Sunday, December 6, 2015

How not to land a contracting job in one easy lesson

The other day the S.O. and I were down at the museum doing some minor stuff, like finally putting up street numbers near the front entrance. The Baraga Village Fire Department sent out a letter about 15 years ago reminding business owners and residents to put numbers on their structures to make them easier to find in an emergency, but just about everyone (including the museum) ignored the advice. I always kind of wonder how Fed Ex and UPS manage to find people because there are quite a few buildings without street addresses now.

Anyway, a few months ago I decided to invest in a set of numbers. If nothing else, FedEx would never have an excuse again for not being able to locate us. Naturally, given how busy we were with more important things, those numbers just sat on the table in the office for awhile. But we finally got around to putting them up. . . and while we were putting up the numbers, a fellow in an SUV pulled into the parking lot. I thought he might have a question about the contents of the museum or ask for a tour.

I was wrong. He had stopped to critique the paint job on the new siding. Did we, in essence, know that it looked like shit? This struck me as being a rather odd opening gambit for a conversation. Did the fellow not know that he might actually be speaking to the people who had done the painting? Apparently not, because telling him that (a) the work was done by volunteers who didn't get paid a dime, and (b) we knew it had to be second coated and it would be taken care of in the Spring did not stop him from continuing to tell us how bad it looked. It was actually a little baffling. I mean, it's been warm lately but everyone knows you can't paint or stain anything once temperatures drop below the mid-50s. So just what did he expect us to do now?

After he finally ran out of insulting things to say about how sucky the building looked, he volunteered the information that he's a contractor who does both carpentry and painting. I asked him if he had a card -- he had to do a little digging, but he found one. He then left, which I figured he'd do once we'd asked for contact information. 

I don't think he was even out of the parking lot before the card was confetti on its way to a trash can. If he'd had brains enough to just say that he'd noticed the museum hadn't quite finished the siding project before winter hit and let it go at that, he might have had a shot at hearing from us next Spring. But when I was one of the people who got covered with oil stain and wound up dismayed by the realization we were going to have to second coat? Yes, we know the coverage isn't what we had hoped it would be. Do we want some stranger rubbing that fact in? In a word, No. So good luck trawling for contracting jobs, dude, but here's a hint: next time figure out who you're talking with before you start running your mouth.


  1. /Good riddance - I think you would have found his performance lacking and if you had a problem with the job he did you would not be dealing with a person willing to make good.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  2. The thing that annoyed me the most was the way he kept yammering on about the terrible job whoever did the work did when I kept repeating that it was volunteers. It was like he thought he was gaining points by badmouthing a contractor who left the job half done, but there was no contractor, just the Historical Society members, and the job didn't get finished because we ran out of warm weather. Everyone knows that once temperatures drop into the 40s, you can't paint.

    I thought he was going to say something about how slow the pavilion was going up, too, but fortunately he didn't get into badmouthing the high school industrial arts class.

  3. he was such an should have asked him if he was from Texas.

  4. What a dickhead! Should have asked him to voluntarily apply the second coat in the spring because it's not likely he will have much paying work.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.