I recently ordered new countertops for my house. When I had my kitchen remodeled in the early aughts I had a very constrained budget so a tile counter made a lot of sense. The person who installed it did a beautiful job, but over time I got tired of trying to keep the grout lines clean, especially one the between the counter and sink. In addition, I discovered that apparently I’m not qualified to own an enamel sink because over the years I managed to drop multiple things into it and chip it up very badly, so it was time for a new, non-enamel sink.
I shopped around for a while, weighing the advantages of quartz and solid surface. Granite was a non-starter for me because I have never liked granite counters. Eventually I decided on solid surface, partly because of my butterfingered ways … I had already chipped enough mugs, bowls, and plates on the tile and didn’t want to wreck more on quartz.
I went to the home improvement store, selected my countertop color, paid my money, and waited for the installation company to call me. I needed two appointments – one to measure and template, and the second to install.
The templating appointment went fine. I had decided to do my own demolition, because I didn’t want them wrecking my backsplash, which I love. The installer was very helpful, explaining how the cabinets should be prepped for the installation and coming up with a way to integrate the new counter with the old backsplash.
I also decided to do my own plumbing, reasoning that if I can connect hydraulic lines that are subject to 3000 psi and have no leaks, I’m pretty sure I can successfully hook up a kitchen faucet and drain, thereby saving myself a few hundred bucks and the hassle of having to schedule yet another home appointment.
We had one appointment time set up, but about a week out, the company called to say they needed to push it back another week because of another job that was going to take the whole day on the day I had scheduled. No problem – I hadn’t done much of the demolition yet and was OK with having more time. So, after some back and forth, mostly centered around my difficulty doing anything before noon on a work day, we finally agreed upon a time.
As the day approached, the pressure to do the demo increased. At the same time, I was mindful that once the counters and sink were taken out, I would be living in a primitive situation until the new ones were installed. So, I timed it so that I would complete the demo on my last “weekend” day before my work week started. The installation was supposed to happen on the second day of my work week. So, I would have to suck it up and be kitchen-less for one and a half days. Not too bad.
The morning of the big day, I came home from work, turned on my phone ringer so I wouldn’t risk missing the installer’s “on my way” call if I happened to oversleep. I set three alarms and settled in to sleep.
About 4 hours later, the phone rang. Not knowing what time it was, and thinking this was the installer, I answered the phone. No, it wasn’t the installer – it was the counter company representative, calling to tell me that they miscut the edge and wouldn’t be able to install that day.
Wha??? Keep in mind, I was half asleep. Calling me at 10 AM is like calling a person on a day schedule at 3 AM. I had been woken up out of a sound sleep. Nevertheless, I had the presence of mind to be really pissed. Which I expressed. I had to go out of town a few days after the appointment was supposed to happen, which meant it wouldn’t be able to happen for another two weeks, during which I would be kitchen-less, and the person taking care of my pets would be kitchen-less. Not OK!
So, what’s the point of this story? The representative kept insisting that “no one meant to make this mistake.” Well, duh – of course no one meant to screw up. (I hope. I mean, I hope they’re not malicious.) Nevertheless, they did screw up. Which tells me that while maybe the mistake wasn’t deliberate, neither was the effort to do the job correctly.
It was really pretty simple – ask the customer what they want, put that information into the drawing, do the job from the drawing. I saw the drawing because the installer left a copy with me, and the edge was called out correctly on the drawing. So, out of two of the three steps that needed to be done correctly, the first two were done correctly: I accurately told the installer what I wanted, and then the installer recorded it accurately. Somehow the fabricators didn’t follow the instructions.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but it seems as if this response happens more these days. As if … there’s a lack of accountability, and an inability to say “yes, I made a mistake and I’m sorry.” Instead it’s “well, I guess I kind of made a mistake, but I didn’t mean to, so really, you have no right to be angry with me.”
When I respond that perhaps they didn’t intentionally screw up, but they also, clearly, didn’t intentionally NOT screw up, they act like I just ran over their puppy while tossing their kitten into a muddy river. As if I’m the one who’s in the wrong for noticing their error instead of their being wrong for making it. There was a time when I might have tried to appease them and make everything nice, but now I realize their response is their problem and I hold firm. There are some advantages to getting older and one is the reduced number of fucks about the opinions of others.
The upshot was that the counters are finally supposed to go in tomorrow. I asked them for financial compensation for all the aggravation but they are hedging until the job is complete. I guess I’ll have to hedge on signing off until I’m happy with the arrangement. Wish me luck!