We got water in our basement during the recent storms, so yesterday we had a couple of waterproofing-type people come by. The first guy showed up, looked at things, discussed what was likely going on and what we could do about it, and left. Nice guy, friendly manners, and was gone within twenty minutes.
I had expected something similar from the second guy, but it turns out his company has a one-size-fits-all System, so he was coming to give us a whole dog and pony show. (Admittedly I wasn’t paying very close attention. Hero may have known what to expect.)
So he was coming in the evening, and since Beauty was somewhat wiggly and my dad just got home from a week in Germany and wanted to see her, I went over to my parents’ house, leaving Hero to see the waterproofing-type guy.
Shortly after Hero texted me that the guy had showed up, he called, saying that the guy wanted us both there. I was going to go, but as I started to grab our things it felt wrong. For one thing, I could hear the slightly anxious note in Hero’s voice that meant that someone was pushing him. He’s perfectly capable of handling such pushing, of course, but the effort of it comes out in his voice if you know what to listen for. And I don’t like it when people push him. It’s not as if he’s slow or incompetent. Second of all, I didn’t see why my visit to my parents and hearing my dad’s stories about Germany should be curtailed by this guy’s whim. Third of all, having to entertain the baby would make the presentation harder to follow – one of us focused on it would do better than both of us distracted. And finally, I still can’t think of a good reason for this policy. My best guess is that they want both people there to increase the chances of the hard sell tactics working, and a company that needs that kind of stratagem to make a sale is clearly not the best choice.
So Hero and I agreed that I should stay where I was. And I was awfully cranky about this, in part because I felt guilty for leaving Hero to manage this idiot on his own, but mostly because this idiot was being an idiot.
When I got home, Hero was even more annoyed than I was, since the guy had refused to give his presentation at all, despite being invited to do so. He tied very hard to push Hero into rescheduling, and then left. He wouldn’t discuss approximate prices or how the System works or anything. He did leave a couple of extremely useless brochures.
In some ways I’m glad that this all happened, since it has mostly served to convince me that what they are selling is a scam to begin with. The brochures say a lot about the damage water can do, but nothing about what they do, how it works, or how much it will cost. (Legitimate businesses sell their products using facts, not threats.) And even if the System is a good one, I strongly doubt that a one-size-fits-all approach will work in our situation, given how the water was coming in.
But as I was doing my ICAD index card, I needed a quote and was casting about for something scurrilous in honor of these events. And what rose to mind was the song “Grandpa’s Advice” from an album of “disrespectful car songs” put together by Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers for some NPR promotion years ago:
They’re all jerks When you’re out here on your own Just assume that everybody else Is half-asleep or stoned They’re all jerks Not a one knows how to drive So you better pay attention To make it home alive I’ll give you my philosophy I guarantee it works. Repeat it after me, kid: They’re all jerks.
They are. And that’s all there is to it.