Saturday, September 6, 2014

Carrot or Stick?

Yesterday the plumber confirmed we had a broken sewer pipe from when the gas company put in the new gas lines.. He told me I needed to try and get the city to fix it.. He warned me this would be a long process, and said I should have our lawyer contact them. The "committee of old dudes" who live on our street popped over to see what the hell was going on.. they too warned me about dealing with the city. They told me to raise hell and demand the city earn the taxes we pay. I chose not to do this. I called the city. Due to a bad connection I had to go down there. One of the public works guys came out and told me I needed to contact the gas company. He gave me two names. So I did, I called, and they said they'd look into it. I figured that was their way of giving me the runaround.

Today, Fred from the gas company came out to investigate. "Guilty as charged", he said. "We did work here. If it's broke it's on us." He left to notify the contractors who did the work. Within an hour he called and said they'd be out today to fix it... within an hour of that call he was here waiting for the backhoe to arrive. I was shocked, thanked him for being "johnny on the spot". He replied, "well, you were civil. If you would have yelled at me about it I probably wouldn't have worked with you. You can get a lot done if you're decent." From there he told me stories of people who were jerks to city workers and inspectors and were treated poorly because of it.. One guy was fined over 15,000 bucks for not filling out proper paperwork before tearing down his house. When the code enforcer showed up to tell him he needed to stop work immediately, the guy said, "who the fuck are you to tell me what to do on my property." That line cost the guy over 15,000 bucks, the code enforcer was just going to make him stop and get the proper permits, but after that he decided to fine him.

Our sewer line has been has been fixed. The contractors came out at lunch time and did it. In less than 24 hours of reporting it, the problem was solved. I never once had to raise my voice, or demand anything. They also have assured me any bills or costs from this will be reimbursed in full.. just goes to show you can get a lot further by not being a douchebag.. it's taken me 30 some years to get here, if only I'd learned this lesson a bit earlier in life...

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