I was pondering the topic for our Something More post this week, when I thought back to an interesting conversation I had with my friend yesterday about building/zoning permits. This particular friend works in the office of our local township. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am currently doing some needed repairs on my home. For most of these repairs, I need a permit from our township office.
Over the years while living in our township, I’ve heard unpleasant stories about how difficult the township is on permit applicants, causing extra work for the applicants along with unnecessary delays in their projects. Until now, I did not have firsthand experience regarding the permit process. I do now. Much of what I had been told in the past appears to be accurate. What should be an easy process, is often made extremely difficult by our particular township.
You may be wondering where this is all going? Here’s where I am heading. I was discussing with my friend (the one who works in the township office), about how frustrated I was that the zoning inspectors had rejected my application for a new patio. The plan for the patio was quite simple and should not have caused a rejection at all. Actually, their reasons for rejecting the plan seemed superfluous, almost verging on ridiculous.
I was really perturbed because I was on a strict time schedule with the patio installer who was substantially upset himself by the township’s delay in the schedule. The delay would cause havoc in his timing for other jobs. To make matters worse, I was told by one of the township inspectors that the initial rejection would cause another two week delay in the final approval of my project (assuming the next submission is accepted and not rejected again). In my mind, this process could conceivably go on indefinitely!
I complained to my friend that, to make matters worse, the township clerk had made a mistake in the official date my application was stamped as received by the township. I said that the stamped date was a week later than my actual submission. I felt that was careless on the part of the township clerk and could cause further delay in my resubmitted application if it should happen again.
My friend painstakingly explained the procedure for validating the permit submissions to prove to me that the mistake could not have occurred. The stamped date had to be, according to my friend, the actual date of my submission. We argued this point back and forth a bit, each of us sure we were correct. It wasn’t long before I could tell my friend was getting offended. This was not my intent so I quickly shut the conversation down. We ended on an uncomfortable, but somewhat friendly note.
Soon after this discussion with my friend, I saw in my calendar that I had indeed submitted the application on the date stamped by the township. I was wrong and my friend was correct!! Now I was confronted with a real dilemma. How should I make this offense right with my friend.
For all intents and purposes, I could remain silent on the matter and just let the disagreement fade away. Or, I could fess up and apologize for creating an unnecessary fuss by falsely accusing her coworkers of carelessness. As I considered my options, I could feel pride start to rise up within me. I reasoned to myself that I should not have to apologize when the township had put me through so much aggravation. On the other hand, my friend was not in any way responsible for the predicament. I knew the right thing would be to apologize to my friend, which I promptly did.
The moral of the story is that, regardless of who is right in a disagreement, an apology is never wrong. Even if I had found out that I was correct about the submission date, it would have been a good thing to apologize to my friend just for having created a disturbance about it. An apology is meant to create peace between parties. And that is always a good thing. So, in an effort to encourage peace, I’ll be making a greater attempt to apologize more often! Will you join me in this endeavor?
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