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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

April 25, 2005

Plumbing the Depths

Plumbers, as anyone knows, are complete and utter shyster bastards. Plumbing is the analogue equivalent of computing. If you're a lay user and don't know anyone who "knows about" computers, you're basically shagged and I wouldn't bother getting one. Because you won't get a decent level of technical support beyond your circle of family and friends.

Same goes with plumbers. Unless you know a tame one, you might as well go and live in a cave.

We've got a very small problem. The size of the problem makes the problem, paradoxically HUGE. Here's why.

We need a new valve on the hot water cylinder. While the heating is on, we get hot water at the same time, because I locked the valve open. When we switch the central heating off, however: no hot water. So we need a new valve. They cost around £25-40 quid, depending on whether you're a plumber or a sucker/customer.

As you probably know, most plumbers won't even come to your house without you having to pay £60 callout. And then the cost of the part, and the cost of the labour, which means this simple valve-swap should cost a minimum of £150-200. I accept this: such is life.

But even so, getting a plumber to come round has proved almost impossible so far. The first one we phoned said he'd call round and then "lost the number". Or, to put it another way, he arranged to visit one morning but then didn't show up. He left a garbled phone message to the effect that he'd call around 11 a.m., but didn't.

So we gave up on him, and I tried another. One problem with plumbers is you have to phone them out of hours, because otherwise you can't get them. The other problem is that they don't seem to have "out of hours." I phoned another, local, and got his wife. She took a message, indicating that he was very busy and might be able to get to us the following Friday.

The following Thursday evening, we hadn't heard back from them (I guess they're used to people basically stalking them in order to get a service, so they tend to ignore people who take them at their word), plumber #1 turned up at the door, with a story about "losing the number" which was why he didn't show up the first time. He looked at the job, told my wife we needed a new valve, then started his patter. Plumber #1 is called Adrian, and he advertises himself in the Yellow Pages as A B Plumbing and Heating.

But, so his story goes, he actually works full-time for a different company, and wouldn't normally do this kind of thing, but since we were local he'd do it "off the books." He'd charge us £45 for the valve and £25 to fit it, but he needed the money for the part in advance. He offered to drive my wife to a cashpoint to get cash out. Had I been home, he'd have been out on his ear at this point, with my Nicky Campbell Watchdog instincts.

But my Mrs, naively, went and got cash (drove herself), and paid him £45 upfront. He was coming on Tuesday to fit it. She told me the story when I got home from work and I said that essentially she'd just lost £45, the same as if she dropped it down a drain. We'd not see him, or the money, again.

To make things worse, this same night plumber #2's wife phoned to check whether we still needed her husband on the following day. Er... I knew we did but told her about the other one showing up and told her we'd probably be in touch.
'Course, Adrian didn't turn up on Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. I phoned him Friday and said we were thinking of reporting him to Trading Standards (and the Inland Revenue, I muttered under my breath). He gave his sob story about working all night etc., and promised he'd be there Saturday afternoon. He said to phone him at 3 pm and he'd know how long he'd be.

Which I did, and he said he'd be there in a couple of hours.

He wasn't.

He phoned later that night to explain he'd "injured himself" at work and would come the next day.

He didn't.

He phoned to say his ankle was fractured, but that he'd asked a friend to do the job instead. The friend would show up by lunchtime, or phone to say when he'd arrive.

Of course, he didn't.

It's not just that they don't show up. It's not even that they steal your money and don't show up. It's the cat-and-mouse game they play, keeping you hanging on, just at the point where you don't call another plumber, because he might turn up this time, as he said he would. If he'd just disappeared with the money, it would be all right - but he's kept us hanging on for three weeks, during which time we might even have been able to get a proper plumber in.

What a complete and utter cunt.


  • Plumbers will be weeded out come the collapse of the oil economy.

    They will be forced to live on the edge of society, and only permitted to enter when the community needs a scapegote for ritual beating with sticks when we need to frighten Evil away from us.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 5:48 am  

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