You are Known by your Word

Photo by Charlotte May on

Mr. Cogan, my great English teacher throughout High School— whose brilliant teaching of the English language is the reason you are blessed with the supremely high quality of this blog, used to always tell us, “You are known by your word.”

If a student told him he/she’d do something, and then if the student would not–Heaven forbid— follow through, Mr. Cogan would be deeply disappointed and pained. He believed, and explained to us impressionable teenagers, that if people tell you they will do something, you have no reason not to believe them. If they don’t follow through, they have violated your trust.

I always knew Mr. Cogan was right, and as I have aged I have kept this value near and dear to my heart.

A few weeks ago, to our horror, our refrigerator stopped working. We called Home Depot, who blessedly comforted us that as we have purchased it a full year ago, it was still under warranty. They would order the part, and then, in one week from the time of the call, on a Friday, there would be a fellow from a company they partner with to install the part on the fridge that needed fixing.

While it is undoubtedly annoying not having a proper fridge for our family of 9, including a newborn 2-month old– we were delighted at the fact that the fridge would be up and running in a mere couple days.

As the week carried on, and Friday got closer, the feeling of excitement was palpable in the Wolfe home. Soon, our fridge would be back, and we would be able to resume eating normal food.

But to our horror, on Friday we received a notification that something “came up” and that we would need to be rescheduled for next Friday, a full bloody week later.

“Okay,” chilled-out-me thought, “if we made it one week, by golly, we can make it another.” So another week came and went without a proper fridge, and as Friday inched closer, so did our anxious anticipation.

Sure enough, the gentleman for this sub-contracted company did arrive as scheduled, but, to our horror, he told us that, as our fridge is flammable, he was not qualified to fix it, and would need his supervisor to install the piece. “No big deal,” thought super-chill me, “I’m sure his supervisor will be right over, as they probably understand how urgent it is for a family of 9 to have a proper working fridge. And, as we are hosting 11 Jewish young professionals that evening, that fridge would be very helpful.”

But to our horror, a couple hours later, we received a text message saying we have been rescheduled till next Friday– a full, bloody week later.

Now, while it is true an undeniable that I am just about the most patient chap that one can ever encounter, this left me truly befuddled. I didn’t know if I should laugh, or cry. To be honest, I was fit to be tied.

The first thing that came to mind was Mr. Cogan’s lesson: You are known by your word. This excuse of a company had told us that they would install the new parts in our fridge one week ago, and now, we were meant to wait another week. Sometimes I have to begrudgingly cancel meetings. Like, earlier this week, my daughter vomited in school, so I had to adjust my schedule. Sometimes, I shred the gnar with my kids, and have to move around some appointments. I don’t like doing it, but sometimes I need to. But my moving appointments doesn’t impact large groups of people, leaving them without proper basic necessities of life for weeks at a time.

I called up the company and explained that a person is known by his word, and the word of this company is utterly worthless. I told them that while it was cute that they rescheduled us for next Friday, I have no reason whatsoever to believe that they will actually show up like they claim they would. I then went ahead and left them a 1-star review on the BBB, and was amused to see that out of 300+ reviews, they averaged a 1.05 star rating. Apparently, we weren’t the only customers with this issue. Somehow, though, they maintain an A+ grade on the BBB website. Not quite sure about that one…

After this, I called Home Depot’s warranty team, and patiently explained to them that we are big fans of their company, and it is simply beneath their dignity to work with such a lousy company.

As I write this masterpiece of a blog post, we are still without a proper working fridge. But the lesson of standing by one’s word rings as true as ever before. It really is quite simple: If you say you will do something, do it. And if you can’t do it, don’t say that you will.

One thing I can tell you– and you have my word– that I will do everything in my power to ensure that I never need to rely on that lousy company again.


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