Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Farmville Moments - service in a small town

We've lived here just over two years now, so it's been awhile since I've done one of these posts. As anyone who has grown up in an area as populated as northern VA and has moved to a rural town knows, there is a fair amount of adjusting to do. It is hard to describe what it's truly like to live in a rural area to someone that hasn't experienced it. It's hard to understand how frustrating it is to get a flat tire because in most places, you could just go get it fixed after work or on Saturday morning. Here, you have to take off from work because everything closes at five and nothing is open on a Saturday (even less is open on Sundays, if that's possible). To those of you that have lived in the actual middle of nowhere (we do have a Walmart and a variety of chain restaurants here), I feel your pain. I certainly wouldn't consider where we live the actual middle of nowhere - but sometimes it feels close to it :)

Now this post may have started out sounding like it was going to be negative, but actually, that's not the case. This post is about one of the things I have absolutely loved about living in a small town: people here trust each other. That may seem like a small thing, but growing up in an area where life is more complicated and seems driven by success, money, and promotions, it's quite refreshing. When I am going out to obtain some sort of service (oil change, car inspection, etc.), I'm actually not afraid that someone is going to try to rip me off, and the people who are helping me out genuinely seem like they care. I know I'm paying them, but caring doesn't seem to come with that in a busier area.

The other week my windshield cracked. A tiny rock hit it while I was driving and I thought, "no problem, it's a little dent and we'll just get the glass guys to fix it." About 5 miles down the road, I heard a noise, looked up, and saw that the "little dent" had spread to an 8 inch-long crack. And by the time I got home, it was even longer.
Chris took the car in to be fixed on his way to work the next morning and the guy offered to drive him to work! When they replaced the windshield, they actually fixed the thing that kept hanging off the bottom of our car for free.

A few months ago, we needed to get our brakes replaced on the car. We mentioned that it just wasn't great timing because we had just had to replace 6 of our 8 tires and a guy from our church took the car in and replaced the brakes and rotors at cost - we didn't have to pay any labor charges. 

Another time we took a car in to get something fixed, we weren't able to get there before the shop closed to pay and the guy told us, no problem. He said go ahead and take the car and just come back sometime during the week, whenever was convenient for us, to settle up. 

I could go on forever about the differences between a rural town and a busy city or suburb, but the thing that sticks out to me the most is service. People care more about their neighbors here. I don't know why attitudes are so different - but maybe it's because there's a good chance you'll run into them later that week at the grocery store :) 


LA-jan said...

Refreshing! Sean and Katie are starting to experience some of the same feelings in Utah. Although Layton is probably bigger, with a huge manufacturing plant like Kroger, he says the people are so different!

jennie said...

wow that is amazing!

maggie said...

i miss this aspect of non-city life! my mom used to bring cookies to the guys who fixed our van and she always got awesome service! around here that would quickly be forgotten...