Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Double Whammy! Honesty Strikes Again

My latest post exposed the shocking honesty of a couple in Provo who went out of their way to contact me and let me know that we had accidentally deposited money in their account instead of one of my sons' account. Two days later, someone's honesty and kindness right here in Appleton rescued me from even greater expense, as I report on my local blog about Appleton.

The night before my third son returned from his mission in Taiwan, we were so excited about his return that it felt a little like Christmas Eve. At the end of a long day, I opened the kitchen door and pushed a button to close the garage door. I normally stand there and make sure it goes down OK--we've had trouble with that door before and I'm usually paranoid about it hitting something on the way down--but not tonight. I was feeling confident, bubbly, and in a hurry to wrap up and get to sleep. Moments after I closed the door and walked away, I heard a horrible crushing sound coming from the garage, and then silence. Gasp.

I opened the kitchen door again and looked out to see the wide garage door pressing down on the back of my recently purchased car--I had left it slightly under the garage door when I pulled in, intending to move it all the way in later, because a couple bins of apples were in the way from our apple harvest. The opener that moves the garage door had continued pressing down so hard that the top panel of the door had been ripped open by a metal bracket that kept moving into the door. Another panel was warped. The iron beam that holds the garage door opener looked highly bent. I figured everything was ruined and needed to be replaced, and guessed that it would cost $2000 or so, maybe even $3000. I was mostly worried about the car, but once I got the garage door released from its jammed position, I saw that it was unscratched, amazingly. Thank goodness for shocks. But the door was ruined due to my foolishness.

I went to sleep discouraged, and made a call the next morning after Googling for local garage door services.

Many people would have billed me for over $2000 to repair the door. The main door would need to be replaced, and since the new door would no longer match the discontinued style of our second small garage door, they'd encourage us to replace both at the same time, along with one or two openers (we only have one). But I was so fortunate to run into the good man that I ended up calling somewhat at random. He came over the next day and was extremely helpful in diagnosing the problem. Then came a big surprise: he had a customer with the same kind of doors who was getting rid of them, and he could salvage two panels from their door to replace the two damaged panels on mine. Same color, same style. Wow. I wouldn't need one or two whole new doors at all. Even more shocking, he said he wouldn't charge me for those panels. He also showed me how to pick up another part I needed to be replaced to save me money versus having him order it (he started with showing me how I might be able to repair the part myself, but my efforts and tools weren't good enough - the part only cost $38).

He was a delightful expert who, when he returned a couple of days later with the salvaged parts, spent time teaching me things about the doors and their operation and maintenance, and pointed out the problems that we had had from inadequate service in the past. He spent over two hours doing the repair and tuning everything up, including adjusting settings on the opener so next time the door will retreat with even a light resistance instead of self-destructing if something is in the way.

When he was done, I expected a hefty bill. I didn't have an estimate in writing and knew he could charge me almost anything at this point for his work. Would it be $500? $600? Still an amazing bargain over what it could have been, and I would not have objected, especially since I liked him. But I was in shock when he handed me his bill. He only charged me for 90 minutes of labor: a total of $65, with tax. (I pushed back and, drawing upon my well-honed negotiation skills, got him to accept a more appropriate amount.) My stupid accident ended up costing me less than 1/10 of what I had expected. Again, I'm the recipient of another person's integrity--twice in one week, both saving me a wad of cash at a time when we actually need it, given some of the demands we are facing (not to mention facing the largest tax increase in history in a couple of months!).

Can you imagine what a productive society this would be if everyone we worked with and elected had that kind of integrity? Can you imagine a world where we weren't surprised and delighted by honesty, but encountered it constantly? That kind of community is what we call Zion--an elusive goal, but one worth striving for.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This would have been lovely without the blatant political nonsense in the penultimate paragraph. That soured everything.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Really? Someone objects to having even more of their money taken by spendthrifts and it sours everything? Everything? So sorry about that. But hey, I'm honored to have a Senator drop by and comment.

If you ever were to try creating jobs yourself, you would quickly learn that taking more money from businesses and consumers can only hurt the economy, increase poverty, and decrease jobs. Yet we are about to face the largest tax increase in history, coupled with a health care plan that will drive many employers to quit offering health care altogether while our costs increase.

Government doesn't create wealth, and their increasing efforts to take from one group to give to another only create waste and inefficiency that makes us all worse off. If you aren't worried about what Congress is doing to us, you need to wake up and do the math to understand what is being done to your children and grandchildren. Crushing debt AND crushing taxes: insanity. Or slavery.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

The comment about the upcoming tax increase is not "political nonsense," Senator. The fact that politicians are doing it to us does not make our complaints merely "political" nor our suffering "nonsense." The nonsense is your dismissal of reality. Reality is that taxes are about to go up. A lot. More than ever. The details are in black and white, not a matter of political opinion. Looks at what's about to happen and tell me that you are OK with it. Details are described, with a link to the detailed report from the US Govt., so you can verify each item as factual: http://atr.org/days-thebr-largest-tax-hikes-history-a5370. Enjoy. And thanks again, Senator.

Anonymous said...

Nothing spoiled in this great post!

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”
~Ronald Reagan; October 27, 1964

Anonymous said...

Charging as this person did he will not be in business very long. Not long at all! I do not see a lot of integrity in this man. I sincerely hope he is not trying to feed a family.

Now that you have had this experience will you lower your hourly rate 70%?

Did you check the $2,000 figure?

Paul said...

Well, quite apart from the political discussion, it's wonderful that this craftsman was generous in his sharing of skill and time.

I'm interested that you suggest that this is an act of integrity, however. As if a workman with a higher hourly wage, or a person who didn't have spare parts readily available would have less integrity?

Yes, he was kind. And generous. But I'm not sure I see the integrity connection.

iamse7en said...

Are you calling him Senator as a joke, or does his IP come from Washington?

Lovely story, by the way - and the penultimate paragraph only sweetened it.

If only we could get the LDS community to abandon Romney and embrace the 1st Presidency's guideline to support political candidates "who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers." Elders of this church must rise up to save the constitution. It's a rEVOLution.

Anonymous said...

To me, he (the door repairman) is an example of integrity. That doesn't mean if another repairman had done the job, and not been in position to save you so much, he would have not had integrity. It just means the one who did show up showed his integrity.
While he is to be praised, such integrity should be common place. We should all be treating each other this well.

Javelin said...

Good story. I cannot agree with the idea that voting Republican is going to make our country better. President Obama inherited this mess, and it is ignorant for anyone to think that this economy will be fixed in two years. I like the fact that we are providing medical coverage to more people, and that the TARPS helped make our economy get better instead of worse.

Getting back on topic, being honest is the best way to do business because I will be loyal to the one who saved me money.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

I consider integrity at play here. He kept his word and didn't charge me for the panels. With nothing in writing, I was vulnerable and he could have asked for much more and gotten it, but he didn't show greed. He could have charged me for the time to bring them, for transportation, for carbon credits, for Thompson rods and McPherson bearings, etc., but only charged me for his labor. He could have charged me "professional" hours, too, where it's surprising how many hours can fit into a day. (I've seen the bills from some lawyers, for example, where hours of time were charged for short phone calls and minor bits of work.)

No, I'm not reducing my rates. Why do ask? You can ask our CEO if you want a discount - we often given them and do a lot of free consulting to help inventors (our focus, though, is one larger companies that need serious help, and they usually get a great deal, IMO).

Lady Ozma and Million Pillowcase Kid said...

That is really cool. I like it when you find people like that. I mean here he was, he could have made some fast cash on you, but he chose to 1. be honest and a good person 2. salvage something which saved our landfills 3. did what was best for you and let's face it, people just don't do that anymore.

It's good when you run into that. And promote it. What a great experience1 Thank you for sharing!

Jeff Lindsay: said...

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