Dec 4, 2008

Mrs. Sneed likes to have an amaryllis at Christmas time. This one bloomed way ahead of schedule, but it is a beauty. As I have posted before, there is some difference of opinion around the hardware store as to whether I am an innovator or an imbecile. Imbecile is leading in the early voting. One thing I struggle with is how much I'm allowed to help people with their repair problems, beyond selling them the appropriate product. I've talked to my boss about it and her advice is to "not give away the store". We repair certain things as a matter of business. Windows and screens for instance. We also do things like repair broken handles on yard tools, install new parts like saw blades, cut furnace filters to order. People will sometimes bring in other things that they hope to have fixed. We get a lot of lamps. There is not universal agreement on whether we should work on electric devices, because of liability issues. The boss doesn't seem to mind as long as we charge a nominal fee for our time. I try my best to help people out and it is not uncommon for the boss to catch me in the act of fixing something and ask how much I am charging for a repair. Zero is a bad answer, I've come to find out. Most people don't mind paying something, but many of the customers are elderly and on a fixed income, so I let them slide. On the sly, of course. Yesterday an elderly, rather frail-looking woman came in and asked for an electric plug. We got to discussing her plug-related needs and looking at her options. I asked how big the cord was, that she was trying to put a plug on and she struggled to explain it. Then, she excused herself to go get it from the car. A minute later she was back with a severed cord from what turned out to be a television set. Somehow, the cord to her television had been cut off and she hoped to put a new plug on what was left. She mentioned that the set happened to be in the car if I wanted to see it. Sure enough it was sitting on the back seat. A 27-inch Toshiba. In the passenger seat sat her equally elderly husband, even more frail than she. The set only had about 4 inches of cord left. The chances of this old gal getting a new plug installed without electrocuting herself or burning the house down seemed slim to me. So, I lugged the set into the store and plunked it on the work table, just as the boss walked by. All she said was, "I'm not even going to ask". I installed a new plug, $3.99 and sold her an extension cord, $6.99, so that it could actually be plugged in, and tested it out. It worked great. I lugged the set out to her car and sent her on her way. To my way of thinking, it didn't cost the store anything for me to fix the TV cord because I was already there getting paid anyway. We did forgo the $10 I could have charged her for labor, but I'm guessing she will be back and will tell a half dozen others about her experience. That's my thinking anyway. Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

8 comments:

Megan said...

I like your thinking. I like it a lot.

Kurt said...

Do you count change, too? I miss when people used to count change.

Reya Mellicker said...

You are so good, Merle. Gold stars to you for your generosity.

Now don't worry about the old lady telling a half dozen of her equally old and frail friends. Because, well, you know - getting old and frail includes losing most of your contemporaries.

Good deeds strengthen the soul. Your soul must be a burly dude. Bravo.

Adrianne said...

In our cynical society, it is often said that "no good deed goes unpunished," but I don't subscribe to that negative way of thinking. Not at all. I think, rather, that each good deed does its own world of good. Good deeds are appreciated by those who are the direct recipients, serve as an inspiration for those who learn of the good deed and maybe are inspired to go forth and do likewise, and, as Reya says, strengthen the soul of the doer. Good deeds just put positive energy out there all the way around, and that always is a very good thing. More power to you and your way of thinking, Merle. You make Hooterville and the world a better place.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

I like the way you think merle. the boss would do well to pay attention and take notes!

Nan Patience said...

We have a Christmas cactus that blooms only once a year----in DECEMBER! How does it know to do that? I am always amazed. It's like a miracle.

Squirrel said...

Why don't you open a Fix It shop, Emmett ?(I mean Merle)You remind me of someone ... I can clearly see my dad putting a broken toaster or radio or iron on a counter

(and there is this moment in his body language where you can tell he is eager to see if he can indeed fix it.)

My dad could fix most anything, and he was great at untangling necklace chains and getting splinters out of my fingers and putting mud on my bee stings.

bitchlet said...

Merle, you are a darling.