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CAUSE FOR REFLECTION

I once was called on the carpet for painting an addition to a hotel the wrong color. I had been responsible for matching the color of the existing building to paint the addition, and the two structures abutted one another. Where they met, there was a slight but discernable difference but only when viewed from a distance. In a sense, I was too close to the trees to see the forest. I argued that my color match was accurate and set about to prove it. I painted a large swath of color from the addition onto the existing building. When the paint dried the match was perfect on both structures: tah duh!

My self-assuredness earned me a ride in the owner’s upscale SUV to a location several hundred yards from the hotel. He was in the front seat with the building contractor, and I was in the back seat. I felt like a little kid in trouble. When we reached our new viewpoint the difference in color was apparent. The owner spoke up, “Now please don’t try to tell me that those two colors are the same.” I stared for a moment and then spotted the source of the problem. The two adjoining sections of building were over a porch roof. The older section of porch roof was tiled in dark blue tile; the newer section was covered in plywood awaiting tile. The problem was reflected light. I explained that the blue tile was reflecting light up onto the siding and that the problem would end as soon as blue tile was applied to the new porch roof. The owner responded, “I’ve been in the construction business for a long time and there is one thing I don’t appreciate and that is when someone tries to feed me a line of b___ s___.” Apparently, he wasn’t accepting my explanation.

I was ordered to stop work while he brought in color experts to solve the problem. My job was stopped for three weeks and the problem was finally resolved when the plywood was overlaid with blue tile.


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