Plumber Wars Episodes V & VI: Ted Strikes Back and the Return of the Money

27 Sep

I believe when last I wrote I was promised the money would arrive on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. To no surprise it didn’t. As usual, I called Nick the plumber on Monday and he once again assured me he would bring the money by. And as usual, he did not. I couldn’t believe it. Every time I called, Nick was apologetic — he seemed like a nice bloke. But I find it hard to believe that a person can be that forgetful. Forgetting to come by once or twice? Sure, he’s a busy man. But he told me SIX different times he would show up and didn’t. I finally broke down and called Ted. He too thought the situation was ridiculous. He told me to try calling one last time before he would take control of the situation.
So this morning I called my number-1-speed-dial Nick the plumber. Despite all that’s happened, I maintained a polite tone.

“Do you think I’ll be able to get my money back today?” I asked him.

“Yes…” Nick replied, as if I was asking him the stupidest, most obvious question ever. Like we hadn’t had this conversation five times already.

“Do you know when?” I asked, hoping for some clarification.

“After the job I’m on,” he said, and apologized again. “I genuinely keep forgetting,” he said, “I wasn’t macking you about.” — At least that’s what I thought he said. I had to google “macking you about” to see if it’s an actual British saying, because I always thought macking meant kissing. Apparently the Internet does too.

That was 10 a.m. when I spoke to him. By 1 p.m. — three hours later — I still had no money. Surprise, surprise. So I called Ted again and told him about our conversation. “OK. Leave it to me,” he said, with “business” in his voice.

Then sure enough, a little after 3 p.m. an envelope of money floated through my mail slot. I have no idea who left it — whether it was Nick, Ted or the porter, but whoever did it didn’t want to show their face and didn’t ring the doorbell. I didn’t get my full amount of money back, but at least I got something. I also learned some valuable lessons:

1. Use drain cleaner frequently to prevent blockages
2. Never give cash to a plumber, especially when you expect your landlord to cover all/part of the costs
3. Sometimes you have to be assertive and persistent and nice people really do finish last (had I not been so nice, I may have gotten more money and sooner. Alas.)
3. When all else fails, Ted saves the day

I’m still perplexed by the situation and am tempted to generalize. Is it British people that are so forgetful, disorganized and unmotivated? Ted is the epitome of Britishness and he thought the situation was absurd. Is it plumbers? I know plumbers in the US are known for being late and overcharging. Or is it just this Nick chap, who happens to be a British plumber, but is the exception, not the norm?

I’m just glad Plumber Wars are over and I can resume my normal blogging.


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