Liars, Drunks, and Crazy People!
Over the past few months I have been doing some remodel work at our home and boat house on Beaver Lake. This has required me to enlist the help of several local contractors. The first one I enlisted was a carpenter who supposedly doing business in the area for years. I had a recommendation from another resident at the lake. So I contacted him to do the work. He was to move a wall, which included plumbing, electrical, drywall, and tile installation. We agreed upon the scope of work and the price and the estimated completion date. So the project started on time. The demolition was completed. It was at this point the progress stalled. It became increasingly difficult to get a straight story as to what was happening and the completion date continued to move farther out. Eventually the wall was moved and the plumbing and electrical work were completed. This left the drywall and tile work as the only portion of the project to be completed.
Then one day I was at the house doing some other work as two young men and a young lady casually walked in. I asked what was up as they replied they were there to work on the drywall. I replied something like, “Really. That bathroom is six feet by ten feet. How are you going to get three people in there?” I then asked the young lady what here job was. She replied that she was there to observe. At that point I assumed that I was an unexpected guest. I called the contractor to report and asked what was up. Within ten minutes he was on the job screaming at the three as he told them to get off the jobsite. From then on the whole job crumbled. It was one lie after another. I simply had no way of knowing when and how the project was to be finished. Finally one day I pressed him as to the progress and he replied with a text message that he was pulling off he job. He stated that these people who had been working for him had left several jobs in a state of flux and he simply couldn’t deal with all of them. He told me to keep the money I owed him and that he was sorry for leaving me sit with an incomplete project. This was the first truthful thing the guy said in weeks. Even though I was somewhat bewildered by all this I was relieved because I finally knew my position. I made a couple contacts to reputable Omaha contractors and the project was completed without a hitch. This guy was a liar!!
The second of these contractors was an electrician. I got his name out of the yellow pages. I needed several plugins installed in the boathouse along with wiring to the light fixtures. The guy came out looked at the job and said it would take him about a day. That seemed reasonable to me so I gave him the job. He started the following Tuesday. I arrived on Wednesday morning to find that, after he and another guy had put in a full day, the project was not even half finished. Since he was not on the job I called him to see what was up. He stated he had another little job to do and that he would be there to complete the project in that afternoon. They arrived at 2 PM. After observing how they worked, I found out what the problem was. The guy who I enlisted to do the work mostly walked around and did nothing while his helper did the work. At 3:30 they were packing up their tools in order to leave. I was at this point I got close enough to the guy to find his breath reeked of alcohol. I confronted him on the spot. Like any typical drunk, he diminished the situation and had some cockamamie reason as to why he was intoxicated. After he left I called his office and spoke to his wife about it so she would know as well as he that I would not tolerate a drunk on my project. The next afternoon the two arrived without the smell of booze and worked for yet another four hours with out completion. As the guy was packing up I told him he was not welcome back and that I expected an accommodation on his bill for being drunk on the project. A couple days later, upon receiving his bill, I found an extra line item for work on a day he wasn’t on the job and another for labor at someone else’s another residence. There was no accommodation for drunkenness, except the two extra line items. I suspected that his wife sent the bill so I called her with the concern. She stated that she only billed me according to what her husband had relayed to her and that she would adjust the bill to reflect only one day labor as we had originally agreed upon. I agreed to this even though it was still unreasonable, given the fact that it took two guys when one would have sufficed. I have found that sometime its best to flush turds like this and move on. This guy no doubt was a drunk!!
The third contractor did some work for me the previous Fall, so I was somewhat familiar with him. He did that work satisfactorily so I contacted him to mud jack a concrete slab under my boathouse because it had settled causing water to pool on the outside, which had rotted the sills. When I first contacted him he did not want to come to the site to view the project, but instead only wanted me to text him pictures. I did so and he gave me a bid via phone conversation. I again said I thought it best if he came to the site in order to look the situation over. After all, this was not lifting a driveway. It was instead lifting a building in order to make it level. Again he refused and said it would be no problem. When he and his two helpers arrived at the site, he stayed in his truck about two hundred feet from the building site while he sent the two helpers down to boathouse to view the project. They were communicating back and forth via text and cell phone conversation. I thought it odd that the guy was two hundred feet away and still would not physically look over what would be required. The previous night I had drilled the concrete and with a laser level, placed grade stakes so they would have indicators as to where the building would need to be lifted in order to make it level. These were completely ignored. Because of this failure the project was little more than chaos as these guys did everything to substantiate their insistence that they were right and that I hadn’t a clue as to what was required to level a building. The tension grew as the day went on and they got little closer to getting the building level. At about 5:30 PM I asked the guy a question that I thought might get them to consider that the information given to them that morning via the grade stakes might be considered. In response, the man went absolutely ballistic. He screamed obscenities at me and he did not stop until I walked away. They packed up and left the site. The fact was that everything he did that day pointed to the reasonableness of following the information I gave them by driving grade stakes and the futility of trying to make water run up hill. After they left that evening, I took a picture of the pooled water on the end of the building. The next morning I texted the picture to him with a note that stated, “It looks to me like the job still is incomplete.” That’s all, one sentence. He immediately called me back screaming a diatribe of what-have-yous. I stated that I would be willing to talk when he calmed down and hung up. Less than a minute later he called back and said he had calmed down. He stated that he would finish the job after I paid him. And that would cost me more. I said I would consider that and ended the conversation. Upon further consideration, I text messaged him the unacceptability of the offer. A few minutes later he texted a demand that I pay him cash and he would come down and finish the job that afternoon. I responded that the typical terms are net thirty and that if he wanted something different that would have to be mutually agreed upon. And that would not happen until we both agreed that the job was done reasonably well. It was then that he told me to keep the money that he wasn’t coming back. However, after that he resorted to name calling a guilt dumping via text message several times for the rest of the day. The next day I called another contractor for a bid on finishing the project. I laid all the business on the table including the trouble I had with the previous contractor. She stated that he was notorious for this kind of behavior and that I was wise to get away from him before he became physical. No doubt one might consider this guy as crazy!!
For years I have expounded the impossibility of doing business with “liars, drunks and crazy people”. The chaos that ensues simply makes it undoable. Unfortunately there are times when these scoundrels are forced upon us, such in the event of a political figure or church pastor. The outcome is always the same, chaos. There is no way to effectively predict how they will respond to any situation because their points of reference are always skewed to accommodate a topsy-turvy manner of thinking. In the instances above, the Liar had people working for him that did every little and extremely poor quality work yet he proceeded as if it was the opposite. The Drunk seemed to think he could work effectively with his brain pickled with booze while the Crazy is likely somewhere still believing water runs uphill. Yikes!! And furthermore consider the chaos when all three of these individuals are embodied in on person. Triple Yikes and then some!!Later.