Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Live Human Being

My husband and I are getting ready to do a major kitchen renovation. Our home is thirty years old and we have lived in it for 22 years. From the beginning, I never liked my kitchen counters and cabinets. The original counters were orange which was a very popular color back in the mid 70's when our house was built. About two years after we bought our house, I tiled over them with an off white tile. The cabinets are a country style, as was much of the rest of the house. Over the years, I have tried to do everything possible to de-countrify our house, including removal of shutters on the outside which gave it a more contemporary look. However, the cabinets with their vertical grooves remained.

My sister in law who is a residential realtor told us that we really needed to update our home if we ever decided to move. Finally, I convinced my husband that we really needed to remodel our kitchen and hall bath. He told me to come up with a budget and plans and then we might do it. I have spent nearly a year doing research and formulating what I wanted. Since we were going to have to replace everything in our kitchen, I figured that I might just go for the layout I really wanted. After several drafts, I came up with a floor plan that opened the kitchen up to our family room and had a counter bar for seating. My husband liked the plan, and when I budgeted it out, it was doable.

My husband's taste reflects that of his mother which is dark wood traditional and somewhat formal. I prefer a cleaner and more casual contemporary look. The clash of different tastes has been a problem for us for years, but I usually have given in. Most of our furniture looks like his mother's house. So the idea of us agreeing on cabinets and decor was a little scary. He told me to pick out a couple of cabinet styles that I liked and then he would look at them. I had one cabinet that I really liked and surprisingly, so did he. It was almost too easy for two people who have such different tastes.

We ordered our cabinets through a home improvement center who placed the order with a national cabinet manufacturer. The cabinets are manufactured only after the order is received. A little over twenty four hours later, a representative of the cabinet company called to set up a delivery date of less than one month. In addition, the representative gave me her name and telephone extension number in case a problem cropped up. I could not believe it. In this day and age of impersonal customer service, I talked to a real human being who gave me her name and phone number. Every so often, just as I become jaded about big business, my faith in customer service gets renewed. It did that day.

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