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11 April 2008

Between a Rock and a.....


Thousands of people were affected by violent spring storms this week. Where we live, it is a common occurrence to duck-and-cover at all hours of the day and night when these storms come raging through. Mostly, they are an exercise in, well, exercising our Emergency Plan, which is fine by me.

Seldom do we have trees from our front yard end up in our back yard, lose pieces of our roof, lose 90% of our perimeter fence, or have the acoustical equivalent of a freight train roar through our property. But we did this time; and we're lucky.

I have conducted many wide area searches for lost and missing people after tornadoes and hurricanes...the really bad ones too. Loss of life, property, the works. While people define devastation differently, I for one tend to place the bar on what constitutes "devastation" fairly high. No physical product of any kind is more important than the health and safety of my wife and kids. So any storm that results in me being able to still see their smiling faces is not all that devastating. I will leave the drama to others.

So here we are, cleaning up our mess, repairing our stuff, filing our claims and re-settling our lives. As anybody that goes through these types of things knows, it can be a bit distracting and for many, unsettling. Thankfully, we are surrounded by people that believe in 'neighbors helping neighbors', and that's a wonderful thing.

And then there are these scrote bags. The throng of 'ambulance chasing' jobbers that drive in from out of state with a ladder and a shtick. "Hey buddy, we can give you a free estimate on your roof damage, we can trim your trees, remove the debris and all for a price that can't beat, as long as you decide right now."

In search & rescue, these pin heads are referred to as "self-deployers"....commonly people that have a super dog (because it once found and dug up a bone in the back yard), no scruples and they are there to save the day with their heroics, particularly if those heroics can somehow be arranged to take place near the news cameras. Of course the original ambulance chasers are the lawyers that will tell you "if you don't have a problem (that we can sue someone over), then we'll give you one!" (for a 60% cut, plus expenses of course).

Simply, they are all driven by an arrogant commitment to doing what is best for them even if it is not necessary best for the mission.
*******
Emily and I stood in our driveway watching truck after truck wheel down our street with these earnest little opportunists leaping from each vehicle like it was a Chinese fire drill to accost as many homeowners as fast as they could. When one of these turds saw us removing our own limbs from our house, you would have thought I ruined his Christmas with the look of dejection from an opportunity lost on his face....until he saw my elderly neighbors with a look of despair, a limp and a wallet in their hand that is.

It is not hard to find a reputable, licensed and competent contractor. And in doing so the costs are not even close to what it potentially costs to have some of these yahoos operating power equipment on your property.

I feel sorry for the folks that don't feel like they have any better options than hiring one of these unknown entities to climb on their roof or swing from their tree (have they even ever done this? Are they insured? What if they get hurt? What if they're (gasp!) not even legal?!?)

I also feel sorry for the reputable roofers, tree trimmers and fence builders, etc. that actually do it right. They market, the ask for referrals, they even cold call; but they don't come swooping in like a swashbuckler with a tall tale about their once in a lifetime solution, preying on people looking to recover sensibly from a destructive storm's aftermath.

So lay off the shtick fellas. Before someone takes a real stick and ....
****
Just a few more days until we kick off our next series. This time it is on religion and believe me Brothers and Sisters, you won't want to miss a single word. Plan on being informed, provoked, inspired, possibly irked, educated, amused and maybe even a tad thankful.

Be sure to sign up for free under the Feed Me! link on the right panel to be notified whenever a new article is posted. Until then, stay safe and have a nice weekend.

8 comments:

Tismee2 said...

Sorry to hear about your damage, as you say at least your family are safe.
Makes me guilty complaining about the 'strong breezes'we get over here.
Hope you are back to normal soon.

Michael M. said...

Hi Gail, and Thanks....and it truly is all relative. A "strong breeze" can still be terribly disrupting if it hits just right.

We got our power back on within a day, people and dogs are good and rest is just "stuff". Thanks for your well wishes!

Dana said...

Thrilled to hear that you and your family are well. Property is ... well ... property!

I'm looking forward to the next series!

Michael M. said...

Thanks Dana!

A few series are in the "can" ... I'm pretty sure I'll roll out the Religion series first. That should get everyone riled up. :)

Still finishing the series on immigration too. A barn burner to be sure!

And I'll try to throw in a little frivolity in between....

Debbie Yost said...

You brought to vivid images to mind:

1. Your picture reminded me of my brother when we were kids. We had pews in church that were open in back. Apparently he had stuck his head through but when everyone got up to go to communion he couldn't get his head back out! That is, until I saw the second picture!

2. In 2004 we had an ice storm that destroyed 3 1/2 of our large bradford pears. Neither my husband or I are very good at this type of yard word and we weren't sure what to do. We had some of these people drop by and we were contemplating our options when a neighbor stopped by with a truck and chainsaws to help us out. I was grateful not only for their help, but for not having to deal with those creeps anymore.

Michael M. said...

Touche' Debbie.

We love the bradford pears too, but were talked out of them by the gardening center because they don't withstand storms very well...sure enough, we helped our neighbors haul off a couple of hers that didn't make it too. Bummer.

What a funny story about your brother!

Two Date Diva said...

Glad you all are alright. I am very familiar with the swindlers in the trucks. We have them swarming Florida during hurricane season. It's hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys sometimes.

Michael M. said...

Diva: Wait. They have hurricanes in Florida?? :)

Thanks...you know the type of yahoo of which I speak then...in fact they are probably the same yahoo's that came here...they are headed to your house next just in time for your next hurricane. :(

I bet if we started shooting them all with colored staples from nail guns we could tell then apart from the good guys. :)