i fill out all the surveys now.

We got our carpets cleaned today. It was Jake’s idea which I capitalized on because we were both so tired of looking at the many, many, many (honestly so many) pee spots the dog has added to our family room and bedroom in the almost two years she has been ours (most of which happened during her first two months).

It took the carpet guy about two hours to finish, and before he left, he explained to me that if the stain in the carpet has made it into the pad, then it will likely resurface once the carpet dries. If that’s the case, then he can come back and treat it a different way, but he suggested waiting to see if the simple surface cleaning is enough. This made sense to me. I agreed.

Then, he told me about the surveys that would be coming my way. The one he cares about, he said, is the one where I can give him a 1-10 rating. If any of those stains come back, he told me, call me before you fill out the survey. I want to make sure I give you level 10 service.

While he was talking, I wondered how many low ratings people have given him because they didn’t listen when he explained carpet stains or because they thought he wasn’t thorough enough in his job. I wondered how many negative reviews he has gotten because people had expectations that were, simply, impossible to meet.

Last night, I spent two hours at our local urgent care clinic for a couple of strep tests. The kids showed varying levels of patience but mostly the trip went about exactly as I expected it would. Before we left, the doctor apologized to me for the wait, and I felt bad that she felt the need to say that. I didn’t have an appointment. Of course we were going to wait. The survey came through my email this afternoon, and I gave the practice straight 10s. Very likely to recommend to family and friends, I responded.

Sure the wait was longer than any of us would have liked, but everyone was kind. The entire place was clean. The doctor took her time with us once she came in. They did their best. Aren’t most people doing the best they can?

The carpet survey will come through in a day. Your feedback matters, it will say.

There is a place for critical feedback, but there is also a place for acknowledging the best intentions of those people doing the best they can to help us.

So, 10, I’ll say. And I’ll mean it—even if a few stains remain.

(Additional shout out here to Ashlee Gadd who reminded me today of the value of catch and release writing.)

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