Friday, January 9, 2009

Day three hundred and seventy three ... The other side of the sandwich.

Goddamnit, I'm mad as hell.

When an oil reserve is discovered in a field where the general consensus says it is unlikely to be, one doesn't just put a cap over it and forget about it to preserve the integrity of the surface. 

It is exploited.

It is harnessed.

One makes something out of it--or several things, as it were.

So I'm going to try to do the same, and perhaps I'll learn something in the process.

Negligence. That's what I'm up against.

Why is it that people seem to think that it's okay to just let things go?

I waited seven weeks for a beautiful end table to be made for me. It wasn't cheap. And it wasn't made in China. No. I buy U.S. made if I can help it. I feel that the world has lost a bit of its mind in the last thirty years or so that we've been getting everything--including our own flags--made in foreign lands. I know it's coming back to haunt us. Lead poisoning, shoddy workmanship, sweatshops ... and all for what? A lower manufacturing cost? I would hazard to guess that keeping the price low for something people are not buying for fear of death is a bit contradictory. But I think a lot of crazy things.

Anyway, I picked up the end table from the warehouse and brought it home. I was so excited to finally have a permanent place to put my remote controls (strange as that may sound) and to fill in the space at the end of my sofa with a square table that had been taken up with a circular one on wheels for the last month and a half. I brought it in and went to grab a wet rag to wipe off the dust that had settled since its arrival from Vermont ... and then I noticed the Sharpie marks.

What the ... ?

There was an oblong "X" on one edge made in black ink on the dark brown stain. There were a few stray squiggles here and there. And there was even some on the very edges of the piece. I wasn't sure but I thought they might have been under the lacquer. If so, they would be encased forever within this beautiful work of functional art's wooded flesh. 

"This can't be," I thought. And I put a little extra pressure on the rag, attempting to absolve the elegant, flowing woodgrain of this errant loitering marker miscue. I rubbed for a while until I noticed a slight discoloring of the area around the unwanted ink. Then I stopped. 

I had to.

It wasn't working. 

And if I kept doing what I was doing to try to fix it I was only going to make it worse.

So, I made a call to the store where I bought it (and most of my furnishings) and they said to bring it in and they'd see what they could do.

So I schlepped it out to my car again, and brought it to the store. There, they were aghast. This was highly irregular. The piece was constructed at a reputable company. They had never had a problem with them before. But in an unstable economy it seems that even those with good reputations can fall prey to aberrant behavior.

So, after some talking back and forth between the owner of the store and the manufacturer, it was agreed that they would make me a new one.

I said okay, even though it pained me to think that there would be a portion of a tree put to the lathe unnecessarily, due to someone's negligence. I just know I wouldn't be satisfied knowing that there was a mess of Sharpie marker visible with even the most cursory inspection.

And it seems crazy that this has to happen. I mean, they will probably end up selling the one I have now at a discount, as it will be being used in my home for a good month at least. 

And all because someone couldn't match up the colors of their touchup markers.


I had a security system installed today.

I didn't do it because of any one incident. But they were running a deal that I couldn't pass up. Plus, I have some stuff in my home that I'd like to keep a hold of--like, everything

The guy came by and installed it. He was personable and we hit it off pretty well. He instructed me on how to use it and what to do if it went off by accident. 

He was very thorough and made me feel at ease ...

... so at ease that I didn't notice that the four screws the he used to affix the control panel to one wall were sticking out through the other side and into the living room by a good three quarters of an inch.

Bright, shiny, brand new, silver screws.

From the angle of the receiving end of said knurled rods everything looked secure; those screws weren't going anywhere.

And when I frantically (and nonsensically) opened the panel to get a closer look at where they originated from I got a robot voice asking me to "Use ... numbered ... keys ... to ... enter ... I.D."

I am usually pretty good about not harming myself by acting out at inanimate objects ... and I didn't break with that proclivity here, but I sure as shit wanted to smash that alarm ... just punch it right through the other side and make a big hole in the wall. It would have felt so satisfying for about ten seconds.

But instead I just called the company.

They're going to take care of the situation, I think.

I'm sure we can reach some sort of agreement.

And if you've made it this far you may be asking yourself, "Hmm ... F.A.J.'s ranting over stupid shit like nine out of ten bloggers out there do ... what gives?"

Well, you see, this all makes sense.

Things don't always work right.

Measurements can be misjudged, even by trained professionals.

Items can get sent out to paying customers that are far from perfect, even if that's what your paying top dollar for.

But all of these things can be fixed.

A phone call, an email, a letter, or even just a face to face conversation can take care of most problems. It just takes a little effort. I've found it even takes way less than I thought it would. But if I don't at least make the initial step towards restitution then I just have to put up with whatever comes my way. And that's about as maddeningly frustrating as it gets.

And the thing is, I used to honestly feel like I didn't deserve to get what I wanted done right. I used to just accept what was given to me and plug up that oil gusher. I'd just put a giant cork in it and walk away and go home and turn myself off and say, "I probably did something to deserve this ... I should just let it go."

But the best we can do in life is work the averages and hope, when time comes to add it all up, that the good outweighs the bad. Or at the very least that if the bad stuff starts to pile up we take a good long look as objectively as we can and try to change our lot. 

I've had a good run for a while now. Lots of things have gone my way. And now it's time for a few glasses to break, for a few darts to hit the wall, for a few mistakes to happen and anger up the blood. 

Put it this way: the next time you get a grilled sandwich, and you are super impressed with how perfectly toasted one side is and how they got the grill marks just right ... flip it over.

You might be surprised what you find.

Thanks for reading.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the bad luck, it is so disappointing when things don't turn out like we had planned. But imagine how boring life would be if everything went just like we wanted it to!