At Some Point, We’ll All Be One of Those Customers

You expect good customer service. You expect the service you came to receive.

But you’ve been there when that’s not what you received, right? So, tell me if I wasn’t justified in being one of THOSE customers.

I called to make an appointment to have my tires rotated.

“Sure, we can make appointments but not for just an hour from now. Come right in, no one is here.”

No problem. I would get there and on with my other plans without any problems.

I pulled into the unnamed tire retailer along with three other vehicles–one of which was a pickup truck that just hurriedly took the corner in the parking lot and spewed the first melting snow in three months all over my front windshield. I almost caught his eye as he stepped from his truck, racing to be first in line.

No problem. I’m not your competition. You can have your place.

I walked up to the service counter and patiently waited while these customers were helped through their transactions. It was at least ten minutes since the time that the man standing at the computer said, “Someone will be right with you.”

No problem. I still had time before I wanted to meet a friend at 11:00 at Target across the street.

At 11:05 I handed over my keys. They said they’d text me when it was done. They had told the person ahead of me it would be 45 minutes and he was getting two new tires. I hurried over to meet my friend, texting her to make sure we hadn’t missed each other in our designated place.  She wasn’t there.

Small problem. I checked for her texts and returned several times to the front entrance to look for her. Did something happen to her?

In between I shopped for a tension rod to replace the one that had fallen down in our shower three mornings in a row. I checked out with four bags of groceries and walked with them back to the tire place.

Small problems began to add up.

The bags were heavy and awkward. Campbell’s chunky soup was on sale, and if I bought ten I received a $5 gift card, too. My car was in the parking lot, in the parking spot I’d chosen an hour ago. Without a key, I couldn’t unload the groceries into my trunk, so I set them on top of it and ventured back inside to finish up.

I asked for my vehicle key—the one for the VW out front. “Passat? Is the Passat done?” The gentleman yelled into the bays. He picked up the order sheet on my car. “This one’s got nine minutes.”

What does nine minutes mean? I wondered. The time it should have been completed? I could see where this was going.

“We’ll get it right in,” He assured me.

Now small problems had become big stressors. He didn’t seem to recognize or care that he had created the problem.

“I came in here an hour ago and left my car.”

“We took your car 50 minutes ago, and we’re still under the hour time that we told you.”

Out the front window and in the parking lot, my groceries perched precariously on the back trunk.

“I need to move my groceries into the trunk.”

“We’ll take care of it. We’ll move them in.”

“I’m not happy about this.” I stated tersely, still trying to suck in my irritation. I moved toward the chairs to wait.

But I could barely sit down. Minutes ticked by. It was not okay to just leave my groceries out there. I needed my keys to move them. I needed out of there.

My problems, my emotions and my stress toppled over.

I huffed over to the desk. “I need my keys. I need my car. I can’t wait all day for this.” I raised my volume and my irritation toward the desk attendant.

“What do you want me to do about it?” He answered back in an equally irritated tone.

His retort back at me showed me we’d crossed the line in our emotion, our ability to deal in civil terms.

I retreated to my seat. I wanted to Tweet this bad customer service experience. I was justified, wasn’t I?

But then my phone rang.  A friend heard my irritation and asked what was wrong. She eventually told me why she called, to ask for a ride to pick up her car.

And I remembered who I am, or who I want to be, or who I wished I could really be like, but am not yet. And then I was just embarrassed that on that day and at that time, I was not at all Christ-like in my reaction. I was not a witness of Christ.

Too often, I justify my own actions. Do you do that, too?

We explain why we did something, to ourselves or maybe to as many of our close friends or family that will agree with us.

But here’s where it’s going to grow from a small problem into a big problem.

Because we feel justified that we were wronged, we may even defend ourselves and our actions to the person we just hurt by adding more words to it, with further emotion. As if that will justify us, as if that will take away the sting of the hurt we feel from what happened and the hurt we contributed. guide to the scriptures says this about justification:

To be pardoned from punishment for sin and declared guiltless. A person is justified by the Savior’s grace through faith in him. This faith is shown by repentance and obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel. Jesus Christ’s atonement enables mankind to repent and be justified or pardoned from punishment they otherwise would receive.



The guilt I felt came as soon as I sat down and pondered the man’s question, “What do you want me to do?”

Why? I had berated him for slight circumstances that he could not control, and when he asked that question, I was embarrassed at my actions. I could stew over that guilt, continue to berate him or berate myself.

That guilt was not there to point out my bad fault but as a natural occurrence of how I responded. It separated me from him and the feelings of the Spirit. And the only thing that could take away that guilt—that could truly justify me, even if I didn’t start the problem in the first place—is the atonement of Jesus Christ.

Fortunately, that friend who asked me a favor, saved me. She helped me cool off and redeemed my day by allowing me to serve her. She didn’t replace the Savior, but she simply acted as a reminder to me of His power and grace. Without even knowing it, she stood in His stead for a moment, so I could come unto Him.

It did take some prayers in the car afterwards and that night to achieve that.

I received a “do over”, as we say in our family, and another chance to do more than wish to be Christ-like but to repent and actually seek to have His atonement help me become that, even in my most stressful moments.



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