip” after dealing with her miserable team for three, long, frustrating days..but as I listened to that nasty, old guy blasting away at her before me, I had time to ask myself what I wanted from this interaction:
Did I want to be constructive or simply destructive?
Did I want to fight or did I want to talk?
Did I want her to mentally process our complaints or just tear her apart with my anger?
Did I want her to be defensive or really listen?
Did I want her to care?
I was actually grateful that I was able to sit and listen to the awful rantings of the man who came before me because it gave me an opportunity to hear what I could have sounded like. Maybe this company really did do him wrong, but you know what? The minute he started cursing and verbally attacking this woman, the second he raised his voice..he lost his standing. This man gave full vent to his anger, he truly did “let-it-rip” and like an explosive sneeze, while it can be satisfying in the moment, that’s about all you’re going to get out of it.
I left our conversation with a smile on my face because I had made my case without sacrificing my integrity..and as far as I’m concerned, that was a win.
(Originally posted in 2018)