Customer Service–or Church–Fails, Part III

You’d think that, faced with all the poor customer service I encountered at Sutherlands and Lowes, I might have given up in my quest for the tools that would change my life, but quitting isn’t in my nature. Instead, I pushed ahead to a place that had always seemed pretty decent to me: Northern Tool.

The life-changing item I sought there was a reel for an air hose. Are you tired of have a tangle of air hose around your compressor? Are you sick of having to return your hose after inflating tires or using tools? (Envision black-and-white footage of people struggling with hoses.) Then you need the Klutch Auto Rewind Air Hose Reel! Call soon and we’ll double the offer!

Okay, there was no cheesy infomercial, but the very item I had longed for since January was on sale. With full confidence that my experience would be far better than at my previous two stops, I stepped into the store and grabbed the box.

But then I paused to wonder. How will I connect the compressor to the reel? I found a short hose that would bridge that gap, but then I paused to wonder some more. Did this hose have the right sort of connection?

One of the benefits of shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store is that you can ask the knowledgeable employees questions. So I asked a guy who seemed to be somewhat in charge. I’ll call him Nate. “Is this hose what I’ll need to connect from my compressor to the reel?”

His face let me know that my question was irritating and unwanted. “You have to know how far it is,” he groaned, not at all answering my question. He had important manager stuff to do.

“No, I’m wondering what sort of connector the reel takes. The picture shows–” I continued before Nate cut me off.

“It’ll work,” he blurted. He didn’t add the word “idiot,” but it was clearly implied. He really never looked at what I had in hand.

I tried to show him the photo on the box, but he had no interest in that. That’s when I decided to go ahead and buy the thing.

Would you be surprised to know that the hose I bought turned out not to fit? So Nate of the North not only treated me as a an annoyance, he gave me wrong information. I made a point of going somewhere else to snag the adapter I needed to make the whole thing fit.

Have you ever been in a church where people treated you like an annoyance, where the attitude, spoken or unspoken, told you that people wished you’d at least shut up and preferably go away? As I write this, I realize that I might have given that vibe to somebody in my church. He is annoying, but I’m sure that I am from time to time.

If a church is going to be better than Amazon, then it has to treat its people, whether they are long-time irritants or clueless newbies, as the valued creatures that God sees in them. How much does he value the irritant? Think of Romans 5:8:

 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.