OT: Handyman rant

jenswrensJune 11, 2008

I just have to vent here! OMG - we are in the process of selling our house, and my REA suggested a handyman to come and fix a couple of things that were on our inspection report like some outlets and window locks. The guy is here right now and I am soooo irritated with him!!

He knows the house is on the market, we had one showing this morning and have another this afternoon and another tomorrow morning. Even though there is a big sign at the door that says "Please remove your shoes" he's been clomping around all day with his big clunky shoes all over my HW floors going in and out of the rain several times (can't you just bring all your tools inside at once?) leaving big wet spots everywhere. Even when I hinted around and ran and got towels and put them all over in his path, he STILL didn't get the hint and WALKED AROUND the towels. Argh!!! Now I'm going to have to dash around when he leaves and try to mop the floors before the showing.

He electrocuted himself when trying to undo an outlet because he didn't turn off the breaker/electric first and then couldn't figure out why he got shocked... Now he's standing in my kitchen eating his lunch over the counter and dropping crumbs and touching my cabinets with his greasy french fry fingers! I can hear him in there smacking his lips, while working on my window.

He's nice, but I'm just about ready to say GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!! The house has to be pristine for showings, and I just spent $120 on a cleaning service yesterday. And he used to be a realtor he says, and he still doesn't get it! Argh!!!

I know it could be worse. I guess I'm just being extra anal right now. Please someone feel my pain so that I don't strangle him.

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I understand your frustration! Didn't you hire him? Why hint? I wouldn't be nice. It's your house, your money and your time. I would ask him to remove his shoes and suggest where he should eat lunch.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 3:09PM
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Don't Hint!
Be clear, direct and assertive.

Your wants are very reasonable and there's no need to tiptoe about them. And don't wait until you're so frustrated that your tone is angry. Be upfront now.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 4:01PM
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Throw him out now. And let your realtor know what you think of her recommendation. BTW, in most places in the US, it's illegal for anyone other than a licensed electrician or a homeowner to do electrical work. That includes "simple" outlet changes. I'd be extremely concerned about his qualifications and, frankly, given his little "accident" his workmans comp insurance. Until those concerns were satisfied, I'd tell him to leave.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 4:39PM
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He's gone, and I'm certainly never letting him come back - ever.

Yes, live wire oak! I stood right there and watched him reach up and grab the live wiring with his bare hands - all the lights were on so I knew he hadn't turned off the breaker. It was one of those heart-stopping, slow motion moments as I watched him do it, all the while thinking surely surely he's not going to really touch that. My first thought after he went bzzzzzz bzzzzzzz spark spark was "OMG does he have insurance?" And then, puzzled, he said "that's not supposed to happen", and he reached up and did it again! I'm the one who had to tell him he needed to turn the breaker off first. Hello???!

Why didn't I throw him out after 5 minutes? IDK - maybe it's that Minnesota passive-aggressive thing. DH has already moved back east and I'm here alone trying to sell this house so I'm sort of feeling desperate to get things fixed, cleaned, etc. I thought I could trust a REAs recommendation, but this is the second one she botched for us - so I'll be finding my own people from now on. Gosh, it's what I've always done in the past! I don't know what's come over me...

Great advice, sweeby! Next time, I will be insistent - I just wish I could do it without sounding like a bee-atch (as my DD says).

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 7:28PM
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I know your pain - somewhat. I can't believe the way people work sometimes and their lack of courtesy. It is hard to be harsh with people when they are in your home - it takes some kahunas and I like to be nice and not want to make someone feel bad and generally fume over it and think it over for hours after the case!

We had to have someone come back the next day once to rip out all his work as it was soooooo substandard, it just wouldn't hold up. I didn't have the guts to demand all my money back - see I felt bad that the guy had to eat and pay bills, etc., and he did put in time. I wish I could be a bit more forceful in that regards. Funny, because generally speaking - I think I can be quite a good b****. Boy, I'm in a good mood

    Bookmark   June 11, 2008 at 9:25PM
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Just make sure anyone that does work is bonded, licensed and insured. Other than that your homeowners insurnace many have to pay for injuries etc. As to having someone come in, go to someplace like Home Depot, Ace Hardware or even check the yellow pages. Even our cable people here take off their shoes or put on those blue booties.
Let your broker know if this continues, you will be changing agents. You control the situation, not her.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 2:11PM
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OUCH Jen!! I'm so sorry you're going through this and alone ta boot! I went through the exact same thing when dh was away at the Academy and I stayed to sell the house. It was very stressful.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 4:35PM
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I just wish I could do it without sounding like a bee-atch

I long ago stopped worrying about that in these kinds of situations. I don't mean that I come right out of the gate with a bad attitude, but I have no problem being firm and insistent on having things done right and on respecting my house.

And hey! if they think I'm a bee-atch, then so be it. I don't care if they like me or laugh at me behind my back or commiserate about me over a beer at happy hour. Just get my job done, get it done right, and don't mess up anything else in the process.

Be firm. Stand your ground. To heck with what they think about you!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Very stressful sparksals! Mariend, I've always used Angie's List and had great results, so that's why I can't understand why I've been letting this agent pick all these people for me. I guess I didn't want to disappoint her or something.

For those of you who don't know what I mean when I said, "maybe it's that Minnesota passive-agressive thing" I've attached an FYI link below, if you're interested! :-) If anyone else here is from MN, you already know what I'm talking about!

Here is a link that might be useful: Minnesota Nice

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:30PM
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LOL, lowspark! You're sure not suffering from the Minnesota Nice problem! I'm trying to be more like you, really... :-)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 5:32PM
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jens - I have a GREAT handyman in Mpls/St. Paul area if you need one again - found him through Angie's list. You are in Twin Cities - right? He's done lots of outlet/fixture work with no problems (I'm pretty sure simple stuff like that does not have to be done by an electrician in in MN). Good luck with selling - that would be stressful enough without the moron handyman.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:13PM
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If he doesn't know not to touch a live wire I sure wouldn't want him fooling with my electricity. He'll have your house burning down from incorrect wiring. Get him out of there!!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2008 at 10:44PM
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Recommend you check beforehand with any further people doing work for you to make sure they are not from the Kentucky Fried Chicken Electrician School and firmly let them know you do not like your workers "extra crispy".

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:43AM
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A word of caution:

I'm a member of the Society for Barefoot Living [we've been getting lots of good press recently], and we spend a lot of time discussing liability issues re: footwear.

If you ask ANYONE to remove their shoes, you potentially become liable for any injuries that result. If he drops a wrench on his foot, and can't work for six months, it's your problem.

Don't count on your homeowners insurance-- nothing in there gives you permission to ask people to dispense with saftey gear like steel toed boots.

It's probably not an issue with family and friends, but for visiting professionals carrying heavy tools [worse yet, working with power tools] either don't mention it, or offer those awful over the shoe scuffs.

Course if you should hire an SBL member [we have a few capenters], it wouldn't be an issue. If he shows up barefoot [or removes his shoes without being asked], his choice, his problem. But when you make choices for others, the responsibility-- quite rightly-- is yours.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 2:53AM
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