Something really unusual happened to me this morning. In fact, it was so unusual that I felt a little weird. But in order to get the full effect, it’s probably best that I tell you the back story. So here goes… Several weeks ago, Janet and I had the opportunity to add some dishes to a collection of china we use each winter. You see, starting each Thanksgiving and up until spring, we use a specific pattern of coffee mugs and plates that are no longer being manufactured. I know that it sounds a little strange, but for us, it’s a winter ritual that we have followed for years.
Anyway, we had a limited opportunity to add to the collection – and that’s rather difficult to do. We have the plates, mugs, salad plates and a few other pieces, but we were finally able to locate small bowls as well as several serving pieces. We ordered everything and waited for the two boxes of china to arrive late last week. I was debating about leaving everything boxed as a present for Janet’s Christmas, but we finally thought better of it and yesterday I opened the boxes and unwrapped all the pieces.
Most of the china was perfect but the largest addition to the collection was broken into three pieces. How disappointing. After all this time and finally finding just the right piece, it arrived broken. I was more than a little disheartened and had the presence of mind to take a photo with my phone camera to make sure I could validate the broken piece of china. In fact, that’s one reason I hate ordering stuff on the internet – especially if it’s breakable. It’s just such a pain to re-wrap everything and then go through the process of taking it back to the post office or shipping company drop-off. And then what if they don’t credit your account or if they make you jump through all these unreasonable hoops? People just don’t make it easy to do business like they used to.
So I started to read the procedure to make a claim about damaged goods. For starters, you have to keep all the packing materials of all boxes received, call for authorization and then get a return authorization number, etc. There are labels and all the stuff you must affix to the return boxes to make the claim. I was pretty annoyed with the whole process. I called to get the authorization number and got a recorded call – they’re not open on Sundays. So I left a message and waited this morning to receive a call.
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I got impatient and doubted the company would return my call so mid morning I dialed the company again. I got right through to a customer service person who promptly identified me from my earlier message, apologized for the problem and asked what she could do to help. Somewhat sheepishly, I told her that as much as we wanted the bowl, I was frustrated with the whole experience. She promptly said that they would be pleased to ship me another large serving bowl – they still had one left – and it would be shipped out in time to arrive for Christmas. I couldn’t believe it! She told me to dispose of the broken bowl and get rid of all the packing. It wouldn’t be necessary for me to be inconvenienced by having to ship anything back. I told her that I had a photo of the damage and asked where I should email it. She told me not to bother – if I told her it was broken, that was good enough for them. In other words, they trusted my word. I was dumbfounded.
I can’t remember the last time that a situation like this happened to me. That somebody actually believed what I said – and didn’t want proof. In fact, Helena, the customer service person, hoped that we would use the new piece for Christmas dinner. Outstanding service. At first, I didn’t know how to respond. If I threw out the packaging or didn’t have proof of the phone call, I didn’t have a leg to stand on. But within 10 minutes, I received confirmation of the new order being entered. Something that I was dreading became an incredibly positive experience. And I will continue to use the company – with service like this, how could I go anywhere else?
The verse for this evening is from the Gospel of Matthew. It has to do with people having their word men something. We are told, in Matt. 5:33-37, “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’and your ‘No,’‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to treat one another with kindness and Helena demonstrated that very attribute today. My prayer is that you will give people the benefit of the doubt and help make their lives a little easier. Because you never know when you may give someone a great big surprise – like I received. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…