Mike and I had a really bad experience recently with a moving company.
In short, they broke our furniture and then insisted on making their own repairs, further damaging it to the point where it became junk.
The company’s owner offered no apology other than a belated and grudging, “I’m sorry it happened” (he obviously hadn’t read my post on how to apologize), and acted as if this debacle was happening to him rather than us.
In the end, we walked away minus some of our furniture rather than continue dealing with him.
For both Mike and me, getting untangled from a business relationship in which we felt victimized was worth more than the opportunity to hope for a settlement in small claims court after who knows how much more time and energy was spent.
I learned three things from this experience:
1. Always trust your gut. I knew the minute I looked into the eyes of the moving crew that they didn’t care a jot about us or our belongings. When they got down to work, my fears were confirmed. I had a sour feeling in my stomach the entire time they were there, and all through the fiasco of the company’s repair attempts.
2. Sometimes you can win by deciding to lose. Walking away — something that doesn’t come naturally to me — can be a win if it gets you your sanity back, even at the expense of material goods. Those can be replaced, but damage to the body from stress takes a long time to undo, and we’ll never get the time back that we spent on the whole sorry process.
As soon as Mike told the moving company’s owner on the phone to keep what was broken, it was as if a poisonous fog lifted and we were free.
3. There are more options available than you think. At first I thought I had to either accept the mover’s “repairs” or take the company to court — two equally unpleasant prospects. But when Mike had the idea of simply letting go of our damaged furniture and moving forward with a clean slate, we both immediately felt better. We were no longer victims of circumstance, but captains of our own fate.
We’re recovering nicely from what felt like a small catastrophe (did I mention the furniture they broke was supposed to be used by my mom when she comes to visit next month?). We’re sleeping well again and looking forward to the future. I even went furniture shopping the other day and fell in love with a new piece.
Lesson learned, and life goes on.
UPDATE: Less than a week after I posted this, in response to my “goodbye-and-please-keep-the-furniture” letter, the owner of the company sent us a check for about the same amount we’d paid for his services. He offered a sincere apology, and said we should put the money toward new furniture. It was an entirely unexpected display of grace, leading to Lesson 4: You never know what will happen when you completely let go.