You sometimes get what you ask for

I asked for a very famous film star with deep dark eyes…. I was expecting Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt and I ended up with Mickey Mouse………..

The trouble is I actually got what I asked for but not what I was expecting and yes you’re right, I didn’t really ask for a famous film star with deep dark eyes…. What I actually asked for was a new bathroom with a big walk-in shower, toilet and a sink….. I got all of those things… but they just did not match what I had imagined in my mind.

Johnny Depp - Mickey Mouse

I could list here all the things that went wrong or disappointed me (e.g. shower tap in wrong place…towel rail wrong size, position of extractor fan and down lights etc, but all that would do is remind me how I could have avoided this if I had only spent a little more time being more precise about what I really wanted. Don’t get me wrong I like the bathroom it is very well done but it just wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for…. and my first reaction was to blame the builder. Of course we did discuss the flooring and types of tiles, how big they should be, the types of taps I wanted, the style of the sink, where the sink should be in relation to the shower and toilet. What we didn’t do, was agree how I would judge whether this was what I specifically wanted, so that they would have half a chance of meeting my expectations.

Maybe more importantly, because this work took just over two weeks, we should have also agreed various points along the way where we could review and check progress. A simpler solution, would have been to see other bathrooms and say yes that’s what I want with maybe a small change here and there. The problem was I was given an estimate fairly quickly with just a very brief description of what I wanted and then I felt obliged to stick to that even when I saw at some points that this wasn’t quite what I really wanted…

People often say “I have learned a lesson” And I really hope I have but to help me here are the things I will do if I go through this process again:

I’m going to make sure that everyone involved knows exactly what the end product should look like before it is estimated. How we’re going to judge it when it’s finished….. and review it more often.  As the Americans say, don’t expect what you don’t inspect. This was an expensive but I have to say fairly well done (in terms of finish/quality) job, that in places missed the mark. Of course for smaller jobs say changing a tap, the amount of definition of what you’re going to do and inspection of progress will vary completely from bigger projects. Imagine you’re having an extension built or a house built, think seriously about the real effort needed to ensure success….

Good builders/tradesmen want to make you happy…. I was disappointed that maybe they should have helped me define the ‘vision’ more thoroughly but I have also realised that it is just as much my responsibility to make sure they succeed, as theirs.

by Steve

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