Monday, December 15, 2014

Measured Back

Jesus told us, 

Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:2)

Well...I can tell you that there is truth in this. Grab a cup of hot whatever. It's story time.

I've been dealing a lot with unhappy customers lately at work (landscaping) because of cleanup delays due to weather and holidays. When we hang up, I say things like, 

"My gosh, they're only leaves! Get a life!"
"Sheesh, they're never happy!"
"They complain if you don't clean up their leaves, and they complain when you do!"
"No one is going to turn around on Thanksgiving and go home because you have leaves on the ground when they're getting a free meal!"

You get the drift. I'm complaining about the complainers. 

Well, recently I bought some of those battery operated window candles that go on and off automatically (at a rather upscale store that I don't normally shop in). When I got home and turned the bulbs (which turns the candle on), I noticed that two of them were defective-one was very dim and the other had only one out of two elements lit up.

So I took them back. 

In the measure that you judged, you will be judged.

Maybe the manager had a long day. Maybe she was tired of people with petty complaints, not unlike my own situation at my place of employment. I tried to be nice about the return. Really, I did! 

I explained the problem. Then I turned the bulbs to switch them on so that she could see my dilemma. She huffed.

"There is a bright side and a dim side. You have to put the bright side facing out."

"Yes, I realize that. But this one is definitely more dim than the others.

She wordlessly left the counter in search of a replacement. There were none. Sold out. She checked the computer. None available online. That was that. 

I suppose I had the next move because she just stood there. I would have to return home with my defective candles, I suppose? Hmmm...I don't think so.

I cheerfully suggested that maybe it was the bulbs that were defective. I switched out the bulbs as an experiment, and voila! The dim one was now brightly lit! But the other one still didn't fully light. The manager huffed again. Clearly, she wanted me gone.

"Well, you know, if you knock them, it can cause damage."

"I didn't knock it. I took it out of the box, screwed the bulb on, and it didn't light."

"Well, we're out of bulbs too." She huffed again.

Of course you are. This couldn't be easy, could it? 

All the while, I'm thinking, I sound like those customers who complain that their leaves are still on the ground.

"Can you order one?"

She huffed yet again. 

"Okay. It'll be $9.99 for a set of two."

It was my turn to stand there and stare at her.

Very nicely, I said, "I don't think that I should have to pay for bulbs when the candles are defective."

"Okay, fine. I'll order them for no charge, but you'll have to bring back two bulbs when the replacements come in."

"But only one bulb is defective."

"But they come in a pack of two."  

Oh my gosh, is this conversation really happening?

"So, you want me to take a perfectly good bulb out of a fully functioning candle and return it to you so that I can get a package of two?"

"You said that there are two candles that don't work."

"No, this one works!" I said brightly (pun intended). Then, in an effort to empathize with her and thereby assuage her attitude, I added (as if she really cared), "Look, I work with people too and I can't stand when they complain. I'm not trying to be a pain." 

As soon as I said that, I heard one of my customers in my head. 

She'd said almost that exact same line..."I hate to complain..." and I'd rolled my eyes (on the other end of the phone) as she said it. Huffy manager really didn't care. She only wanted me to leave. I was a "problem customer."

"Okay, just bring back the one that doesn't work."

Never once did I raise my voice, lose my patience or whine. But I did expect a replacement for a defective item, and I was met with resistance. I was being very nice about it all. Why couldn't she just be nice? 

Hadn't I done the same thing the week before to that customer who didn't whine, didn't lose her patience and didn't raise her voice? Yet she wanted restitution and didn't immediately get it. It took some persistence on her part, and in the end, she was right. I might have thought she was overreacting, but she was paying money for a service and wanted it done to her satisfaction.

When I got home, I decided that it wasn't worth the trouble. The extra candle was going in a window that no one really sees, so I decided to just return the candle. I called the store and told the manager. She asked if I was sure (she probably thought that I was fickle and would again change my mind). Yes, I told her, I was sure. She was much more pleasant on the phone.

After I hung up, I decided to call my cable company about that free gift card I was supposed to have gotten after signing on with them that I never got. Oddly, no one at the company ever seems to know about that particular promotion...did I not just learn my lesson with the candles that I had to further punish myself?

Apparently not, because the 45 minute dilemma was almost comical. How does the "Internet Essentials" department end up with my call after I've been on hold for ten minutes? And the supervisor of that department assures me that "Tech Support" would handle my problem? After another long hold, why does a mechanized voice tell me goodbye and hang up on me? How is it that I call back and am told before the voice prompts even begin that every agent is busy helping other customers? And finally, when I get someone who can solve my mystery, how is it that he has to open a ticket for an investigation that will take 2 weeks?

The measure of judgement? Huffiness. Eye-rolling. Impatience. Aggravation. Wishing the problem (customer) would just go away. Wishing that people would come around to my way of thinking.

With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.

As you move through Advent, closer to Christmas, closer to Jesus, it might behoove you to remember that.

When you'd like to do an eye-roll, try rolling them up instead of around. You might save yourself a lot of trouble. Or you can be like me, and learn the hard way.

Blessings Along the Path,


Sharing with Naomi at Monday Musings, Janis at Sunday Stillness, Barbie at The Weekend Brew, Laura at Playdates With God, Terri from Good Morning Monday, Joan at Sharing His Beauty, Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Holley with Coffee For Your Heart, Kelly at Cheerleading , Beth at Wedded Wednesday, Lyli at Thought Provoking Thursday, Crystal at Thriving Thursdays, Deb at Blessing Counters


  1. I tend to complain about the complainers too. Sigh. And I'm intolerant of the intolerant. I need more grace, please, Lord---to receive and to give out!

  2. Great story and illustration of how the way we treat others can come back to haunt us. Thank you for these words and for linking up to The Weekend Brew.

  3. Thank you, Mary. I always enjoy your posts as well.

  4. Complaining about the complainers? Yeah, me too! Thanks for the reminder and for linking up to Testimony Tuesday!

    1. Holly, thanks for stopping by to visit my little blog-abode. I know that you put in a lot of time helping each one of us on TT build our following, and I really appreciate that! Blessings to you!

  5. Oh, it is so easy to see faults in others, but in me? No way! We are immune to seeing our own faults sometimes. I am so with you. I can be critical. It is so important not to judge. Thank you for sharing your story and thanks for joining the Cheerleading Link up! I can't wait to read more authentic stories from YOU! Much love and encouragement to you! xoxo

    1. Kelly, I look forward to getting to know you and your writing better. I'm a bit of a newbie at linkup parties-I never even knew they existed until a few months ago, so I'm always thrilled to make new cyber friends! Thanks for taking the time to read my post.

  6. Your story reminds me SO much about my hubby's job doing customer service calls. After an entire right he comes home and is miserable. Oh how looking at the faults of others is so draining... Like your story.

  7. OH, Bethany, God bless your husband! That is not an easy job. No one ever calls for a good reason, I'm sure! Thanks for stopping in for a visit.

  8. Thanks so much for sharing this thoughtful post at Good Morning Mondays, blessings to you and your this Christmas and for the New year coming.

  9. Mary, I followed you over from Twitter & am happy I did! I enjoyed this segment because although I'm vying to become published in book length fiction my day job is retail, working in a very busy national chain bakery/cafe. Your account made me grin sheepishly--oh, how I've been in your shoes. Life lessons, right? Customer service is a great way to learn that we're all human… and all desperately need God's grace and intervention.

    May your New Year be gentle and kind.

  10. Thanks, Elaine. I worked in retail and have been on the other side of the counter as well! Sometimes you just want people to get out of your store so you can do your work, although without the people, there would be no store. Thanks for stopping by! Happy new year!