Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Flakes, Losers, & The 1%

I’ve been in a bit of a bad mood lately and when I get like this it doesn’t take much to tick me off. I start to divide the world in to three distinct groups. Forty Nine point Five percent of the people I come in to contact with seem to be flakes. Another 49.5% come off as losers. The final 1% are the normal people who don’t have their heads up their ass. And just to be sure, all House Bloggers and anyone reading this blog right now falls in to the last 1%. Everybody else better stay the hell out of my way.

It’s not just my bad mood that makes me think this way, but it’s my bad left foot as well. I’m having some minor and temporary problems with it and I can barley wear shoes. By the time I get off work my left foot is killing me and I can’t wear shoes for the rest of the day. All I can do to keep it elevated. It really sucks, and it’s doing nothing to help me see the world in a better light. I am taking red wine for the pain.

The people who occupy these different categories are not fixed in their place. They can move from category to category in a matter of seconds. Also, a person can be both a flake and a loser at the same time, but if they are in either of the first two groups they can’t at the same time be in the normal 1% group. I don’t make this stuff up people. This is one of the basic laws of the universe.

Here’s an example of how someone can be a flake one moment and then quickly move in to the 1% group.

On January 2nd I blogged about finally getting the marble vanity for the bathroom. I talked about how I needed to get some marble pieces to do the skirting around the base of it. The skirting is made up of 3 simple pieces of marble. Each one is 5-inches wide and about 2 feet long. There is no special milling that needs to be done and the edges don’t even need to be polished. Just some simple cuts and it’s done.

I went back to the shop where I got the slab for the kitchen island because I knew they had some remnants that would be perfect. I figured I could get one piece that was 5-inches wide and 6-feet long and then I could cut it to size when I go to set up the vanity. I imagined I would walk in and tell the guys what I needed and walk out with a piece of marble. I mean, how long could it take to make one cut? Well, it turns out it took almost 6 weeks.

I don’t remember exactly when I went in to the marble place but let’s say it was January 4th, 2 days after I got the vanity. This is probably pretty close to being true. I told the guy what I needed and we went out to the yard to looked at the remnants. We found a piece and discussed it for about 30 seconds because it was really a simple order. The remnant was close to the door and maybe only 15-feet from the saw. I expected him to pick up the remnant and cut it as I was standing there but instead he said, “I can get it for you in about 2 weeks”. I tried not to look shocked.

I sort of murmured to myself, “Hmm, two weeks, uh?”. He asked if I needed it sooner, and I decided I really didn’t, so I said that two weeks would be fine. It could be months before I install the vanity but I do want to set it up first to test how all of the pieces fit together. There is the vanity top, the 3 piece skirting, 2 legs, and 2 wall brackets. The legs will need to go in to small holes drilled in the tile floor and the wall brackets will be mounted with screws in the tile wall. It’s a one shot deal to get it right. The plan is to set it up some place else first and make a template before I start drilling in to my new tiled wall and floor. Even so, there is plenty to do and there is no rush at this point. The only other option is a monument maker in town, but I’ve never dealt with them. I’ve dealt with these guys and I know they have exactly what I want. I can wait two weeks.

More than 3 weeks later I called to see if the marble was ready. He told me they never got to it. This is one cut. That’s it. Just one lousy 6-foot cut with a saw. I played it cool and asked him how much longer it would be. He said they were in the process of moving the shop and wouldn’t be able to get to it for “a while”. I asked how long “a while” was and he said another week. I told him I would call back in a week, which would have been a week ago Monday. He said, “Better make it Friday”.

I called back on Friday and it still wasn’t done. He gave me some sob story about the forklift breaking and the new shop still wasn’t set up. I’m screaming to myself, “It’s one fucking 6-foot long cut of marble!!!”. Again, though, I kept my cool. He assured me it would be done on Monday.

Yesterday I got a call that the marble was cut, so I went down today to pick it up. As I was writing the check he asks, with a sort of dim witted drawl, “So, are you going to be needing anymore marble”. I wanted to look at him and say, “If I did, I sure as hell wouldn’t come back here”. Instead I didn’t even look up at him and just said, “No”. He continues, “’Cause if you needed more we still have this piece here we can cut from”. It was a piece of white marble about 6-feet long and a foot wide. I assured him I would not be needing anymore marble. So finally he said, “Well, do you want this piece then”. I looked at him surprised and asked, “You mean I can have it”. He went on to tell me how they didn’t want to move odd sized remnants and I could have it if I wanted it. I said sure and he carried it out to my truck.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with it, but when you have a lot of friends who own old Victorians you can never have enough white marble. Although I don’t think the marble guy is going to be switching categories any time soon, for one brief moment he sort of drifted from the flake camp and in to that 1%. I can’t be sure how long he stayed there, but I suspect it was a short visit.


merideth said...

wow. when do you ever get something for free because you dont agree to buy it? nice one!

mindy said...

Nice - at least after all the stress and frustration that guy caused you, he gave you a little token gift to take away. I'm sure you'll find a creative use for the marble.

It's really amazing how many people think that things like deadlines and promises just don't matter all that much. It's a terrible way to do business. Call me anal, but when someone says they'll be done with something on a certain date, they sure as hell better be or I get all bent out of shape. Because when I say I'll have something done, be it work or freelance stuff or even just a friendly favor, it'll be done - even if I have to work late or rearrange things to make it happen.

You've hit a terrible string of luck, but maybe the free marble is a turning point. I'm crossing my fingers for you!

derek said...

I guess at least he knew he screwed up by screwing you around, and tried to make amends. I wouldn't want to deal with that kind of business again, even if they give away free marble.

Greg said...

I'm the same was as you, Mindy. If I tell someone I'm going to do something by a certain date or time I make sure it gets done. On those occasions where things beyond my control cause delays, I call and inform the person of the delay BEFORE the deadline.