Red Card Roberts
Park Record columnist
I don’t have casual thoughts about much. Instead, I have irrational senses of urgency. I am not capable of pondering an idea. With me, there is no, “I wonder what would happen if…” Instead, there is a dynamic, almost uncontrollable need to have an answer or result immediately. I will buy, research, create, design and go to other irrational extremes to turn, what is for most a passing thought, into a reality.
For example, there is no real need for me to remodel my kitchen. My appliances all work. The layout is just fine. The countertops are granite; it doesn’t look dated. But I’m currently getting bids to redo the whole thing. And I think my college education cost less.
It started a month ago, when I spent eight days in a hospital watching my sister die. The walls in the hospital where she passed away had the exact same granite I have on my kitchen countertops. For the worst eight days of my life, I stared at those stone walls. I walked by them a dozen times a day. I saw them on my way into her room and on my way out. Every time I took the elevator to another floor, left to grab a coffee, or step out to take a phone call, my kitchen counters closed in on me. After she died and my family solemnly left the hospital, we walked from her room down the long granite-covered hallway to the elevator bank, and all I could think was, “I never want to see that damn granite again.”
Which is a problem considering it’s all over my house.
I assume the more rational among us might have had a similar thought, but it would have been fleeting. I, on the other hand, was getting estimates to have it replaced before we even picked out my sister’s coffin. When I decide to do something, getting it done becomes as important to me as oxygen. It’s all consuming and I can think of nothing else until it comes to fruition. I won’t pretend it’s normal. Or reasonable. It just is.
Due to this urge, the past few weeks I have been to every countertop store and slab yard in Salt Lake City, emailed with a dozen or so contractors, and spent an astonishing amount of time on Pinterest (which is how I learned if I’m committed to getting new countertops, then new appliances, cabinets and a backsplash are also next to necessary). The logic seems to be, “If you’re spending a few thousand dollars to change something, you might as well spend twice as much and change it all.”
And now, after all the research, and online review reading and price comparisons, I’m ready to hit the “go” button. Even though it’s not particularly logical. And definitely not affordable.
I’ve learned a few things in the process too. For starters, customer service seems to be a lost art form. It’s alarming how many people don’t return a phone call or show up when they tell you they will. And it’s disheartening how many companies don’t honor their word.
As I compared prices for appliances online, I was downright giddy to see RC Willey offering the stove I wanted far below all its competitors. I put it in my virtual shopping cart, punched in my American Express number and silently congratulated myself for finally choosing something within my budget. I was feeling pretty great about the whole project after that purchase.
Until a few hours later when someone from their customer service department called to inform me they’d made an error in the advertised price and would be canceling my order. “Legally, we don’t have to honor our mistakes,” the man told me.
He took a few more minutes to belittle me and offer me a new price, which seemed equal to what one might pay for a kidney on the black market. True to my nature, my next idea — to boycott this store and not purchase any of my appliances from them — came to me with great urgency.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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Columnist Teri Orr recently took in the wonder of Utah’s red rock country, a trip that gave her something she didn’t know she desperately needed: a renewed sense of wonder.