What About This? By Wayne William Cipriano

Recently, I was talking about how some products just don’t last, and others seem to go on forever – like that orange shag rug in the spare room. For the most part, we have come to expect stuff to break and/or wear out quickly and so, unlike our parents, even when we can afford the top-of-the-line products, we hesitate to buy them, settling for the cheaper lines and models wishing to avoid the slap in the face that comes with the “best” and expensive models becoming useless way before we expected them to go bad.

This seemed to start well over half a century ago when cheap trinkets came to us from overseas and phrases like “Made in Japan” were code for “Junk.” Then, little by little, those trinkets and then more sophisticated goods were produced faster and with higher quality than those of older, more established manufacturing environments, and “Made in Japan” and similar labeling became code for “Quality.”

Today, it is not just products that suffer our disinclination to buy. Service is also something that has slipped away from us, and has so often faced us with an unsolvable problem – repair or buy new? I have seen many formula purporting to suggest a method to answer that question using some percentage of the new price compared to the price to repair measured against our belief in the repair person’s competency and advice. And it’s not working out that well for a lot of us. It is getting to the point that when someone who is hired by us to do a specific thing, does that thing on time, for the price quoted, and with skill, we are not just happy to pay them, we want to adopt them!

That has happened to us several times and we like to spread the news at how well we were treated. Often, those we tell have had the exact same experience. Tidwell Tree Service, Rogers Appliance Repair, Jack’s Auto Repair, East Side Body Shop are all local businesses that went far beyond just a good job and showed the sort of craftsmanship that was once the hallmark of all local businesses across the country when reputation was the big thing and all jobs got done at least very well.

Another local business you might want to try is Jim’s Body Shop (but don’t go looking for Jim as I did.) The quality of the work and the attitude of the people there is just plain “old fashioned” in every positive sense of the phrase. Just like those other local businesses I mentioned, we were treated way beyond well, and just like those other business, you can check them out and discover if my evaluation of them is correct.

Yes, I know every business has a few problems that made a customer less than happy, and I’m sure the ones I listed have those as well. But I’m pretty sure all of the ones I noted did what they could to fix those problems, not turn away from dissatisfied customers.

When I encounter quality in business, I may go a little overboard in my praise, but I try to control myself. It’s just that as I grow older I see less and less of the quality in business that I remember from my younger days, and when that quality shows itself, I feel a duty to notice the extra work involved, the pride of craftsmanship that for some reason we just do not see a lot of anymore. And I guess I think that if we don’t show our appreciation, it will disappear.

You know, maybe that’s wrong. Maybe these folks do a really good job, regardless of whether we take note or not. Maybe they are responding to a “quality drive” within them that has very little to do with whether we notice it or not. Maybe they are good, even excellent, at what they do because they just can’t be anything else.

Makes you wonder if you are that sort of person, doesn’t it?