Ordinary or Extraordinary…and How Do You Know?

Recently, I ordered a file cabinet from (insert big box office supply store here) online. It referenced an additional shipping fee, which I took to mean “it’s big and heavy, so we are charging you more.”

What I did not understand it to say was “we are having it delivered to you on a tractor trailer.

Because if I HAD gotten that message, I would have been able to say, “uh, we live on a windy, narrow gravel road in the woods and if you’re longer than 26 feet, you cannot – I repeat, CANNOT – turn around. Plus, part of the (gravel) driveway is on an incline bordering a lake, so if you misjudge at all, SPLASH!

The freight forwarder called me a day in advance to let me know when they were coming; I explained to him about the narrow gravel road, he said, “oh, don’t worry, he’s in a pup truck, no problem.”

I kinda thought that meant it was a delivery van or something, so relieved, I went about my business, not giving it another thought until the driver called. I asked him what kind of truck he was in and he said “Oh, I’m pulling a 28′ trailer” – definitely beyond the 26′ limit we can handle. We talked about the road conditions, including the nearby washed out road, which would complicate things for him.

I told him I could cancel the order and order it locally (maybe), see if someone else could deliver in a smaller truck, but he just drawled, “oh, well, just let me see what I can do. If necessary, I will get as close as I can and bring it to you on a hand truck.”

About 15 minutes later, I hear a truck, look out my office window and there is a big ole tractor trailer BACKING up to the house – he had backed down that entire narrow, windy, gravel road…in my wildest imagination, I have no clue how he was able to do that. I cannot do it in my car, that’s all I’m sayin’.

Later, after telling a couple of friends about the amazing truck driving feat that took place in my driveway that afternoon, I mention it to my husband, who looks at me blankly and says, “I would be more amazed if he HAD NOT been able to do it. That’s what he does, honey, he’s a truck driver.

I was a bit taken aback, but his comment made me think how different our responses were to the exact same level of service: I was so impressed, I have recounted what the driver did a half dozen times, just told everyone. My husband, on the other hand, didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary.

Whenever a client lauds my service or writes me an especially flattering reference, I always think to myself, “heck, I was just doing my job” so I guess I know what he’s saying.

Still, my question is, “how do we know if we’re ordinary — or extraordinary?

How do you define it?

p.s. If you’re looking for extraordinary – or maybe just ordinary – service in Alexandria, VA, let me know. I may know someone.

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