It’s just a piece of pipe…
I heard a story the other day that made me stop and think about why we do some of the things we do. It was one of those days where all the technicians were out in the field, busy with calls and the phones were quiet for the moment. With a little rare downtime a few of the office staff were shooting the breeze. One of the guys mentioned something about having to replace a showerhead for a customer and he started to laugh to himself. I asked what was so funny and he said he was just remembering the time when he and his Dad had an argument about a shower head. I was curious and asked to hear the rest of the story. Here’s what he related:
About 35 years ago he hired a contractor to build his first house. The deal was that from the outside, the house would be complete, right down to the trim and final paint. The inside was to be left wide open with only bare stud walls. The plan was that he and his Dad were going to finish the inside. Dad was a pretty good carpenter and an excellent cabinet maker and he saw this as a great way to not only have some quality Father/Son time but also to learn some valuable life lessons about building and maintaining a home.
Well it seems everything went along great for weeks as the inside of the house came together. When they got to the bathroom however, that’s where Father and Son butted heads. The reason for the conflict was the height of the shower head. You see, Dad was about 5’-9” and Son was a good 6’-3”. The conversation went something like this:
Son: “OK Dad, I want the shower head to be about right here.” (pointing to a spot over his head that would be at about 6’-10”
Dad: “Nope, that won’t work. It needs to be right here.” (pointing to a spot at about 6’-0”)
Son: “No, I want it up here. I don’t want to bend over in my own house to wash my face and hair. I want the shower head high enough that I can stand up straight and take a shower.”
Dad: “Well that’s not going to work. It needs to be where I showed you. That’s where it always goes”
Apparently the discussion went back and forth for a period of time with neither one giving in to the other until finally Son blurted out: “Dad, it’s just a piece of pipe.” With that, Dad’s eyes lit up and he started to smile. You see Dad was from the old school where you did things the way they had always been done. A time when you did not question why, you just got the job done. And, with the difference in their height, Dad never had the showering experiences that Son had so the old way worked just fine for him.
When he finished his story I starting thinking to myself how many times during the day do I do things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done? I think the next new shower we install I’m going to be aware of how tall my customer is and ask him just where would he like his shower head located? After all, it’s just a piece of pipe.