Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Am Not a Wilting Violet

          I have lost every bit of patience I used to possess.  People seem to understand this and are doing their level best to see just how far they can go before I blow.  I used to just ignore them, writing it off to stupidity.  But now, well now I can’t.  Yes, you are stupid and no I won’t give you the benefit of the doubt that you actually know what you are doing.  Prove it to me without the lecture you reserve for an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimers.
         It’s summer, almost, and time for the pool to be prepared for those long, lazy days when I can sit and just enjoy the water.  Hubby and the boys uncovered the pool a couple of weeks ago and started to get everything ready, only to discover that some of the pipes had burst over the winter.  We called our local pool company to come fix it and get the pool in shape for the summer.  The pool guys fixed everything and then told me the news that the heater had also expired during the long winter months.  I know it’s hedonistic but I love the water to be warm; a shock of cold water is not something I relish.  So I ordered a new heater.  The heater was there the next day and installed, except for the gas.  We had to get the gas company to come and run a six inch pipe.  No problem, or so I thought.
         The gas company set a time for an employee to come out and run the six inch copper pipe – a half hour job.  Now, as I have gotten older I know that here in the South, men don’t think women understand a thing about machines, plumbing, electricals or anything they consider a manly job.  First incorrect assumption.  I have had plenty of men in my life who took the time to explain these things to me and I have a pretty good working knowledge of all things involved in any manly area of expertise.
         The guy came at 9:00 AM for the scheduled appointment.  I have just started a new WIP and didn’t want to waste a lot of time with him.  I showed him the heater, where it needed to be connected and left him to it, or so I thought.  I returned to the computer and sat down, only to be interrupted by a pecking at my back door about twenty minutes later.  There stood the little guy, a clipboard in hand.  Good, he was done.  I could pay him and return to my writing.  I opened the door and he took a step as if to enter.  Mason, the Doberman, had been standing there silently watching and he didn’t take too kindly to this.  I grabbed the dog just before he made a mid-morning snack out of the guy.  The guy retreated a couple of steps as I pushed Mason back inside and stepped onto the porch, check book in hand.  I was a little perturbed about his action but I held my tongue.  Who tries to step into a house uninvited?
         The guy proceeds to tell me that the gas company has been sold to a larger conglomerate.  Okay…  He continued explaining that the new company wanted everything that is connected to gas in the house inspected, which included writing down serial numbers, BTUs, etc.  I calmly told him that I didn’t care.  The look of shock on his face was priceless.  But he had to do this, he stammered.  It was his job.  So?  I replied.  This was getting annoying.  So, he informed me, it was a federal regulation and he had to make sure there were no problems inside.  Ah, federal regulations, something I knew about from my years with the FEDS.  Okay so tell me the CFR number for the reg and I would look it up, I told him, barely suppressing my glee (I had him now).  He trudged off to his truck to call the office.  He returned to say it wasn’t federal, it was state.  Okay, I said, give me the state reg number.  He shuffled around for a minute and then admitted there really wasn’t a state reg either:  it was company policy.  Again I said: So?  By now he looked like he was about to cry.  He’d just started this job and he needed the work and he’d lose it if he didn’t do this.  So?  I again replied, feeling myself starting to waiver.  I wanted to be stern and hold my ground but visions of his four kids (yes he told me about them – probably not true but…) starving because I was being a hard case didn’t sit too well.
         So, he said, if he couldn’t do the inspection, he was disconnecting the tank from the house and I would be without gas.  Now that ticked me off.  I told him to pack up and get off my property – I’d find a new company.  Just then Providence intervened, my hubby called to see if the work had been completed.  And, I suspect, to see if the worker was still alive – I have a track record with these guys, any workers who presume I am a wilting violet.  Hubby calmly told me to let the guy in and just get it over with; it shouldn’t take too long.  Trying to change over a thousand gallon tank, a five-hundred gallon tank and a two-hundred-fifty gallon tank right now was not something we wanted to deal with given we were about to go out of town.  He was right, sadly.  But I railed a few more minutes about lying and dishonest business practices, all in front of the little guy.
         Fast forward to FIVE HOURS  later.  The guy had dismantled three fireplaces, two of the gas air units, and my brand-new commercial stove.  I had followed him every step, ranting and raving about wasting time.  He couldn’t get one of the air units working after he’d dismantled it which meant the air conditioner on one side of my house was not working.  I was getting hot and VERY ANGRY.  I finally told him to wrap it up and get out or I was turning the Doberman loose.  I was sitting on the front steps when my hubby pulled in, surprised the guy was still there.  I gritted my teeth and told hubby to never tell me to be reasonable.  I just didn’t ever want to be reasonable again.  He laughed and waited for the gas guy to come out with his little clipboard.
         Ah, the glee of the gas guy as he was writing up the bill.  He had a fellow male there and all was well.  He kept telling my husband that maybe he should have rescheduled when my hubby was there, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  The gas guy gave me a smile and said there were no hard feelings for how I had acted.  I told him I didn’t give a hot damn and a few other choice things which would have shocked my mother.  My hubby knew that was coming so he took the bill to prevent further expletives.  It was for the entire inspection plus the installation of the pipe.  A whopper.  Now it was hubby’s turn to rant and I could see it building but I interrupted, snatching the bill.  I told the guy I wasn’t paying it; they could eat their time for the inspection and sue me for it.  I wasn’t afraid of going to court  The guy blanched, went to his truck, called corporate and then came back.  The bill had been substantially reduced to the INSTALLATION of the pipe.  Gee, what a surprise.  I wrote the check, shoved it at him and went inside. 
         Later that evening, we went out to the pool to turn on the heater.  It didn’t work, wouldn’t even come on.  Too late to call the pool company.  I gave my hubby a nasty look and told him I wasn’t dealing with any more “guys.”   We’re still waiting for the pool company to show up…

         Are you a victim, if you’re female, of being treated like a stupid wilting violet by workmen?  Have you ever had a similar experience?  How do you handle it?  Do you think this is just a sign of the times to be treated shabbily by the service industry?  I do, and I still have the Doberman.  At least I have one male who understands my distaste of workmen and he has teeth.


  1. If you give a mouse a clipboard, he's going to want to make your life hell.

    I especially hate Sears. Once, my two month old dryer went out. The repairman gave me a song and dance about how they had to ship the part to me and then he had to come back and the process was going to take two two weeks. Did I mention it was mid-December? I said I could not do without a dryer for two weeks, especially this time of year.

    Then he said to me--don't look away this is good--that I might have to go to Wal-mart and buy some new underwear.

    I marked up him thinking that he cold mention underwear to me as ignorance and moved on to how I didn't have to do anything.

    Then, I explained patiently that I wasn't waiting two weeks. That I would simply have the dryer picked up due to dissatisfaction since it was under warranty. He had the audacity to tell me that if I did that, it would be two weeks before I could get a new one.

    "You think so?" I said. "I guaran-damn-tee you, I can go to one of many stores that are not Sears, write a check and I'll have a new one in the morning."

    Sears brought me a new dryer the next morning.

    My stories don't always end this well. I usually have to get HIM involved. He looks sweet and he is, but you don't want to mess with him if he you have been unfair--especially if there is money involved. He doesn't fudge on his taxes, leave work one minute early, or turn in one gray area dime for reimbursement to anyone. And he is going to have the same behavior out of everyone or you are going to hear about it for a long, long time.

    1. Gee Jean, sounds like if that had been me he should have been worried about being stuffed in the dryer for the underwear remark. I don't get why these guys think it's okay to get personal. And yes, I am now researching my options about changing gas companies. For some reason the whole experience, unlike my previous 13 years with this company left a sour taste in my mouth. :)

      And my hubby gets involved when the volcano has already erupted. He seems to be the calm, level-headed one of this couple. I am like your Guy; I expect everyone to be honest, forthright and honorable - sadly I get disappointed quite a bit. Kind of set myself up for it by having too high expectations.

  2. Sadly, I get this kind of treatment all the time. I'm told it's because my voice sounds so sweet. You don't want to hear my response. I've adopted many, many expletives that my children have been threatened within a quarter-inch of life if I ever hear them repeat them. Language is my weapon, I suppose. Well, and a fist shaking in the wind or a foot threatening to enter backside parts. And I could probably write an entire book on situations I've been in like yours, Cheryl, and about half of them are from women!
    What the ...?

    The best incident was with Clair at Dillard's when she was four. The saleslady would not take my gift return/exchange without a receipt. Wouldn't even consider it. Put up a lead wall between she and I, she did. And my mother-in-law didn't have the receipt for the dress. The dress was the wrong size and this particular store did not have any more of that exact style. And of course it didn't have any tags. But it DID have their store brand tag inside the collar! But nope. She wasn't going to budge. And Clair, pretty little girly-girl Clair in her mary-janes and frilly dress had had enough. She piped up and said in the sweetest little voice you ever heard..."Excuse me Ma'am?" Hands went to hip here. "You really don't want to piss my momma off!" I gasped. I sputtered. The saleslady looked at me in horror! And there stood little Clair at the sales desk with a big smile on her face! We got a new dress that day.

    1. Pardon me for this

      I am reading a book you have got to read. It's set in Cajun country. I swear, it's playing your song. So funny.

      Cake Icing, Butt Budder and Tea Lids by Renee Andrews.


    2. T-Roy Bertrand? Really? OMG that sound just like home! I've got to read it :D Thanks Jean!

    3. Lesia, my son has done the same thing with me. He always told people when he was little "please don't make my mother mad." Now that he is grown he simply slips away when he sees my temper building with a salesperson - I am abandoned. LOL

  3. I'm sorry this happened to you, Cheryl, especially after you hurt your arm.

    I haven't had too many problems, even though my voice is soft. I love to go places where men think I'm stupid. And I love to show them how wrong they are. (wink) How? Taking my money elsewhere.

    1. Hey, it's par for my luck Kathy. I too like to show these guys that they have underestimated me. I went one time to test drive a Mercedes. I was dressed in blue-jeans because it was raining. The sales guy took one look at me, then told me that because it was raining he didn't think I could test drive a car. I went over to Lexus, drove a car and bought it. Then I went back to the Mercedes dealership, rolled down the window and told the guy "You work on commission right? Well, you made a big mistake." Then I drove off. I am now on my fifth Lexus.