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Oh, Brother! – Part 9

, , , , , , , , | Working | September 7, 2023

When my elder brother was barely two years old, he already had a reputation for being even more rambunctious than the average little boy. It got to the point that my parents needed to get a fence installed between the back porch and the backyard to keep him from escaping into the yard without supervision and sneaking out into the street from there.

When they contracted someone to build the fence, the work order explicitly said that it needed to be suitable to prevent a child from climbing over it. The work order got signed off, the fence got built, and then Mother got called over to inspect and sign the work off.

Mother took one look at the fence and declared that it was not fit for purpose. It was not childproof. The workmen tried to argue with her that she was mistaken. The foreman swore up and down that the fence would work.

Mother: “[Brother], come here, please!”

My big brother barrelled out of the house, did not even pause for one second to scale the fence in its entirety, and was right at Mom’s feet before a few seconds had gone by.

Brother: “Yes, Mommy?”

The fence was removed.

Oh, Brother! – Part 8
Oh, Brother! – Part 7
Oh, Brother! – Part 6
Oh, Brother!, Part 5
Oh, Brother! – Part 4

The Glass Is Half Empty Or Half Full

, , , , , , | Right | July 20, 2023

We are a bunch of contractors working for a small machine shop. A walk-in customer has come in asking for a custom part. We run through the details, and he agrees on a cost.

Customer: “What if I needed the part today?”

Coworker: “There’s a rush fee of [total].”

Customer: “That’s fine; just hurry.”

Coworker: “So, that’s [total].”

Customer: “I’ll run to the bank to get the cash. Please just get started as it’s urgent.”

This should be the first red flag, but some customers do pay with cash, so we get started. He comes back and we have the part ready for him, but when he hands over the cash to my coworker…

Coworker: “This is only half the amount.”

Customer: “Yeah, things are tight right now. Just don’t be a d**k about it and I’ll get the rest to you.”

Coworker: “We can’t give you the part unless you pay in full up-front.”

Customer: “My dad gets stuff from you guys and pays you back all the time.”

Coworker: “It’s likely he’s an established client with an earned amount of credit. You’re a walk-in customer we don’t know.”

Customer: “Well, we need to do something because I need the part now. I’ll pay you the rest in a month or so.”

Coworker: “Fair enough. 

And with that, my coworker steps behind the counter, cuts his part in half on one of the industrial saws, and gives him one of the halves!

Coworker: “We’ll give you the other half in a month or so.”

Cost to us: an hour or so of labor and a couple of dollars of material. The look on the client’s face? Priceless.

If You’re A Jerk For The Sake Of It, The Universe Will Do You No Favors

, , , , , | Right | July 18, 2023

I work for a flooring company that deals with many private contractors. We have a regular contractor who is always a jerk to us, but today, he is being particularly awful and abusive.

Contractor: “I’m here for my order.”

Me: “For which client?”

Contractor: “I don’t know. Just look me up.”

Me: “I can’t do that. I need to know your client’s name, contact information, or order number.”

Contractor: “You see me here all the time. Just look me up! Jesus Christ!”

Me: “Without that information, I can’t help you.”

I happily move on to the next customer. [Contractor] stands around glaring at me for a minute before he gets the hint that I’m not going to help him and storms off.

He comes back a little later with some snide look as he pulls his cell phone out of his pocket and makes a call. He gets on the phone.

Contractor: “Hey, it’s [Contractor]. I’m at [Floor Store]. Yeah, they lost your order.”

Then, he looks at me and tells me the client wants to speak to me. Normally, I refuse to speak to someone on a phone that isn’t mine or a company phone, but this time, I’m done. I oblige and take the phone from him and bring it to my ear. Before the customer can say anything, I say:

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from [Floor Store Warehouse]. I’m here with your contractor. He doesn’t know what your name is and didn’t have any of your contact information when he came in earlier. If you could give that to me, I’d be happy to find your order for him and load him up once I verify he’s authorized to receive it.”

His smug smile is replaced by a blank stare of horror. The customer responds.

Customer: “I see. My name is [Customer].”

I shuffle through my files and find his order.

Me: “I’ve found the order. Is [Contractor] your contractor?”

Customer: “Not anymore. Please hand the phone back to him. I’ll arrange a pickup at a later date. Thanks for your help.”

 I never saw [Contractor] again after that.

Stretching Them Until They Snap Like Thin Rubber Bands

, , , , , , , | Working | March 27, 2023

My wife got a job working in the office for a local contractor. It was stressful and not particularly well-paying, but she stuck it out until the day the owner came in upset because someone had used a thin rubber band instead of a fat rubber band on the outgoing correspondence. He proceeded to lecture the entire office on this for ten minutes before [Wife] began to snicker. She said it was simply too ridiculous. And then she laughed.

The old man got upset.

Owner: “You don’t seem to be taking this seriously.”

Wife: “I’m not. How can anyone take this seriously?”

Owner: “Then maybe you don’t really need to be working here.”

Wife: “You’re right. I don’t. I quit.”

She picked up her stuff and left.

They called her for months asking her to come back, but she just laughed and said no.

That’s For Standing Up For Yourself!

, , , , , , , | Legal | March 7, 2023

I work for a home installation company. Like a lot of businesses, we belong to the Better Business Bureau, and we have an A+!

We have a couple who wants a bay window and some new siding. Great! That is just what we do, and we do it well. The job is slated to take two weeks. During installation, the customer calls and wants to have us look at their patio door; we do that, too!

Well, the boss arrives at the appointed time to discuss the new door, only to find that the customer is drunk at 3:00 pm and raring to fight with anyone.

My boss is not to be messed with. He will be professional and courteous, but the minute someone gets abusive, he will shut it down hard. So, drunk hubby starts by putting down the boss, stating we’re overcharging them, telling us that he could have done the job by himself, etc. My boss tries to reason with the customer’s wife while she is trying to get her husband to shut up but to no avail.

Finally, the boss tells the man to sober the h*** up and excuses himself, stating that he can come back at a better time.

The next day is when the bay window is set for installation. The bay window comes with an unfinished (not stained or painted) seat; the entire area of the seat is maybe three square feet.

The customer instantly pitches a major fit when they see it. We hear everything in the book: we promised we would do it, we never mentioned it, we offered to have the factory do it, etc.

None of this is true; in fact, on the customer’s contract, directly above where they sign, it states that we do not do any staining or painting. On this particular contract, the salesman even starred it when they were signing.

This is our inter-office signal that they did in fact review the paint/stain clause with the customer. This type of situation is exactly why we started doing this, and it has saved our butts before.

The customer will not be mollified! We must stain it and stain it now or she is not paying!

Again, the boss really hates to be pushed and he counters with, “If you don’t pay, we’ll exercise our lien rights.” We simply file a single piece of paper with the courthouse and then the lien is on file. Then, both sides have thirty days to come to an agreement.

Well, the customer stains the seat, and the installer collects the balance when he is done. The project is complete, and the customer never has to deal with the boss again. Or so I think.

Then, we receive the Better Business Bureau complaint this morning. No dispute on the price, no dispute on the product, no real dispute at all. The wife is just unhappy with the boss and wants an apology.

IT’S BEEN THREE MONTHS since the incident! Three months and they are still stewing? I treated them extremely well, and the installer treated them above and beyond, as well. But because my boss stood up for himself and told your husband to knock it off, we owe you an apology?

My answer to the BBB is to give them the entire scenario. I state that this job has been complete for three whole months now, and there is no dispute over the product. The account has been paid, and I also attach the original contract with the customer’s signature next to the starred No-Stain clause. I detail the abuse, and the boss’s response, backed by me and a fellow installer as witnesses.

Now, this lady claims she is going to go all over the Internet to tarnish our name. So now we’re building a case of libel against them. All this over a boss refusing to take abuse.