It Was A Dire Wolf Whistle

, , , , , , , | Working | December 16, 2017

I am a female engineer, and part of my job involves going to the various construction sites for my projects to inspect work and attend meetings. Please note that in my area, white hardhats are worn only by supervisors, inspectors, and engineers — basically anyone with authority on the site. All other personnel wear other coloured hardhats.

One day, I am walking up to the site dressed in regular “civilian” clothing. When I get to the gate, I stop and start rummaging in my bag to get out my construction gear. As I do so, a construction worker in a yellow hat sees me and starts wolf-whistling, trying to catch my eye. I don’t say anything, but pull out my white hat and plop it on my head. His eyes go wide, and I hear a quiet “Oh, s***!” as he scrambles out of sight.

I spent four hours on site, but didn’t see him for the rest of my visit.

The Color Of Incompetence

, , , , , | Working | December 8, 2017

I am draftsman in a construction company. I recently did a project modernizing a school. Since it was a public school, our client was the city’s planning department and the person in charge was a civil servant with degrees in architecture and engineering.

Right at the start, things got out of hand. After submitting our ground-plans I got a call from the civil servant. She explained to me that she didn’t like the colours in the plans. I politely explained to her that the colours were determined by a standard and that there was nothing I could do about it. Submitting plans not according to standard can be a huge hassle, since they can be rejected, and we’d have to start over with the approval process. Nevertheless, she insisted we change the colours, so I told her I’d talk to my boss about it.

He told me to propose to her that we’d change the colours under the condition that they pay the entire price for the planning twice as overhead. He hoped that this would make her back down, since that’s a lot of money for essentially ten minutes of work. The civil servant, however, immediately agreed to it.

From there on, it only went downhill. Turns out the architect had planned a server farm in a heritage-protected attic made out of extremely flammable 200-year-old wood. No way we could weld or solder up there without a 24/7 fire-watch person. We proposed a solution to the engineering lady: Using plastic tubes instead of the steel tubes, which would not only be cheaper but also last longer. The lady in charge immediately declined and said we should hire a fire-watch at their cost.

As you can imagine, the project soon went over budget and we had to stop working midway through, since there were no funds left. By then, we had installed all the tubes and cables, but the actual server farm and cooling units were still missing. Four years went by like that and the legal warranty for our work expired.

The city soon took note of that and pleaded to the state government for securing more funds. They got barely enough money to finish the project. However, engineering lady had another plan and used the money to extend the warranty for another four years… for a system not running. Always glad to see my tax dollars well spent.

Unfiltered Story #98654

, | Unfiltered | October 23, 2017

(Note: We’re finishing up painting the last room of a massive house. Our contract allows for weather issues, but asserts that payment for painting is due on a concrete date.

My boss is talking to the owners of a house we’re currently painting.)

Boss: Unfortunately until the weather clears up we can’t continue painting.

Owner 1: *suddenly enraged* What! Why?

Boss: Because we’re using a high gloss paint, we can’t paint under 18C. The paint becomes watery and-.

Owner 2: You’ve barely been here all week! This is completely unacceptable and unprofessional!

Boss: As I have stated in previous emails this week, a s have stated ma’am, the weather is making painting impossible. You can check on our paintcans if you want; it is clearly labelled that this paint cannot be used in cool weather. As soon as the weather clears up, we guarantee we’ll be back to finish off the last coat of your pantry, but the paint literally cannot be used until then.

Owner 2: Well I certainly won’t be paying a cent until you finish the job!

Boss: I understand your frustration ma’am, but we have a legally binding contract. The rain and cold weather is holding us up, but as soon as the weather clears up, we can finish off the last room.

Owner 1: *with a smug smile* Well, I hope the weather clears up too, because the rain and cold may be holding up our payment too.”

Trying To Posit How Deposits Work

, , , , , , | Right | October 18, 2017

(A customer calls to accept her quote, and pay the scheduling deposit.)

Customer: “Okay, so, I am going to pay $300 deposit today, and pay the rest when the guys get here. I need you here September 8.” *in three days*

Me: “I’m sorry, that won’t work. We are currently booking the end of October, and we require a 50% non-refundable deposit, up to $2,500, now, in order to hold your place in the schedule. Your entire job will cost about $14,000, so that means we need the $2,500 now.”

Customer: “I don’t want to pay that much now, and I can’t wait until the end of October. I will pay $500 now, so you can hold my spot, and I’ll let you come September 15. Then I will call around and see if I can get someone out here sooner than that; if I can, I’ll get the money refunded back to pay them instead of you.”

Me: “Well, you are welcome to call around if you like, but I will need the $2,500 now if you would like your spot at the end of October held, and as it says in your contract, that amount is non-refundable.”

Customer: “Well, that policy is illegal. You can’t keep my deposit if I can find someone else to do it first! You probably lose a lot of money that way!”

Me: “We do lose some jobs because people need us to come sooner than we are able; that is why all deposits are non-refundable. If we lose another job because the end of October is booked with your job, and then you cancel, we can use your deposit to make payroll, keep our employees so we are able to do the rest of the jobs we have scheduled, and cover overhead even though we have nothing booked and have lost other potential jobs for it. We usually book out two to eight weeks in advance, at all times of the year, so I don’t think we are losing a lot of custom over this. It’s also not illegal, and clearly laid out in your contract.”

Customer: “Fine, I will just pay on credit card today; at least that way I can cancel the charge if I find someone else who can do it sooner.”

Me: “And you’ve just said the magic words! Now we require payment by certified cheque or bank draft for the whole amount before we will put you in the schedule. Whenever you drop that off at the office, I can book you in at that time. For every day you wait, our lead time gets two to three days longer until after Christmas, when our lead times start to drop. I will send you an email confirming the new terms of your contract.”

Customer: “You can’t do that; it’s illegal to charge for goods before the customer gets them. You can’t do this. Deposits are always refundable; it’s the law! You aren’t allowed to do this!”

Me: “You should go explain those laws to [Coffee Shop] and to every hotel, ever, ma’am. You have a nice day now.”

Sizing Up To Be A Nice House

, , , , | Romantic | August 25, 2017

(After years of scrimping, planning, and renting a tiny room in a small condo to save money, my husband and I are buying a house. We’re still constantly staggered by how big it feels, especially compared to what we’re used to. He takes a picture of me in front of it, and then shows me the picture on his phone.)

Husband: “You look so small!”

Me: “Yes, but in my defense, almost EVERY house is bigger than me. Not just this one.”

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