Thursday, September 2, 2010

You know what they say about assuming?

Every time I catch myself typing 'assume', I hear the voice of an office manager I worked beside years ago. She was fond of muttering under her breath about our boss and clueless customers. If I had a dime for everytime I heard "When you assume it makes an ass out of you and me", I'd be on a beach with an umbrella drink waiting for my massage instead of sitting at my computer.

There are times in life where you have to be confident that you're doing the right thing. That you know what you're doing. That you've sent your submissiom to the right email address with the right information included and in the right format. But it also pays to tone down the assume level with a smidge of paranoia that makes you double check so you don't make an ass out of yourself.

In the past week I've had two prime examples. One made me laugh (an annoyed laugh, but a laugh nevertheless). The other made my blood pressure shoot through the shingles first thing in the morning.

When I opened up my work email to gather my online orders, I came across this gem: The customer orders an item. The size and specifications for the item are clearly listed on the order. The customer leaves a note at the bottom that states: I see this item is for (my particular vehicle) up to the 2006 model year. My current item is this size (lists entirely different size) and is a 2008. "I assume that because the item is listed as (my particular vehicle make), it will fit."

Serious head desk moment for me here. I thought this guy won the assumption of the year trophy for his blatant disgregard for logic.

But no. The next morning, he lost his day old title.

I wake to hear heavy equipment on the road outside. Annoyed, I peek out the window to see what neighbor was getting a tree removed or something. My eyebrows rise as I recognized one of our customer's trucks. They rise further when I realize there are also two dumptrucks and a huge flatbed with a bulldozer. Grabbing my clothes, I mutter, "What the hell is going on?"

A quick dash down the stairs later, I snatch the phone off the wall and dial my husband at work. "Did you schedule the lawnwork we'd talked about four months ago and never go a quote on from (our customer)."

"Uh, no. Why?"

"He's here. With trucks. I think they're ripping up the back yard already." I peek out the window. Sure enough, the efficient crew is hard at work within five minutes off the truck.

"He never even gave me a quote!" My husband sounds nearly as flustered as I am. "I noticed he left me a message this morning, but I was in a meeting until a few minutes ago. We weren't going to do anything with the yard if we couldn't trade a job and he never got back to me."

"Well he's here now. I think. There's two guys here anyway. I guess see if he's one of them and find out what is going on."

Turns out the boss isn't there, so I speak to a now thoroughly embarrased and confused employee. He calls the boss. The boss claims he had the ok to do the job. Perhaps, he suggests, I should call the boss. He gives me the number.

Paranoid as I am, and with the office manager's voice chanting in my head, I call my husband again to verify that there was no schedule or quote before confronting the boss.

The boss doesn't like me anyway because, you know, I'm inadequate because a woman. Yeah, he's that kind of guy. This means I don't have to pretend to be nice because this dislike thing has become mutual. If I'm the bad guy questioning the job, the men get to remain good with one another. I don't mind being the bad guy.

Nope, there was never any contact other than the intitial interest in getting a quote on the possible job trade. I call the boss.

"So, your guys are here ripping up my lawn. How much is this going to cost and what exactly are they even doing, because we never even got that information from you."

"I gave your husband a quote. He said it sounded good and to schedule the job. Now seemed like a good time, before the leaves started to fall."

"He never got a quote from you. We didn't know you were coming. Your guys have ripped up my underground robotic lawnmower wiring because I didn't get any notice to move it."

"I guess I should have called yesterday."

One day's notice would have beat none, but really? What if we had been on vacation or something? It's not like he waited to hear back from us, they just showed up and started working. Jeez! I give him a nice long, dead silence.

He starts to sound a little worried. "I have the numbers here somewhere. I thought I gave them to your husband. Maybe I didn't."

"You didn't."

"We'll make it an even trade. Don't worry about it."

Worry about it? You just ripped up my lawn without warning, without any estimated cost, and without any sort of approved plan. I'm not worried. I'm pissed off.

But, he's a customer. A big assuming customer. There's a limit to how much of a raging witch I can be and still keep his business. I grit my teeth.

"Since you've already ripped up my grass and tore up my underground wiring, you might as well go ahead with the rest of it."

At which point he apologized profusely, and I handed him the assumption trophy.

I don't even want to see what assuming wonders this next week might bring. Hopefully none of them will be mine.


  1. LOL seriously! And a robotic lawnmowing system sounds like something that's too awesome for words. Does it use lasers?

  2. It is awesome. He even makes some triumphant music when he heads off to work. No lasers though. Well, honestly, it WAS awesome. Robby stopped working last summer. He needs his brain tweaked. I think he got some water in his electronic bits. Stupid leak in the roof of our shed. :( However, I do plan on getting him fixed one of these days, or getting a new one when we can afford it - which is why I was so ticked about the wiring getting ripped up.

  3. Oh wow! How much did that end up costing? What a mess!

  4. A bottle of carpet cleaner for my dog's now perpetually dirt covered paws, a handful of throat lozenges for all the times I have to yell at the dog and kids to stay out of the dirt and around $900 - we still don't have a final cost even though the job is now done.


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