Customer Service–or Church–Fails, Part III

You’d think that, faced with all the poor customer service I encountered at Sutherlands and Lowes, I might have given up in my quest for the tools that would change my life, but quitting isn’t in my nature. Instead, I pushed ahead to a place that had always seemed pretty decent to me: Northern Tool.

The life-changing item I sought there was a reel for an air hose. Are you tired of have a tangle of air hose around your compressor? Are you sick of having to return your hose after inflating tires or using tools? (Envision black-and-white footage of people struggling with hoses.) Then you need the Klutch Auto Rewind Air Hose Reel! Call soon and we’ll double the offer!

Okay, there was no cheesy infomercial, but the very item I had longed for since January was on sale. With full confidence that my experience would be far better than at my previous two stops, I stepped into the store and grabbed the box.

But then I paused to wonder. How will I connect the compressor to the reel? I found a short hose that would bridge that gap, but then I paused to wonder some more. Did this hose have the right sort of connection?

One of the benefits of shopping in a bricks-and-mortar store is that you can ask the knowledgeable employees questions. So I asked a guy who seemed to be somewhat in charge. I’ll call him Nate. “Is this hose what I’ll need to connect from my compressor to the reel?”

His face let me know that my question was irritating and unwanted. “You have to know how far it is,” he groaned, not at all answering my question. He had important manager stuff to do.

“No, I’m wondering what sort of connector the reel takes. The picture shows–” I continued before Nate cut me off.

“It’ll work,” he blurted. He didn’t add the word “idiot,” but it was clearly implied. He really never looked at what I had in hand.

I tried to show him the photo on the box, but he had no interest in that. That’s when I decided to go ahead and buy the thing.

Would you be surprised to know that the hose I bought turned out not to fit? So Nate of the North not only treated me as a an annoyance, he gave me wrong information. I made a point of going somewhere else to snag the adapter I needed to make the whole thing fit.

Have you ever been in a church where people treated you like an annoyance, where the attitude, spoken or unspoken, told you that people wished you’d at least shut up and preferably go away? As I write this, I realize that I might have given that vibe to somebody in my church. He is annoying, but I’m sure that I am from time to time.

If a church is going to be better than Amazon, then it has to treat its people, whether they are long-time irritants or clueless newbies, as the valued creatures that God sees in them. How much does he value the irritant? Think of Romans 5:8:

 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Love That Body

It’s not exactly the most spiritually uplifting work on earth, but the musical Hairspray does get me going.  In the middle, the main characters, Tracy and Link, share a duet, “Without Love.” In his verse, Link shares these timeless thoughts:

Once I was a selfish fool
Who never understood
Never looked inside myself
Though on the outside, I looked good!

I can relate to that, although I’ve rarely thought about looking good on the outside. Although I’m not the perfect fitness blogger, the sort of person who went from an asthmatic 400-pounder to an ultramarathoning swimsuit model, I do look better than I used to. But let’s face it: I’m over fifty and decidedly imperfect. When I look in the mirror, I don’t join with Link declaring “I look good!”

That’s why, when Paul says, toward the end of Ephesians, “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29), I have to wonder if he would hold to that thought in the midst of a crowd of body-loathing Americans.

Have you ever looked in the mirror and said, “I hate my body”? Granted this is more common among women than men. A woman can put on three pounds and feel morbidly obese while a guy with a protruding belly the size of a middle schooler might start singing Link’s lines.

Do people who look in the mirror and say, “I hate my body,” truly put the lie to Paul’s words? Do you, assuming you don’t have 3% body fat, really love that body of yours. The answer is that of course you do. Would a person who truly hates their body feed it and try to make it comfortable?

Except for a few people, everyone loves their body. The question is how that love is expressed. It’s like being a parent to your body. Do you express your love by indulging your body’s every foolish desire or do you make it eat its vegetables?

So go ahead. Look in the mirror and love that body. But love it with a true love. Feed it and care for it not to just to please it in the moment but to keep it operating at its best in the long run.