Lessons from an Infrequent Visitor

What a furnace repairman taught me about preparing for those good folks who visit church over the holidays.

A month ago, we paid a repairman to tune up our furnace. As winter approaches, our furnace faces an extremely busy season—it makes sense to tinker and fiddle during the calm, low-use time.

One week ago, we called the same repairman because one portion of the system stopped working as it should. Based on the description I provided over the phone, he knew which new part to bring. When he arrived and looked at our system, though, he immediately discovered something quite different than he anticipated.

Less than 10 minutes later, the system worked fine. No new part needed, just a minor adjustment. I felt relieved when he told me I saved a small bundle of money by not needing the replacement switch. When I reached for my checkbook to pay for the service call, he told me that the fix went so easy and fast there wouldn't be any charge. Just a couple of bucks for gas.

My feeling of relief turned to a feeling of delight. "Give me a call whenever you need anything," he said.

Call him again? You ...

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