Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Printer Who Dared

A previous blog entry reminded me of a similar interaction. I used to work for a business that sold and serviced digital imagers (copiers). One of our clients had a printing business located directly across the alley. Well, the procedure for requesting service for a copier is to call the 1-800 number and the corporate office would dispatch a local technician via cell phone. Well, you would think that a printer would opt for a slightly more expensive contract that included a guaranteed response time, due to the nature of their business that is wrought with deadlines and depends fully on our products to create their products. But not this guy. He opted to attempt to speed things along by simply walking across the alley and screaming at the administrator. Unfortunately for him, the former administrator had been replaced by me. And I have zero tolerance for bullies. He bolted through the entrance and demanded to speak with the boss. I said that the boss was out of the office and offered his cell phone number. Then he demanded to speak with a technician. I reminded him that they generally work out of their vehicles and were all currently onsite servicing copiers for area businesses. He stomped around deciding how he would proceed. I asked whether he had called in a repair order. "Yes, but that was 20 minutes ago and no one has responded." I asked whether he had obtained a confirmation number. He had. So, from my end, there was nothing more that could be done, but to wait for the next available technician. That wasn’t good enough, so he started ranting about how much he’d paid for the equipment and how urgently he needed to fill an order. I understood and was sympathetic. Then he started complaining about the customer service he received. I found that highly insulting because being our neighbor and a print shop, his account always took top priority despite his cut-rate service contract fees. "What am I supposed to do? You tell me what my options are? I’m about to make a call to your competitor." I explained to him the folly of that suggestion, since he did not have a contract labor agreement with our competitor, it would be costly. And we certainly would not cover that expense, particularly since a 20 minute delay was all he had suffered. His posture became very aggressive and he stepped forward to tower over me (I’m rather small in stature and I was seated), and his tone matched his posture when he said, "You’d better do something, call someone, or else…"

"Don’t you dare threaten me!" I said fearlessly, composed. He started back a step and was frustrated again, "Well what do you suggest I do?!"

"I suggest you march yourself back to your desk across the alley and wait your turn. We average a 4 hour response time, so I don’t want to hear from you before that expires!"

From then on, he always treated me with utmost respect. I don’t know what makes people expect what they’re not entitled to or that they can circumvent all established rules and get their way. It doesn’t work on me.

I don’t like confrontation, and am generally fearful of men and aggression. In normal conversation I stumble all over my words. But when someone is so totally out of line, I become authoritative and unflinchingly courageous. My thoughts and words are expressed clear as crystal and sharp as a sword. The fear disappears completely when I become indignant. Where does that come from? It is not a defensive move, because my concern is not for myself, but for the truth and for the sake of what is right. I feel a desperate need to correct the great wrong being committed.


  1. go you! Putting him back in line!

    I know what you mean when you talk about becoming unflinchingly courageous. I've become like that as of late, but anyways I think you hit the nail on the head by saying its not a concern of yourself you are defending the truth and right. Don't loose that, not alot of people do that anymore and those that loose it, its just sad.

  2. Brava!! I absolutely adore a woman who can fearlessly speak her mind. As I read this, the guy of whom you speak became a child to me; he acted like one.

    Good for you!

  3. Just a follow up to say, in addressing your last paragraph, I totally understand. If things happen to me directly that I'm able to just shrug off, I do. But if someone else is being harmed or hurt in some way, even if it's their feelings, or there is an injustice, I tend to get more involved. I've been told I'm a natural protector and I can't disagree with that. It sounds like you are, too.


  4. I'm glad I have readers who are so eager to share their support! You guys ROCK! I never thought of myself as a natural protector. I don't have children, and I usually think of protection centering around a person. But I do feel like The Defender of all that is right and true. Duty bound.


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