Today, A Man’s Word is… Ballpark

When I was younger, the one thing a person held most sacred was their word. A promise was a promise and if a person discovered they could not meet the expectations, they would apologize and go the extra mile to make up for the failing. To err was human, and all that.

Today, it doesn’t seem to mean much. Heck, in today’s world it seems a binding contract isn’t much either.

We hired a contractor to build a shed at our place and he said it would take four days. It has been six months and it is still not finished. The usual excuses are the truck broke down, something came up, or the dog ate the homework have all been called into use.

We contracted another to have a heating/cooling system installed and the contractor said it would take two weeks and we would be enjoying a nice cool summer. And, yes, it only took the ten days but he stretched it out over twelve weeks and it was not a very cool summer after all what with the house being ripped open to the elements and the bugs for the three months of summer.

Another contractor told us it would take four days to paint the house. After three weeks, and only half the job being down, we fired him.

Then we hired another contractor to remodel a room and I stressed to him that it had to be done in one week. He said, “no problem”. After four days of good progress, they disappeared.

I know life is hard and these guys have more than one job they’re working on. I don’t have a problem with bungled scheduling and the like.

What I dislike is their disappearing for days on end without calling to say what’s going on. And the worst part is they will not even return my calls until they decide they are ready to come back and work another day, like when it can somehow fit into their schedule.

And then it’s “hey, man, I’m so sorry but [ – insert lame excuse of your choice – ] and we’ll be right over to get back on it”.

But the picture is not as bleak as I paint it because there are still people who believe in their word. And I’m not talking about the repair-person who says they’ll be there between 10 am and 7 pm or such nonsense…

We have a couple of people who said they would be there like Thursday at 10am and called the day before to say they would not be there until noon.

I don’t mind that sort of thing at all. But if they had called again at, say, ten minutes to noon to say they weren’t going to show up until next Tuesday, I would have gotten upset because I have to take off work to meet these people and let them in the house. Yes, believe it not, I too have to work for a living and my company would not like me calling in repeatedly over appointments that are delayed again and again.

Communication helps tremendously and oils the wheels marvelously when life throws dirt on the axles.

Unfortunately, the dirt is usually the mud that their word has become.

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