Monday, July 19, 2010

You Plumb!

Do people not want work? With the country selling its kidneys for rent money, do people not want to earn a bit of cash?

We have a small list of plumbing jobs in my house. Nothing too onerous: a couple of taps that don’t work properly, a leaky sink and a leaky shower, a wonky shower head that refuses to stay in position (so one must shower doing the Hitler salute to keep it over one’s head)... all stuff that a good plumber could sort out in an hour or two. A nice little earner in fact.

But do you think I can commission someone to do the work?!

The first thing I did was to pose the question on my work’s intranet: can anybody recommend a good, reasonably priced plumber?

The response to this was good. Three recommendations plopped into my inbox. Three likely lads championed by satisfied customers.

I rang all of them. All bar one answered and set a time to come round the ol’ gaffe last weekend, take a look and give a quote. I left a phone message with the third and left it at that.

The weekend came but the two plumbers didn’t. No show. Bleeding great. The third one, however, picked up his phone message and rang me back. This looked more promising. He attended within the hour, quoted £80 (I bit his hand off) and said he’d formalize the quote on Monday and get in touch to make arrangements to come and do the job.

Monday came and went. Nothing. Nadda.

OK. Maybe he was busy. Had a rush job on. A little old lady with her rheumatoid arthritic toe jammed up her combi tap. These things happen.

A week later though and the plumber drought continues. Not a sign. Not a dickie-bird. And I’m not sure I can be bothered to chase any of these jokers up.

If they don’t want the work I’m not sure I want to give them my money in the first place.

They can all go and shove their heads down the nearest toilet. After all, some might say that is an occupational hazard (when they actually do their jobs, that is).


37 comments:

The Dotterel said...

Ay-may-zing! Mind you, plumbers are a bit like hospital consultants these days (and they're paid as much) so maybe they're getting choosy about the work they do. You know, afternoon's golf beckoning...

Maybe number three'll send his registrar?

Steve said...

The Dotterel: I'd be happy with a locum...

The Crow said...

I'd be happy to come fix your plumbing, but TSA won't allow my tool kit on board, and the airfare would far outweigh the no-charge-to-you, glad-to-help cost of flying me over.

You were thinking of paying my way, were you not?

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

My husband's a GP. Will he do? Though he will be running the whole of the NHS soon so may not have the time.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Perhaps an emergency or two came along - give the 3rd one a ring and find out I would.

My hot water tank burst last week and my former colleague plumber came round the following day to drain the tank, but won't actually get time to replace it until next Thursday, so having a hard life managing with cold water and boiled kettles at the moment, not to mention an unexpected £600 bill (which will try to claim on insurance)

Steve said...

The Crow: if you swam I could perhaps meet you halfway...?

Trish: if he can give me painkillers for the headaches this is causing he can consider himself hired.

Laura: OK, sounds like your need is greater. I'll send them your way if they get back in touch!

the fly in the web said...

After experience of French plumbers - the ones who leave all the pipes exposed for 'when' there is a leak - I decided to bodge it myself in future for anything that can't cause a disaster and involve insurance.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: can you get here by 4pm tomorrow? I'll make you a cup of tea and everything.

MOTHER OF MANY said...

It took 3 promises of visits and 4 weeks for my boiler check up this year.Obviously my yearly £90 is their bread and butter and they fit it in when they have no emergencies or are bored!

Steve said...

Ally: it must be nice to have a profession that is so constantly lucrative that you can pick and choose customers. Plainly my uni degree was a waste of time and what I should have been doing was getting my bony butt down to plumbing college...!

Wanderlust said...

We live in a fairly nice neighborhood. Several years ago someone started building a home on the lot across from us. It was nice. Very nice. Tricked out with all the extras. A young family moved in. Two kids, stay-at-home mom in her early 20's. We wondered how someone so young could afford this glamorous life. His occupation? Plumber.

Steve said...

Wanderlust: this explains where my plumbers are then - at home erecting palaces to their own affluence... while I have to have a shower like I'm an officer in the Third Reich. Gits.

Gappy said...

We have a community plumber - two actually. They live in the village and so are accountable to everybody here. Guess what? They still never bloody turn up!

Steve said...

Gappy: community plumbers? What a great idea! I think the ones I saw were "care in the community" plumbers...! ;-)

LöstJimmy said...

Wasn't De Niro a renegade plumber of sorts in the film Brazil?
He was unreliable too as I recall

Spencer Park said...

My dads a plumber. I've been waiting six months for him to fix my leaking tap!

Steve said...

LöstJimmy: hmm... maybe the reason they've not been to see me is purely down to a clerical error...?!

Spencer Park: would he consider moving me to the top of the list..? ;-)

Old Cheeser said...

Shall I put you onto Steve the Plumber who lives just across the road from me? He did a damn good job when I needed some pipes/heating fixing and was reliable to boot(well he would be, being your namesake I guess...) Only problem is he's a couple of hundred miles away...

What a sexy new avatar!

The Sagittarian said...

It's a global thing, finding good and qualified tradesmen is like looking for rocking horse shit.
I'll send you over some wine corks to help with any leaks you might have in the interim...

Owen said...

Hope you'll snap a picture of their heads in the toilet !

The last time I had plumbers in the house they came with a crew, and one of the b****rds stole my compact digital camera, which had some irreplacable photos on it.

A pox on plumbers, if you ask me...

Being Me said...

Steve, it's the same across the pond. A ludicrous amount of time is spent chasing a tradie - any tradie, I'm not choosy anymore, we don't even care about expense but some level competence would be a plus (stay tuned for the upcoming blog post on THAT one) - in fact, probably more time chasing the blighters than they would spend on the actual job/s you have lined up for them.

It's obviously a plumber's world...

Steve said...

OC: if he at the very least turns up to do the job when he says he will it might be worth covering his travel expenses! As for the new pic - very kind of you to notice (nobody else has)!

Amanda: any corks would be much appreciated but don't open any extra bottles on my account...! ;-)

Being Me: I'm beginning to wonder if it wouldn't be quicker for me just to take a course in plumbing over the summer...

Crystal Jigsaw said...

They are a joke. This country is running out of good tradesmen. And then, if I might be so bold as to say it, we give jobs to foreign workers and our English men/women complain.

Hope it gets sorted soon.
CJ xx

Rol said...

I'd have thought that with your various work-based toilet-unblocking activities, you'd be able to handle such problems yourself.

But yes, plumbers are impossible to get hold of. I have one for a nephew - but can I get him to come round and fix my toilet? Can I buggery.

Steve said...

CJ: I don't think the idea of learning a trade is pushed as being at all advantageous by our schools and colleges; it's like it's become devalued. People either want to go to University or get rich by appearing on Big Brother.

Rol: I can remove a can of Special Brew from an S-bend with the best of them but even my marigold glove skills run dry at fixing showers...

Suburbia said...

How annoying! Any good at DIY?!

the fly in the web said...

Sorry I missed the deadline...I went out in case I was called upon, like all professionals...

libby said...

Frustrating is'nt it? my husband has many skills...but DIY is not on the list, and I have spent many many years waiting in for people who seem to live by another time code....'there at 3' actually means 2 weeks later...good luck with your pipes steve.

Steve said...

Suburbia: I can knock up a bookcase from flatpack or hang a picture... but wet stuff is beyond me...

The fly in the web: nice to know you're honouring the plumbing code where there's a will there's a way out somewhere...

Libby: I think my pipes may actually rust closed before a plumber gets here. At least it'll cure the leaks.

Old Cheeser said...

I'm sure they have noticed, they're just too bowled over by your handsomeness to comment - you sexy MF!

Ahem.

Actually that's a very mean and moody downward stare you've got there...

Steve said...

OC: ah - you are so good for my ego! ;-)

Mark said...

Here's my tip for getting a plumber quickly.

Ring your insurance company and tell them you have a leak. They will send someone very quickly who will mend the leak and you arrange for plumber to do the other jobs cash in hand.

What, you have no leak? No problem; you can fix that easily, if you get my drift...

Selina Kingston said...

In my next life I'm going to be a plumber - you can call me then! And I noticed your new picture - grrr!

TimeWarden said...

We've just had a new boiler put in. Trust me, you don't want them anywhere near your place!

Steve said...

Mark: clever...!

Selina: is that a good grr or a bad grr?

TimeWarden: the alternative is that I have a go myself... and that, I guarantee, will be considerably worse!

missbehaving said...

Your post made me wonder... whatever happened to the local 'handy man'. There is nothing ( no one) like that here but I thought they were still alive and well in the UK, you know, the guy who could come round and put up a shelf, clean a window, fix a tap...you'd think anyone with those basic skills could make a fortune these days, no one in their right ind will pay the plumber 80 quid and most of us either don't have the know how, ro don't have the time for stuff like that. Is the 'handy man' from a bygone era? Ignore me, you know I live in a time warp.;)
( good to catch up with you Steve, I was awol there for a while.)

Steve said...

MissBehaving: I think handymen have been replaced by un-handymen who come round, fiddle about for an hour which they charge you extortionately for, and then um and ah that it's a 2 man job and they'll have to come back in a fortnight with a mate and they then botch the job and invoice you royally for it. But then again my job may have biased me unfairly towards all contractors. ;-)