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.