Tuesday, September 27, 2011


‘Morning Glory’ was a bush nursing hospital in a remote country town and surrounded by shady eucalyptus trees, giving it a picturesque appearance. During recent renovations, it had just installed new PVC floorings throughout. It was my company’s product and it was selected because it needed only the occasional quick buffing with a floor polisher. Yet despite this ease of maintenance, I had received a phone call requesting my visit to sort out a ‘faulty vinyl’. Sure, sure, I thought grimly.
Sister Theresa, who was running the hospital, smiled when she saw me. It was a trusting smile which made me determined to get to the bottom of her problem.
‘Mal, our cleaner tried to buff the floor with his floor polisher but said your vinyl was too soft!’
Despite the nonsense I’d just heard, I smiled back at her reassuringly. ‘Is Mal here?’
‘No, he starts work at six o’clock in the afternoon’, she stated.
‘But, sister, if I can come all the way from Melbourne to impart some knowledge and help him solve a problem, don’t you think that this merits his being present in his own time?’
‘I’ll phone him now because he does not live very far from here.’ Sister Theresa liked to get on top of problems.
While she retreated into her small office, I walked around the building, head bowed and studying the flooring. It was very well installed and looked bright and friendly. Suddenly, I came across the complaint mentioned and knew instantly what had happened to the flooring. The cleaner had switched on his floor polishing machine without having a buffing pad on the rotating disk with gripping spikes and he had routed into the PVC flooring. Of course, he had not admitted to having made a mistake and damaging the flooring himself, but complained instead about ‘the appearance of the floor after having buffed it’.
Within half an hour Nigel Firty had arrived. He looked annoyed for having been called from his home, in his own time, and, showing no embarrassment, pointed to the spot of approximately 70 cm of damaged vinyl. He took the buffing machine out of the cleaner’s room and polished an area of passageway without any problems. Obviously, he had learned his lesson in the meantime!
‘Unfortunately, I was not here, Sister, when this happened but I am confident that it will not happen again. If I send you a large piece of the same PVC flooring free-of-charge, could you ask the flooring contractor to cut out the damaged part and insert the new piece?’
Sister Theresa nodded ‘That will be fine.’ She, too, realised that this was not the time to point the finger at anybody but to ensure a friendly working relationship all round.
‘Thank you for coming, Peter,’ Sister Theresa spoke again. ‘If you could help us with that piece of vinyl that would be great.’


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