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One Door Closes, Another One Confuses

, , , , | Working | May 12, 2018

(My mother is looking to have some major work done in our basement: adding heating ducts, getting new cabinets in the kitchen, and putting a shower in the bathroom, among other things. Her father and grandfather owned a kitchen and cabinet company, so she grew up around contracting and has more knowledge than the average homeowner on structure and fixtures. She has hired a contractor who was a recommendation from a trusted and close family member, and she liked the work he did on their house. He has been over a few times to get an idea of the work to be done, and he has come over today with written plans and to knock down a bit of the walls to get an idea of how much work it will be.)

Mom: *pointing on the plans as she goes along* “In the bathroom, we have the two doors here currently. We want to keep them there. I know with the shower going here, [door #1] won’t open all the way. That’s fine. It has to swing this way, because if it swings the other way, you can’t open this [door #2].”

Contractor: “Okay, okay. I see. No, wait. If the shower goes there, [door #1] won’t be able to open all the way.”

Mom: “I know. I’m okay with that. We are keeping [door #1] as it is.”

Contractor: “Okay, so, I’m going to move [door #1] to swing this way so it doesn’t get in the way of the shower.”

Mom: “No, you’re not going to do anything to [door #1]. Keep [door #1] the way it is. If you move it, we can’t access [door #2].”

Contractor: “Okay. So, the shower goes here. And we are moving the [door #2] down here? We can’t do that; it won’t open here! We’ll move [door #2] down here and make [door #1] swing the other way.”

Mom: “No, you’re not listening. Don’t touch the doors. Keep them the way they are. Just put the shower here.”

Contractor: “Oh, okay. So, you want the shower here, then you want me to make [door #1] swing the other way and move [door #2] down here. Got it.”

Mom: *fed up* “NO!” *sigh* “Should we just go down there and look at it in person?”

(He hasn’t started the work yet, but I’m sure she will be close behind him at all times during the project.)

Insurance That Covers Against Acts Of Jehovah

, , , , , | Working | January 2, 2018

(A recent storm has done a lot of damage, so contractors are swarming to local neighborhoods and going door-to-door offering their services. I live with my parents but around this time during the day, I am the only one home. We’ve had a half-dozen guys come through in about four days, and they won’t listen to me when I tell them I have no power to authorize their services. A contractor comes by and gives a spiel about how they are doing free inspections and that most of any work done would be covered by insurance.)

Me: *firmly but not rudely* “I’m really sorry to waste your time, but this is my parent’s house, and we’ve already been checked out. We don’t have any damage. Have a nice day.”

Contractor: “Oh, but even if you have no damage you could still get a new roof on the insurance company! With all the claims in your area they would never know!”

Me: “I’m fairly certain that’s illegal, or at least questionable. I think we’re done here.”

(The guy seems pretty new to this and I feel bad when I see the almost distraught look on his face as I start closing the door.)

Me: *sigh* “Look: I know it’s tough. But I’m telling you that you’re wasting your time on me. Hmm. It’s pretty hot out, and you don’t look so good. If you’d like, I can get you a cold water bottle, but then you should go, okay?”

(After getting him a bottle.)

Contractor: “You just don’t know what it is like, walking house to house in rural areas, just to be rejected over and over. It’s not an easy task, here!”

Me: “Actually, I have a pretty good idea—”

Contractor: “Give me a break! Selling Girl Scout cookies doesn’t count; people love those! I’ve been yelled at today. No one yells at little kids!”

Me: *deadpan* “Actually, I was going to say I’m one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. And I think it’s time you got off my porch.”

(He scampered off as I closed the door. Sadly, someone else from another company came by an hour and a half later, anyway.)

Shouldn’t Have Gone Down That Rabbit Hole

, , , , | Right | June 21, 2017

(I work as a freelance contractor doing computer repair and sometimes take on wiring projects, too. An apartment complex hires me to fix their private cable service across one of their buildings. I am in the unit of four Spanish-speaking young men. I am male, solidly built, but have back trouble and don’t want to aggravate it by moving heavy furniture.)

Me: *in English since I know at least one of them speaks some English* “Can I get some help moving your TV cabinet from the wall?”

One Of The Young Men: “Why, you can’t do it yourself?” *laughter from all four men*

Me: “I’m sure I could but don’t want to risk damaging any of your things. I just need room to open up the cable jack in the wall and test it.”

(Still laughing, one of them helps move the TV cabinet out.)

Other Young Man: *whispering* “Coneja.”

(Directly translated, “rabbit.” However, I knew the term also is a derogatory slang term related to female anatomy.) The others join in, laughing, “Ay, coneja. Sí, coneja.”)

(The whispered jokes continue with more laughter while I open the cable jack, quickly find the problem (poorly attached connector was about to fall off), fasten a new connector and repair the jack, and turn the TV on.)

Me: “It works, see? Now can we move the TV cabinet back in place?”

One Of The Young Men: “Okay.” *turns to other men and whispers* “Qué coneja.” *what a “rabbit”*

(As I am leaving, I turn back to them:)

Me: *all in Spanish* “Have a nice evening and enjoy your cable!”

(Four shocked and mortified faces stared at me as I closed the door.)

Doesn’t Give A Truck

| Working | October 4, 2016

Coworker: “You’re in big trouble!”

Me: “Oh? How so?”

Coworker: “Because you left all the tools in the company truck!”

Me: “So? We’ve got another job in two days. Policy states that it’s perfectly fine to leave the equipment in the truck when you’ve got jobs that close together.”

Coworker: “Really?”

Me: “Yup. Why? What happened?”

Coworker: “Well, someone took the company truck out to visit clients yesterday, and when they got back, they left the windows rolled down. Someone could have stolen everything!”

Me: “Well, wasn’t me. They were rolled up when I finished that job on the weekend. Who took it out to visit clients?”

Coworker: *pregnant pause* “Me.”

Me: “You’re the one you took the truck out?”

Coworker: “Yes.”

Me: “So you’re the one who left the windows rolled down overnight.”

Coworker: “Yes.”

Me: “So whose fault would it have been if everything was stolen out of the truck?”

Coworker: “YOURS, because you’re supposed to empty the truck after a job!”

Me: *annoyed sigh*

Coworker: “I’ll cover for you this time, but next time, you empty the truck!”

Contracting Confusion

| Working | June 2, 2015

(The phone rings and the caller ID shows it is a number from the other side of the country.)

Me: “Hello, [My Name] speaking.”

Caller: “Hello, this is [Contractor]. I’m calling for your quote for the repainting of the outside of your house.”

Me: “Sorry, ma’am, I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong number.”

Caller: *speaking slowly and clear like you would do to a two-year-old* “This is [Contractor]. I. Am. Calling. For. Your. Quote.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but as I said you must have dialed the wrong number; I haven’t contacted any contractor.”

Caller: *sounding slightly desperate* “You don’t understand. This is [Contractor]. I’m calling regarding the repainting of your house.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m in a town about three hours from [Contractor’s Location], and I couldn’t possibly have my house’s outside wall repainted as I live in an apartment. I’m afraid you must have dialed the wrong number.”

Caller: *sounding close to tears* “BUT MY SON GAVE ME THIS NUMBER!”

Me: “Well, probably he gave you a wrong number.”

Caller: “But… my son gave me this number… My son gave me this number.”

Me: “I wish you a nice day. Goodbye.” *hangs up*

(I stood there dumbfounded. Luckily she never called back.)