Don’t Make It Worse

She forgot to mention 'hot water'

What about hot water heaters, Fate?

Its not quite a Rule of Tech Support (I’ll have to check the list to make sure) but a good rule to follow whenever you’re fixing something is “don’t make it worse.”  If you can’t fix something at least try to get back to where you were when you started, it just makes life easier down the road, even if it is for the next guy that’s going to be looking at whatever it is you’re trying to fix.  If its someone else’s thing you’re fixing, be up front and honest about what is happening.

The poor handling of an unfortunate situation is one common thread that I see over and over again whenever someone takes to the Internet to air a legitimate grievance, like the musician who recently had a guitar damaged by incompetent baggage handlers after he was denied the right to carry it onto the plane with him.  Something unfortunate happens, the person seeks remedy from the company that wronged them, and the company completely blows the opportunity to prove they’re really all about the customer.  Instead they blow them off, or insult them with a feeble attempt at compensation and look like a bunch of non-caring jerks.

I wouldn’t have been so riled up about the recent hot water outage in my apartment but for the way the staff handled the situation.  The first time it happened, I was upset, but the email I received after the fact offered an apology and explained the situation.  I read it and was satisfied to know that the problem was being taken care of.  If they had sent a properly worded email the second time it happened, I probably wouldn’t have gone onto this blog to open up a can of Internet Wrath™.

Stuff happens, and I believe that most people are willing to accept that stuff happens as long as you don’t insult their intelligence by ignoring them, insulting their intellgence or being condescending.  Own the problem, let your customers know that things are being attended to, and most folks will accept that.  Don’t make it worse.

In any event, the hot water is back, so its time for a bath.  I ain’t dipping my big toe in that tub until its good and ready, though!


Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Click to see what awaited me after work.

Click to see the good news and poor comma usage.

Final Update: 1/9, 1030PM: Looks like the hot water’s back, w00t.

2nd Update: 1/9, 620PM: Still nothing, purchased a “Homer Bucket” from Home Depot to assist with bathing. Not bad for two-fifty or so, though I wish they had tops for them.

UPDATE 1/8, 430PM: After sending a link to this blog to the regional manager via Venterra Realty’s website, I got a call from the complex at about 4PM. I was unable to answer because I was busy at work. They left a message essentially saying they’re really sorry (again) but they don’t have an ETA for a fix. Whoopee. I called back but got a message saying they’re weren’t available. They called me back again and apparently the entire boiler went kerplotz, so they need to get a new one…yeah, I think that’s going to be awhile.

If you’ve lived in an apartment for any decent amount of time, it’s a question that you get to ask yourself every year or so. As the day your lease ends gets closer, you think it over and think it over until finally the ‘renew your lease’ letter drops into your mailbox or gets left on your door. If you’re lucky, your rent stays the same, or only goes up a few bucks, so assuming things haven’t been too crazy, you re-up, and stand pat for another year or so.

If you aren’t lucky, your rent goes up just enough to make you think over whether you want to pay more to stay in a place that you are not completely happy living in. My renewal letter came in the mail about a week ago. I opened it to learn that my rent is going to be going up $50 a month. Crap.

I initially had a few issues with my current apartment complex after I moved in. The buildings are a bit on the older side and so it seemed that the maintenance guys were coming in at least once a month to fix or do something or other. I also had problems with the office hours not being consistent, I would occasionally have to go to the office to pay my rent during my lunch break to find it closed. Things did seem to be getting a little bit better as time went on, but still I winced when I saw that fifty dollar increase and thus began the internal debate.

Then last Saturday the hot water went out. On a 40-degree morning.

After making that discovery and stewing in my own juices for an hour, I boiled a bunch of water, took a hot bath, and life went on. I received an email later that day containing the management’s apology for the outage. It also said that there was a temporary fix in place and that the boiler would be fully repaired on Monday.

I think to myself: “Okay. These guys have got a handle on this. The boiler will be fixed on Monday. Awesome.’

I spoke too soon. I got home to find the lovely e-mail above waiting for me in my inbox. I turned on the tap, and of course, no hot water. No telling when its going to be fixed, either. All I have is a poorly-written message about ‘a part that needs to be ordered’ that I’m sure was hurriedly banged out by someone before they got out of Dodge.

Last straw, meet camel’s back.