The Business November 2021

Now it’s Personal

By Lyle Hill

It was a minor annoyance to me when a careless driver leaving a vape store ran into me on my way home from church a few months ago. My daughter Amy is my insurance agent. She is incredibly efficient so the processing of my claim went well. The body shop where I was referred, on the other hand, was backed up due to a lack of employees so I had to drive the banged-up car around for three weeks before I could bring it in. When I finally did, the loaner I was supposed to get wasn’t ready … the rental car place the body shop used was out of cars. Ultimately, I did get a loaner that smelled of smoke and other unknown objects and generally needed a good cleaning, but at least I had a car. The repair job I was told would take a week took over three, but the job was done well. Overall I was okay with the process. Yes, it all took a little longer than it should or perhaps normally would, but these are unusual times and I think we all need to be a bit understanding and a little more patient these days. We shouldn’t take these things personally.

A few days after I got my car back from the body shop, the radio in my other car stopped working. I thought maybe it was a fuse issue, but when a new fuse had no impact, I decided to take it to my local dealer to have it checked out. I was due for an oil change and tire rotation any way so why not have it looked at while the car was there? They took a look and told me it needed to be replaced. I told them to do so, but they quickly explained that due to parts shortages and labor back-ups, they would be unable to tell me when the
new radio would come in or how soon they could do the work once it did. I told them to order the new radio and let me know when it arrived. After all, it was only a radio, and as previously stated, we all have to be patient and understanding these days. These things shouldn’t be taken personally.

A few days later, the company that services my furnace every fall and spring called to inform me that they were not going to be able to commit to a timeframe for my semi-annual inspection because of a worker shortage. They would “get to me when they could.” My furnace seems to be running well so being a patient and understanding person, I told them to do the best they could. I was not going to take this personally.

The following week I had a doctor’s appointment, which included lab work. An appointment was made for me at the lab and I went there to get the blood draw needed for my doctor. I have been using this lab for seven years now. They are always quick as long as you have an appointment. The whole thing usually takes about 15 minutes. But this time, I was there for over an hour. They actually had a sign on their door asking their customers to be patient and understanding of any delays because they were very short-handed at the present time. I understood their situation. Nothing to be personally bothered about.

Several relatives and friends have complained to me recently about their frustrations with getting certain products or services in a timely manner. Others have told me about businesses that are now working reduced hours or closed all together because of material and/or labor shortages. I have been quick to tell these people to be patient, and not take it personally.

Last week my refrigerator stopped working. I checked the things I could check but finally called the service center. My unit is still under warranty. I originally was told a technician would come out in three days to try to identify the problem. The very next day they called back and told me the soonest they could get someone to me was four weeks!

“Are you kidding me?” I asked. “What are we supposed to do without a refrigerator for four weeks?” I was then informed that, depending on what parts may be needed to actually do a repair, it might take another month to get my unit back in service. And on top of this, I had to give them $150 for the service call which may or may not be refundable depending on what the tech finds when they check the unit. Several calls to other potential suppliers or repair people proved worthless. I was told by one that four weeks to get a tech out was actually pretty good these days. We’re stuck. I have now borrowed two small refrigerators from my son Patrick … for some unknown reason he actually has three of them. I’m quite bothered by all of this. This is craziness and I am terribly upset. And, now … it’s personal!

Lyle Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. He also serves as president of Glass.com, an information portal and job generation company for the glass industry. Hill has more than 40 years’ experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at lhill@glass.com.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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