Slack Work is a Close Cousin to Vandalism
Proverbs 18:9 says “one who is slack in work is close kin to a vandal.” The above hose box is a good example of this.
From the outside, it looks great. But when it came time to hook up my hose to it, I found the task almost impossible.
The valve that you hook the hose up to was positioned at a really odd angle. This made it very difficult to maneuver the hose into a position where it could actually make the connection. On top of that, they apparently used very cheap material, making the connection even more difficult (and risking a break — if I ever need to unhook it, I don’t know if it will be able to take it).
The result? A lot of wasted time. It was later that day or weekend, I think, when I came across the above proverb. Suddenly, the lights went on and I started seeing this everywhere: poor workmanship is akin to vandalism because both create unnecessary work — and expense — for others.
Therefore, if you are against vandalism (and I hope you are!), then you should also be against shoddy work.
But here’s the thing: shoddy work often disguises itself in an attempt to save money. So we don’t realize that we are being shoddy; we think we’re being frugal.
This hose box is the perfect example. I doubt that the company which made it was intentionally trying to be shoddy. They were just trying to make it really, really cheap.
I admire the attempt to save money — and pass on a lower priced product to the customer — but in this case, they were just shifting the bill. Instead of incurring the cost to themselves of using better materials and creating a better design, they used a sub-par design and shoddy materials which, in turn, passed on to me a greater expense in terms of my time. They saved money, but they cost me time.
I would have much preferred that they had spent a little more designing and building the product and just charged me a bit more for it.
I have a hundred more examples to give. There is the carpet in my basement, for example. The people who lived here before finished off the basement — thanks! — but apparently put down the cheapest possible carpet that they could. The result is that if you walk down here with socks, thread from the carpet will collect all over them.
And although I don’t want to say that they themselves thought this way, we do know that a lot of people who are getting ready to sell a house do think like this: “Well, we just need to finish off this basement [or do whatever] so we can sell the house. So let’s just do this as cheaply as possible.”
I’m glad to have the carpet, and I grant that this problem isn’t huge, but let’s serve the next people that will live in our homes by doing things with a little more quality. This doesn’t require extravagance. But just don’t do things in a way that you’d want to redo yourself if you had to live with the consequences. And if you have a very, very frugal bent, then do things better than you’d do just for yourself.
Which brings us back to the main productivity lesson here: don’t save your own money, time, or effort when it is simply going to cost someone else more money, time, or trouble. That’s a cousin to vandalism, because both end up placing an unnecessary burden on another person.