Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I’m at that point in my life when I realize that some of my perceptions may be skewed by my age. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason: they reflect aspects of reality. So the image of the older person mumbling “I don’t understand young people today! Why, back in my day…”

Ah, the power of that “dot dot dot”. Back in my day, a lot of things were different than they are today. I’ve been trying to figure out what the major difference is—could those differences really be nothing more than my own perceptions, or are they real?

That’s a serious question, because one of the things that’s not as sharp as it once was, is my memory. I’ve unloaded a lot of stuff from my mental main frame. Some of that unloading was deliberate. It made no sense to me to hang onto memories that left me stinging. It’s truly a waste of time reliving hurtful moments, when they are over and done with and there is nothing that can ever be done to change them. Except, of course, taking away their power to hurt me over and over again by getting rid of them.

So I want to ask y’all, is it just my perception that people don’t seem to care anymore about the quality of the work they do for the wages they’re paid?

My daughter has a continuous hassle with her employer. They keep making mistakes on her pay check. Aside from putting in a full day seeing clients, she is also “on call” nearly every day from about 5:30 am to 9 am—one of the places she goes in the community is a long term care facility for the aged. Inevitably co-workers will call in sick on any given day. Whether she fills in for others or not, the on-call is a bonus that she’s to be paid on every pay check. There is also a mileage bonus, because she is a PSW (Personal Support Worker in Canada, Nurses’ Aide in the U. S.) in the community and must use her vehicle to get from client to client. On a regular basis, one or both of these are missing from her pay, because the one person who’s in charge of forwarding the payroll information to head office repeatedly forgets to include them.

When I worked in payroll, if you screwed up a person’s pay, you made it right on pay day with a check. That was people’s rent, and their groceries, and shoes for their children. They counted on that money and if I screwed it up, I was expected to make it right.

The reaction my daughter gets is a shrug, and “oh well”, and she has to wait until the next pay day to get what they missed on the last pay day—oh, and yes, that makes that week’s tax deductions higher which of course, they say, will all balance out, eventually, at tax time in the spring…

Y’all recall the fiasco of my television repair a couple of years ago? I forget how long we fought for that (I let most of that stuff go, see above). Now we’ve had a similar experience with that new furnace/AC unit we got last winter.

When they installed it all in December, they discovered they brought the wrong breaker for the power box for the air conditioner. The furnace was good to go, and has done a wonderful job keeping us warm for less money, just as advertised. The installers said they would be back the next day, two at most, with the right part, to finish the installation of the Central Air unit.
They didn’t come back. Not that week, not the next…

I called in February and the person to whom I spoke was SHOCKED that no one had gotten back to me. She put me on hold and then came back on the line, and assured me the service manager himself was going to order that part today. It would either come here, or there, at the office. If we received the part, I was to call immediately and they would send someone out to install it…

On April 19th I called and relayed the activity to date with regard to that missing part that had never shown up. They promised to send someone out on April 21. They did. That gentleman went downstairs and took pictures of the panel, so that the office would know what part to order. He assured me the service manager (and here he actually gave me the man’s name) would be in contact with me. I informed him at the time that the next week we were going out of the country for a few days. “Oh, don’t worry,” said that service man. “He’ll contact you tomorrow, the next day at the latest” …

When we returned from Vegas, I checked my phone messages, and nada. So I called them immediately, and they apologized, and promised to send someone out Monday May 9, between 8 and 11; at 11:10 I called because no one had shown up or called, they apologized, said the service team was running behind, but someone would be there shortly. However, ten minutes later when I checked my e-mail I found a confirmation of my appointment in a new time window: 8 am to 5 pm (this was just after noon hour).

I got a call an hour later from the service manager himself, apologizing and promising to be out next day (Tuesday May 10th) between 2 and 4 pm…

This story has a happy ending. After no shows and no calls to me on Tuesday, and my calls and their assurances on Wednesday for Thursday with again, a no show, the technicians finally arrived…on Friday, May 13th.

Note the date. It’s always been a relatively lucky one for me. And yes, the a/c is in working order. Now, if only the weather would co-operate so I could enjoy it.


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