Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The visible things matter - particularly in the absence of good communication - lessons from a car service

My car went in for a service and MOT last Friday.   It's a lease car so the garage selection and booking was done by the lease company, all I had to do was make sure the car was in the car park at work in the morning and it would be collected, work done and returned to me in the afternoon.

In the morning I called the garage to confirm the car was there and also to tell them that I had spotted that the rear wiper had started to split so please could they replace it.

Car was collected as planned and returned to the car park. On the front passenger seat was a survey form for me to complete and send off - no other communication from the garage.  The car had been washed so looked good but two things concerned me.  Firstly the feedback form had a box on it for them to tick if they had done an MOT and it was blank. Secondly the rear wiper hadn't been replaced.

I phoned the garage and they said that the MOT had been done but by a separate mechanic who wasn't the one who filled in the form on the seat.  As regards the wiper blade they queried whether this was something I had asked them to look at.  I confirmed I had, he did some checking and came back on the line to say that they "hadn't been able to get one the right length".  Suggested I should pop into a Halfords and get one .... which does beg the question why they couldn't get one...

That evening I checked the details in the service book and inspecting the condition of the wiper blades should be part of the service.

I now start to wonder what the quality/thoroughness of the rest of the service was like... if the thing I can see hasn't been addressed how confident can I be that things like brake pads/disks have been checked properly?
Odds are that everything else is fine but my confidence is shaken.   Full marks at this point to Leaseplan - having spoken to them they have booked car into a main dealer for them to do a check over for me and replace faulty wiper.

Things would have been so different if the garage had left a note in the car saying - we noticed that the blade is damaged but couldn't replace today, we have ordered one and would it be OK for us to pop over on Monday to fit it while it's parked in the car park?

Then I would have had an entirely different impression.

Communication is critical and so is making sure that the easily visible things are done well - they may not be the most important part but they set the tone for everything else.   I am reminded of the beautifully tied knots on a bandage round my head when I'd undergone surgery on my ear and the confidence that this inspired that the work inside my ear was good as well.  Irrational maybe but somehow reasuring :-)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Littleton & Harestock Show

For us this weekend has been dominated by the annual Littleton and Harestock Show.  Saturday morning saw us getting to the tent in time to set up our entries - photos, cake, veg, floral display, clay models, marzipan animals, pizza, collages, pictures.  Quick trip back home for a coffee and then we were back on site to set up the St Catherine's church stand where people were going to be able to make puppets.  Home again for lunch and then back for the show opening at 1pm.  The next 4 hours were spent on the stand or looking round the show.  Helen helped out on the Teddy Bear bungee jump (with 3 of Alice's teddies being on hand to take part in the jumps).  We also had the excitement after 2pm of being able to see whether any of our entries had won a prize.  Nothing this year for me or Carol but the girls managed a good haul of prizes each.

I managed to grab 5 more numbers (8, 33, 44, 48 & 99) towards my photography challenge which means I now only need another 40 to complete the set.

Sunday saw us return to the show once more, this time for the annual Littleton & Harestock Show Service.  This ecumenical service brings together the Churches in North Winchester for a celebration in the show marquee.  The highlight this year was without a doubt (in my biased opinion) the 2 performances by the "Ups and Downs" puppets.  Their first spot was a reprise of their award winning (in the southern regional puppet ministry competition) "I turn to God" and for their second number they gave us "He's the one that I want".  The performances were very well received and it looks like they may have some more bookings as a result.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Toilet Twinning

While we were at New Wine this year we came across the CORD stand in the Market Place offering the opportunity to "Twin" a toilet with a "bog in Burundi". We thought it was a great idea - the £60 payment covers the costs of building a toilet and you are then sent a certificate with details of your twinned toilet.

I'm very pleased to announce that we have received our certificate and our downstairs toilet...Toilet Twinning ...is now officially twinned with Latrine No 332 in Giharo, Rutana Province, Burundi, Africa (lat -3.852969, long 30.249261). Here is a link to the satellite image from google maps - sadly the image quality is low .. just to the west is a much better resolution.

If you want to twin your toilet get yourself along to toilettwinning.org