Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Scene In Which Customer Service Isn't Dead

I'm so tickled by what just occured that I had to blog about it!

Several years ago, when I bought my historic condo (I know, sounds weird, but trust me on this - it's a condo, and it was built in 1890), I knew it was going to need a little upgrading.

What I didn't expect was that in the first six months of ownership, I was going to get this phone call:

*ring ring*
Me: Hello?
BHS: Ma'am, this is Brinks Home Security, your motion detector is going off.
Me: Crap. I'm at work.
BHS: The police are on their way.

And that when I got to my house this would happen:

*unlocks door*
First IMPD: Stay here, ma'am......OH SHIT.
Second IMPD: What?....OH MAN.
First IMPD: Well, you can see what caused the alarm....
Me: (in a style reminiscent of Ralphie's "A Christmas Story" moment): Oh FUUUUUUUUUDDDDDDDGGEEEE....... except I didn't say fudge

To make a long story short, my second floor combo AC/Furnace unit had given out and leaked. And the water had run through the wall and collected in the ceiling. And the ceiling had fallen down.


After we got that cleaned up, dried out, and otherwise fixed up I had the good fortune to make an amazing decision. I called King of Comfort Heating & AC ( to give me a quote on a new unit.

As it happened, they gave me the best price, and Mark (the owner) became my new furnace/AC guy. Since then, his company has faithfully called me every 6 months for the service that is part of the purchase package. Mark comes out and checks all the appliances and changes all my filters for me and generally keeps things running - and not just the AC. I'm singlehandedly crediting Mark and his suggestion to run a vinegar wash through the very, very old dishwasher once a month as having kept it running as long as it has- otherwise it would have been dead two years ago.

This winter, my furnace made an ugly sound when we first turned it on. Mark was there that day to change out a part. When the part wasn't enough to combat 20+ years of running (my downstairs furnace was installed in 1987!) he came out and installed a new one - in an unfinished, uninsulated basement on one of the coldest nights of the fall (YES NIGHTS, he had a full day of other appointments and installed mine at 8 PM) just so I didn't have to go a night without heat downstairs.

This spring, Mark's been calling me, and I haven't had a chance to call him back in the last week or two. See, now that the ground is thawed, he's got to run a line from my new furnace to the old AC unit so I can have AC downstairs. Since the house is pretty cool, I haven't been too on top of this.

Until tonight. When my doorbell rang at 8 PM. And Mark was standing on my porch.

See, he'd been working late at someone else's house nearby and thought of me as he was driving home past the condo. He remembered that he hadn't heard from me about hooking up the AC, and he was worried about me- not just for getting the AC hooked up, but because he knew it was really unlike me not to return a call. So he pulled over, came up, and rang the doorbell just to say hello, and see if he couldn't set up a time for me this week to come out and allow him to finish fixing up my AC? And by the way, how was the flower business going and did I find a space yet and how was that new furnace working out for me, did I notice the reduction in my heating bills this winter?

And THAT is why I still have faith in people, and faith in small business.

Because that? That is a rare story, my friends. And it should be recognized and celebrated.

Now, because I'm a cynic enough to be skeptical about other people who write "OMG AMAZING PRODUCT" blogs, I'm going to add this: Mark has no idea I'm writing this. And he definitely isn't giving me anything free in return (though a new filter would be nice.) This is just me, simply awed by the kindness and sincere service of another human being. And thinking that we should all try to be a little bit more like Mark.

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