Once upon a time, The Letterista embarked upon a journey to purchase a new chariot in the fine settlement of Denver, Colorado. Armed with knowledge of the value range of the carriage in mind and the supposed value of the old one to be offered as part of the bargain, she approached Ye Olde Chariotte Shoppe wherefrom she had purchased her aging coach.
Meandering about Ye Olde Chariotte Shoppe were several young lads and lasses with brooches of plastic displaying their names. As they whispered amongst themselves and drew straws to determine who would have the good fortune to broker the King’s wares to the damsel on their doorstep, out of a dark recess lunged an older, Italian-flavored chevalier making a bee-line towards The Letterista, fairly heaving his younger companions out of his path.
Upon arrival at this damsel’s toes, bearing a broad and crooked grin, this older gent bent low, seized the damsel’s hand and planted an adoring kiss upon its back. As the damsel blotted the slickened appendage upon her lovely gown, the eager fellow introduced himself as the Captain of the troupe at hand. He assured the damsel that her felicity was his rapture and his dying pledge.
Although the damsel had spied certain other yeomen and yeowomen of more pleasant countenance, she conceived herself captive to this insistent knight. Perhaps his chivalry would suffice, she surmised, fanning his pungent breath away from her own visage.
Yet, the damsel’s confidence proved to be amiss.
The gentleman proposed several worthy chariots for the damsel’s inspection. Forthwith, the damsel made her selection and proffered a certain quantity of dubloons for the fine carriage, an amount lower than the King’s solicitation which even the most base of peons reckons to be usurious.
In retort, the King’s ambassador assured the damsel that the coveted chariot could not be disposed of for a quid less than the King’s established fare. The damsel knitted her delicate brow at such a turn of events. Anon, she requested a fair appraisal of the coach she wished to relinquish in favor of the new.
Upon inspection of the fine but maturing conveyance, the swain avouched the value of the coach to be very nearly twopence, at which the damsel could no longer contain her disappointment. She courteously requested the assistance of his own commander, having become afflicted by the Captain’s growing distemper, so insistent was he that this damsel forfeit a consummate fortune for his King’s chattel. With imperious contempt, the knave assured this damsel that he occupied the highest of the ranks on the premises at that moment.
With this enlightenment, the damsel graciously curtsied and murmured regrets at having darkened his kingdom’s drawbridge and commenced mincing her way to her faithful coach to be carried to another, more hospitable kingdom of chariot exchanges.
As the rapscallion diminished from view, he was seen shaking his impudent fist and bellowing behind this damsel, “I thought you were going to be nice!”
Nice: 1250-1300; Middle English: foolish, stupid < Old French: silly, simple <Latin nescius ignorant, incapable, equivalent to ne- negative prefix + sci-(stem of scīre to know; see science ) + -us adj. suffix (Dictionary.com)
He thought The Letterista would be nice. This stuck with the Letterista like egg yolk on house paint. Clearly, he meant to rebuke The Letterista, but for what? For not being his fool; for having a bit more understanding of auto sales than he supposed a female should have; for denying him an easy and extravagant commission by which to replenish his stash of happy dust, perhaps. Were The Letterista and said scoundrel been bargaining in medieval England, his use of the term would have been spot on. However, by the 20th century, “nice” became a much nicer word. Yet, maybe it still retains a nuance of its original definition.
Are You Nice?
When a customer rates your A+ company badly because they thought you would be “nicer” than they say you were, are they not subtly exposing that their intention in selecting your company was to set you up for something a bit nefarious, but you refused to take the bait?
Oh, how familiar are these reproaches to us. A plumber in Denver, rated A+ by the BBB (see the complaint here), received such a complaint which caught The Letterista’s eye. What is so interesting is that to achieve and maintain an A+ rating, no business can possess a “personality” of losing their cool with customers. Soon, that A+ would become a C or less. Discourtesy is not in their business nature. So, it is completely reasonable to presume that this plumbing company probably behaved graciously as a matter of course. But on to a summary of the accusation.
The customer owed the plumber a trip fee. In so far as she owed the service fee for the plumber to travel a substantial distance to make an assessment and provide an estimate, no other contract had been finalized, so the only relief the customer could seek was to be forgiven the very small debt.
The complaint centers on the customer’s supposed perception that the plumber had “become irate” on the phone and provided atrocious customer service. It appears that the customer was contemplating buying a house southeast of Denver, quite a few miles from the plumber’s headquarters. She had already received a plumbing inspection from another reputable company, and said inspection had found serious problems in the sewer connection from the house to the main line. She hired the plumber to do another inspection and provide an estimate for repairs for the initial trip fee expenditure of $45. She requested a timely estimate, but set no specific date. She allegedly sent a link by which the plumber could view a video, made by the first inspecting company, of the problem.
The plumber’s response indicates that the customer began to pester him for immediate action, although he was able to schedule his inspection within a couple of days of her call. In the meantime, he apparently assured the customer that his dealings with the first inspecting company had proven to him their competence, so his opinion was that if they had found a serious problem, then a serious problem existed, and he gave her a verbal estimate for repairs in advance of his trip to the site.
Apparently, this was not the correct answer. According to the plumber, the customer wanted the problem to merely be a leaking basement toilet. But such was not the case, and the plumber could not make her hopes fit the reality. He made his own inspection in due time. At some point, he retrieved the video which confirmed the opinion of the first inspectors and his own. This, it appears, sparked some pretty nasty abuse from the customer until the plumber allowed as to how he was no longer interested in doing business with the customer. All he wanted at that point was to be paid for the lengthy trip to the site.
A curious thing, this complaint. Having two reputable professionals expressing the seriousness of the sewer issue would prompt most reasonable people to either insist the seller make repairs prior to closing, offer the seller a discounted price for the property to allow for the needed repairs or to back out of the deal altogether. But not this customer. For some unexplained reason, she wanted the house and no repairs, either, it seems. When she couldn’t browbeat the plumber into admitting that there was nothing more serious than a leaking toilet going on with the property, she essentially shook her fist and proclaimed him not to be nice.
So, what do you think was her real intent? We’d love to hear your take on it.
Our take is that maybe this was a bank-owned property, and banks are famous for selling repossessed properties “as is,” with no negotiations to account for needful repairs. If this was the case, and shelling out for the sewer repair would have been economically foolish for any buyer, might a dishonest person imagine a scheme to acquire the cake and devour it, too, at some unfortunate “nice” person’s expense? Do you suppose this customer had wished that a “nice” plumber would commit to writing an assessment that the only plumbing problem was a leaky toilet then, after purchasing the house and suffering a catastrophic sewage flood, she could then sue the plumber for all the damage and the permanent sewer repairs? We’re just speculating here. But why try to ruin a demonstrably good company’s reputation for no other reason than you desired a different assessment? It seems a bitter revenge, does it not?
We would love to hear how you protected your reputation by not being very nice. Feel free to contact us with your interesting story. We would love to feature it in an upcoming post.