The Drunkablog, being of the landed gentry, is used to dealing with tradespeople of all sorts. Yesterday, for example, after attempting repairs on a leaky shower faucet in a tenant's apartment, I was forced, through no fault of my own, to call a real plubber, er, plumber.
The first one I called wore a crisp white uniform and carried a shiny metal briefcase. He looked at the faucet and after superciliously pointing out all the things I had screwed up, said he needed to check his "book" to give me an estimate. Then, after much serious thumbsucking and scribbling--
Plubber: Well, there's two ways we can go here. If you go get the [incomprehensible piece of hardware] tomorrow, I can come back and fix it for $567.70.
Me (waving palsied arms and sucking from oxygen tank): Aiiiiieeeeee!!!!
Plubber (observing coolly): The other thing is, I have that part right on my truck. We can get you fixed up right away--
Me: How m- m- m--
Plubber: That would come to $1152.70
Me: [repeats above reaction, plus involuntary (sort of) bowel movement].
Do you know how hard it is to say no to these guys? You still have to pay for them doing absolutely nothing except showing up, you're left with the same problem (it was actually worse, because he left the faucet leaking), and you still have to find someone to fix it. At 9:00 p.m. The immediate impulse is, Oh go ahead and fix the goddamn thing so I don't have to think about it any more.
But this time it was pretty easy not to do that. I mean, $1100? Get bent, wrenchhead.
So this morning I called another place, Good Plumbing Service. The guy who showed up was wearing jeans and an old flannel shirt. He carried his tools in a bucket and looked hungover. And after maybe 20 minutes of fiddling around he was done. Charge: $106.70.
Draw a lesson from this at your own risk.
Update: Why the hell haven't I named the rip-off plumbing company so other Dendrites (as Denver folks are familiarly known) can avoid them? The company is called Plumbline Services ("'Our reputation is comforting'"). Of course, the plumber who wrote the estimate failed to sign it or I'd name him too. (In-joke: Plumbline is a member of the "Tom Martino Troubleshooter Digital Network.")