Bridging Friendship and Business: The Tale of a Broken Roof Tile

A story of a broken roof tile. 

I met Jack before I opened the shop as he was buying bikes from me before 2016. He was such a gent, always cherishing this amazing mutual respect relationship we had for years.

He buys from me even today. Not as often but still following the rule we set over a decade ago; a rule that much removed from the current economical setting that it is almost unfeasible to be honoured. We never bothered to resit the negotiating process as it’s simply not relevant to our common objectives: those economically driven amendments would not bring any financial gains to either of us thus must be surely irrelevant.

He came along to buy a few bikes the other day and asked me if I knew anyone who can change a roof tile. He could do it easily BUT he cannot climb the ladders anymore and his eyesight is deteriorating. He was worried the roofer would take him to the cleaners for such a small job (albeit he understands the needs of the small business- he just didn’t want to pay that much for such a remedial task).

He mentioned he purchased the tiles and the tacks. He just wanted someone to do it before the other remaining half of the tile slides off onto someone’s head.

I offered. I said I can have a look- I’m not a roofer but I assumed I could surely replace a singular tile…

From Tiles to Laughter

We agreed to meet at his house next morning (I know where he lives since we delivered bikes to him when his car broke down or he was stuck in hospital with his grand children).

We had a look together, agreed on the action plan, we changed it, we measured stuff then measured thrice more, we decided to use different tiles, we cut yet another set of tiles as he bought the wrong ones, we amended the action plan again. It took about 120mins of my life of which approx. 60mins was us discussing the state of the world at the minute.

He attempted to slide me a £20 note but I joked I don’t get out of bed for that little. We laughed while Barbara (his wife) made us a cuppa when we giggled with their great grand children.

I didn’t even consider this as a favour. I did it because I believe Jack would do the same.

A Decade of Connection

I have known Jack, my customer, for over a decade. I know his wife, where he lives, the names of his great grand children. I met his grandson-in-law while I fixed his roof for him for free.

My customers are friends; I thrive to never abandon this attitude for anything. Jack is a friend that shops at mine.

This is how I do business; come down one day and I’ll introduce you to Jack.