11/24/2014

"We have 700 customers"

I have a love-hate relationship with our lawn care company.

On the one hand, I love that they mow the lawn for us so that I don't have to 1) hear the husband gripe about having to do it, 2) have him spend four hours every Saturday during the season doing so (our yard isn't big, but it's got an insane hill and it just seems to take forever if you want to do it safely) and 3) Have him be miserable the rest of the day and into the next because, oh yeah, he's really allergic to grass.

On the other hand, they complain. A lot.

See, having children, we have things like toys out in the back yard. Go figure. Now, I make sure that the small stuff is up and on the patio the night before they're scheduled to come. But we have a jungle gym thing that really isn't tough to move if you're a man but is a bit of a pain for me to get out the way. I try to remember to have hubby move it, but if that doesn't happen, it should be easy enough for them to do it as they mow. And they will. But they gripe. And we get a nasty note at the bottom of our invoice.

And then the leaves start to fall. Most of the time, the way we're situated, the wind blows the leaves down into the gully at the bottom of our property. So there aren't that many. And really, we're fine if they want to just mow over them (they mulch mow) and call it a day. But they have a moral objection to doing that. I think this is less because they're concerned about our yard and more because they want to sell us leaf removal at $35/hour. After the fist time we got a note on our door saying "No mow. Rake leaves." (Really does it take so much longer to form non-declarative sentences that feel polite when your customer reads them? Apparently, yes. And it's not an ESL issue, these are actual English-speaking Americans.) I gave the office a call. We went round and round and finally agreed that we'd be sure to have all but whatever happened to fall between Sunday night and Monday (our scheduled day) handled. And so it was okay for a bit...until it rained two weeks ago. On a Monday.

We'd picked up the leaves. We were ready. But it was raining. So fine, you can't mow in the rain. I get that! But what would be good customer service, I think, is to send an email (I'm great with email!) or a phone call and say, "Hey, Monday customer, we'll be working you in and plan to be there on Wednesday." or whatever day you plan to hit us. That way, hey, we can get the leaves that the rain knocked down taken care of.

But no such communication happened. And I came home from being out with the boys on Wednesday to another "No mow. Rake leaves" note. And then...nothing. Two weeks of nothing. Two weeks of getting the lawn ready for Monday and then...nothing. On Friday, hubby caved and authorized leaf clean up to try and avoid my annoyance and frustration. (Not with him, but with the lawn in general.)

Fast-forward to today, the Monday after authorizing leaf removal when all should, once more, be right with the world so that I can stop having to deal with these people. No show. Huh? So I called up and, it turns out, that random Wednesday when they came out was supposed to be our last mow. (Nice to know...nicer to know THEN.) They weren't planning to return. So I mentioned how it would've been nice to know that -- especially since they didn't do what we needed done on the day they randomly showed up that wasn't our day so we weren't ready for them and he says to me, "Ma'am, we have 700 customers." Which was his justification for why it's impossible to notify people of when they're being rescheduled.

So fine...I get that, sort of (in today's technological age, I see no reason why they can't very easily email everyone. It takes hardly any time to make a group email alias and even less to send out a mass email when it's raining, but whatever.) So I ask when they can come, since we were expecting them today, and after some off-speaker conversation he comes back with sometime next week or the week after.

Well...we'll be putting our Christmas decorations out on Friday. So if they can't make it before then, I guess our yard will just be long through the winter. The few leaves that are there, I can rake myself before the nativity goes up. And as for their 700 customers...well, it might just be 699 next year.

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