Thursday, February 11, 2016

Of Paramount Unimportance - Or Be Very Careful Who You Deal With

Today was rush, rush, rush. I'm trying still to assemble things to go to the charity resale shop, about two boxes a week. Plus I'm working through many years of crafting supplies, bringing a couple of boxes of that a week to the children's residential psych treatment center I used to work at. The budget is so tight there that I know that the art therapist is always scrounging for supplies.

I've even taken the step of putting many of the quilting shop sample quilts I've made and not been madly in love with up on Ebay. Yes, yes, I'm trying to pare down our belongings for a possible move overseas in 2017.

Mix in tax season, which means I've already spent too many hours in front of this computer screen and am now waiting for a 1099 for Jim from those idiots at the local newspaper owned by Berkshire-Hathaway plus I'm waiting for a statement from the broker. Everything else is done.

Between the phone calls between myself and my Realtor in Louisiana, who has someone that finally might want to buy the large farm I inherited when my father passed and the things listed above I've been busy today. Busy enough that I didn't get around to the main thing on my list of 'to-dos' until late afternoon. Ironing and rehanging all the curtains upstairs. I washed, ironed and rehung the curtains downstairs last week but the upstairs bedrooms and my office curtains were still sitting in the laundry basket until 3 pm when I started.

But once I started to rehang I found one curtain rod was bent, I had another with a cracked piece of hardware and yet another so old it was starting to have peeling paint. Made a decision that set the uncomfortable tone of the evening, I ran out to the local hardware store to get a few replacements on the rods. Bad decision because after a sunny but chilly day temps had dropped suddenly and the sky had that fuzzy cotton wool look it gets before we get snow.

I ran my errand quickly, got my items and managed to score a throw rug on sale for Jim's office and a beautiful white linen roman shade for the window in his office area too! We're also in the middle of a slight remodel, some painting, replacing wallpapering downstairs with bead board, rearranging, redoing, renewing. But most definitely decluttering and organizing every room in the house.

When I got home I was surprised to see a nice young man in a uniform in our house talking to Jim, trying to get him to set an appointment for an estimate on new windows and a new roof. I had to tell the guy that windows we do not need. When we had the house built 25 years ago we had top of the line double paned windows put in the house. It wouldn't be worth updating them because they still sealed beautifully. We'd investigated the savings last year and decided against it.

But the roof is starting to come to the end of it's life span. No leaks yet, but we're missing more shingles with each big storm. It has to happen in the next year, but it's not an emergency. We've started talking about it to each other. I would love to have one of those beautiful new crimped metal roofs or perhaps a green living roof, but Jim wants the same traditional shingles but in a darker color this time.

This guy was with a company by the name of Paramount Builders and he kept pushing for us to get an estimate. I've already had a few estimates and knew the ballpark that this was going to run. Plus I will not buy a damn thing from anyone going door to door. I've just had too many bad experiences. A child with Girl Scout cookies or a school fundraiser? Sure. Some dude with a freezer filled with cheap steaks? Nope. Some church going door to door for Jesus? Hell no! Contractor trying to sell me a roof? Double hell no!

This roof is something I would only deal with a local guy on. Just like when we replaced the garage door, local guy. Jim gets annoyed with me because I will only use certain contractors and I don't always use the cheapest ones. But I have discovered in the twenty five years of living here and getting things fixed or remodeled that if you pay for a cheap fix or a contractor that cuts corners you get what you pay for. Our plumber is super expensive, but I have never had a problem with anything he fixes, unlike the other plumbers around here I've tried. I want it right the first time.

But Jim, Jim has no inner alarm sense over folks that will likely rip you off, or over charge you. His saving grace is that he is super-tight with a buck so does not get sucked in by encyclopedia salesmen or time shares. The irritating thing is that he will sit and listen to any sales spiel by anyone for absolutely anything! This drives me completely nuts because I lose all patience with long sales presentations and I suspicious of anyone that openly lies to me to make a sale or is high pressure. There's always a catch.

Jim allowed this nice man to book an appointment with the appraiser in about 90 minutes hence, which really brought my scammer antennae up quickly. Are these folks like those gypsy driveway blacktoppers the local news warns about? So I do a little online sleuthing even before the appointment setter guy is out of our driveway and discover so many complaints about this place with a pile of concerns resolved at the Better Business Bureau. But it was the many, many complaints at consumer buying sites that scared the bejebus out of me. Complaints of repairs done wrong, having to have them come out multiple times to fix things, but worst of all were the quotes people were given for roofs, things like an 18K quote to replace a roof on a 1,200 square foot rambler home that should have run no more than 5K tops! Deceptive tactics, high prices and complaints about the work!

Showed Jim all the reports at the consumer sites at and the Ripoff Reports sites and we decided we didn't even want them to do an estimate or quote. But we had no way to contact anyone to cancel the appointment. So we sat and waited and waited and waited and waited.

Finally about an hour and a half after the original scheduled appointment time this older lady, looked to be on the very wrong side of 65 showed up on our doorstep in the pitch black freezing ass cold to do the quote. I was taken aback because I've been used to dealing with actual workers and construction people, not ladies (or men for that fact) trussed up in a fancy suit for an estimate. I told her we'd changed our minds about the estimate because we didn't know them at all, knew no one that had actually used their services and there were just too many complaints about the company online. Well, this saleslady did not take any of that very well, started telling me how dumb I was for not looking at BBB or Angie's List. I didn't bother to tell her that I had read the complaint numbers on the BBB and wasn't impressed.

I pointed out that trying to do a roof quote in the pitch black darkness struck me as the height of foolishness, not even replying to her nasty remark about my IQ. She snapped at me that there was this wonderful modern convenience called a 'flashlight' that would allow her to do the quote. I had to shake my head and chuckle at this. Flashlight or no, we live in a good sized Cape Cod cottage with many different levels of steep sloping roofs and dormers, there's no way she could have gotten a clear idea of what was needed in the dark.

Every time I stated we had changed our minds about the estimate with a logical reason she had a snappy and very insulting answer. Finally I had to tell her I wasn't discussing it with her any longer and to get off my property. I was calm about it, but I was just done with her bullshit. Who shows up 90 minutes late for an appointment in the first place? Followed by openly disparaging the customer's IQ, research skills and being nasty and sarcastic to overcome objections? Didn't give me a feeling of confidence that the company is professional if I had to base it all on this woman's behavior.

One of the things that this company needs to know is that salesmen need to at least treat the homeowner with basic respect if they say no. That no might just be a 'no, not right now' or a 'no, this isn't a good time' or a 'no, I would need to check your company out thoroughly first before I even consider signing a contract with you.' With her behavior she closed the door on me ever doing business with Paramount Builders.

The only thing the appointment setter did wrong was something I picked up quickly when I sold cars and other high end items. The wife is the one you need to appeal to. If the wife isn't included on the decision and you make your pitch solely to the husband your odds of landing the sale go way way down. Jim called me 'The Boss' when it comes to repairs, remodels or buying high ticket items, even when I've told him I am indifferent about something and he should pick what he thinks is the best deal, like when he bought a very fancy and expensive lawn mower at at going out of business sale at a gardening shop in early January. I told him to suit himself, but he insisted I come see the mower and give him my approval first.

Is the company good or bad? I just don't know, but I do know I would never buy something that costly, that important and such an investment that quickly from someone I don't know that is insisting on personally insulting me again and again. Bad business practices.

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