Apr 15, 2009

It’s not my fault

I’ve been having car troubles lately. I have a 1989 Toyota Supra. I love this car. It is 20 years old. Some of the original parts are finally wearing out. Because this car has been so maintenance free, I don’t really have a regular mechanic. When we picked it up, the steering made funny noises that it didn’t before. It began to leak the power steering fluid and had to be replaced again. Then we noticed that there was anti freeze all over the driveway. So we had to take it back to the radiator place who replaced a hose. We got it home and the next day there was anti freeze all over the driveway again. Back the mechanic, the radiator place. We got it back and my husband opened up the hood and anti freeze shot up out of a hose with a hole in it. He spent the day replacing leaking hoses that should have been found by the mechanic or the radiator place. The car is now in the shop for the 6th time in two weeks. It’s still leaking anti freeze all over my driveway.

Each time we took the car back to mechanic or to the radiator place, we got the same plaintive cry, “It’s not my fault!” As a customer, I don’t really care whose fault it is, I just want my car fixed so I don’t have to keep bringing in my car and cleaning up my driveway. I am sure that both places would rather not see me again with the same problems.

How does this relate to tea ceremony? It may or may not, but I want service providers who want to help solve my problem rather than tell me it’s not their fault. I know it is an old car, but it’s been pretty reliable up to this point and I love it. I would feel much better about the inconvenience of taking the car into the shop numerous times if the mechanic just told me, “I am sorry for your inconvenience. Sometimes these old cars have lots of parts that wear out all at once. I’ll get right to work on it and do my best for you.”

I don’t think I have gotten the best from either the mechanic or the radiator place and that makes me want to take a look at the things that I do for other people. Whether it is a small thing or a large thing, am I giving them the best I can do, or am I just doing what I can to get by? How many times am I doing the same job over again that I could have done right the first time? How much inconvenience do I put others through? Do I shift blame to others?

Just like my sensei in Japan were not interested in my excuses for being late, I just wanted an apology and a promise not to inconvenience me in the future. That is accepting responsibility for their actions and being accountable for the results.

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