Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It Hinges on Decency

It started with a hinge that broke on a cabinet door. I contacted Home Depot, who gave me the number of the company that made them (called R.S.I.),  and ordered new hinges. They came almost immediately in a little envelope, free of charge. I took them out…and they were the wrong ones. That’s when I realized with horror that my cabinets had come from a different store. Different cabinet company entirely.

How embarrassing.

 I hate dishonesty. If the lack of empathy is the devil—and I believe it is—then dishonesty is the car (s)he rode in on. I’ve known some of the most honest people in the world as well as some of the most dishonest. I’ve always admired the former tremendously. The latter inspire nothing but pity and contempt.

So I mailed the hinges back with postage. I included a note explaining what had happened and apologized. If it had been their mistake, I would have expected them to make it right. But this was mine, so I tried.

A few days later, along came my check for postage. It included a little note thanking me and explaining that they try to help when they can. The note even had a smiley face on it. That note really made me feel good. I smiled all day…about that smiley face.

Two days later, along came a package in the mail, express delivery, from R.S.I. It was a bigger envelope…filled with hinges. No kidding—there was every possible kind of hinge that my door could need. And it did, in fact, contain the very hinges that worked for my cabinet door. Even though I didn’t purchase the doors through their company.

I’m still smiling. I may not have purchased my cabinets from RSI, but I sure would next time. Who wouldn’t want to buy from such a pleasant and helpful place? I would show you the note, which made me feel so good that I saved it, but it fell off my bulletin board and landed behind the filing cabinet. Which is okay. I imagine someday I’ll move that filing cabinet and find it. And then I’ll smile all over again.

From the rocking horse to the rocking chair, friendship keeps teaching us about being human. ~Letty Cottin Pogrebin (whose name alone should be a quote.)


  1. Tammy--This story proves that there ARE kind, thoughtful people in the business world. But you started the ball rolling when you mailed the hinges back with your note. I think I am correct in assuming that most people (maybe 99% of our population) would simply toss the hinges in the trash since they were not the right size. Never mind from the wrong manufacturer. You went way above and beyond.

    I think you might be able to take your note, and their 2nd package, and ride it all the way to commercial stardom. Seriously. This is wonderful PR for RSI.

  2. Tammy, that is so neat! I'm glad that you gave them a shout out on here, and I'll keep their company in mind if I ever need new cabinet doors. They are obviously customer service oriented.

    That was nice of you to mail the others back.

    Kathy M.

  3. Ahhh...what a lovely thing to read. It is so wonderful when a company goes above and beyond the call of duty, just to offer superb customer service. And it works in their favor. I'll remember them too now, thanks to you.

  4. Now your post made my day and made me smile too! Nice.

  5. It's nice to see a company go above and beyond.

    Critter Alley


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