Monday, November 17, 2008

Forget Diplomacy

I inherited a tendency to avoid conflict at all costs from my mother. So when I chose to study diplomacy via International Relations in college, it was a tad ironic. Diplomacy involves lots of back-and-forth. Diplomats also try not to use threats because it stalls the process.

I suppose that I can mark the start of my journey away from conflict avoidance with my entry into high school basketball. Someone would clock me in the head or knock me to the floor and I would fight back by playing harder. Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "Ooooh, she's so tough! She played harder!" But you must realize that it was a big step for me.

Flash forward to last week. Our water heater's life ended with an epic failure. It was way past its prime; still, what did we do to deserve the flood? We shut off the water to the unit. More water. We shut off the water to the house. More water. It was frightening to see how fast it poured out and we could do NOTHING to stop it.

I called our home warranty company and explained to them just how major our situation was. Their question, "Is there property damage?" Yes!!! Our carpet is swimming! Please help! It was eight o'clock at night. They promised to get a contractor out to the house. Two hours later I called back. "Oh, no one has contacted you yet?" No!!! We are still bailing out our basement WITH BUCKETS! Please help! Two hours later I called again. "We will try to get a third contractor on your claim." Gee, thanks. I wondered just what I would have to say to convince them that our situation was an EMERGENCY!!! I was tempted to take a drink of water and gurgle into the phone, "We're drowning!" We waited, all night, for them to call us back.

In the meantime, we had to set our alarm clock for every forty five minutes. The husband and I took turns getting up, emptying the bucket, and sucking the water off the hard floor and out of the carpet. It was like having a newborn again. Frequent nighttime wakings, out-of-control liquid emissions. We were exhausted.

The next morning I took my urchins to the bus. When I arrived home, I plunked down with the phone and was determined not to get up again until I had results. Here is my conversation, once the agent on the line knew of my situation:

"I really don't know how I can emphasize to you how desperate our situation is. This is BAD. We are WET. I am EXHAUSTED. And nothing is happening on your end."

"Let me see if I can find an available contractor for you.... (long pause) Ma'am? I apologize, but the only contractor we can find is not available until tomorrow."

Twenty-four more hours of this? You've got to be kidding. Alright. The gloves are off. You've knocked me on my on butt and thumped my head in the process.

"This is not acceptable. I cannot wait that long, and more of my property will be damaged while I wait! I am going to call my OWN contractor and bill it to YOU!" Wow, what a threat. So much for diplomacy.

Apparently, that was all I needed to say. They had a plumber on the way ten minutes later.


Melinda said...

At least a baby is cute and they dry out eventually. And that prompt result you got after "taking the gloves off" isn't going to encourage you to be more diplomatic. Heehee! I will remember that next time I need something done. ;)

aniC said...

and here i am annoyed just because the same home warrenty company is saying that are leaky faucet isn't covered. i guess i should be thankful!

Carolyn said...

Hey Lauren,
Wow, what a story! I'm so sorry that happened! EEESH!