Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Howdy-ho Neighbor

Within the next month or so, Jill and I will be finishing our basement. Most of the work we're doing ourselves (with the help of some family members if they're available, wink). But we're also putting in a new bathroom and we're doing it from scratch, so there's going to be quite a bit of plumbing work that will need to be done, and of course I'm not about to tackle that myself. Thankfully my next door neighbor is a plumber.

Yeah thankfully.

Also thankfully, he already owes me $2000.

Yeah also thankfully. I'll explain.

A couple months ago, I sold him one of my cars. It is an old 1964 Dodge and I had it since before I was even old enough to drive it. I love that car, but for the most part, it just became a thing that took up space in my garage (okay that's not entirely true. I never would have called it a thing taking up space in my garage. But I'm also realistic and can say with near certainty that I never would have fixed it up to the standards that I would have wanted. This is the longest parenthesis ever. I should end this). So anyway, my next door neighbor begged me almost daily to sell it to him. After about a month of begging, I finally gave in and sold it to him for $3000. He gave me $1000 right up front and told me he'd get me the other 2 as soon as he could. Fair enough. He's my neighbor; he's not going anywhere.

Fast forward to about a week ago. Remember, my neighbor is a plumber. So he tells me he'll take care of the plumbing portion of my new bathroom, and because he's my neighbor and a nice guy, he'll give me a neighborly discount (his words) and charge me $4800 out the door. Subtract the $2000 that he still owes me from the car and my total out of pocket expense would be $2800. Sounds reasonable, right? Actually I had no idea because I'm not a plumber, so I decided to get a 2nd opinion. I got a referral of a different plumber from a family member and he came over on Friday to take a look at what I needed. Right away I started to get scared because he was immediately pointing out things that my neighbor seemingly had overlooked. Things like "you realize this pipe is dangerous to leave like this, right? Well don't worry, I can fix it" and "no that won't work but we can do it this way" and "he said that? Well he's wrong". After he left, my head was spinning. But I chalked it up to a little plumber competition and figured my neighbor knew everything this new guy was telling me and there was nothing to worry about.

After the new guy left, Jill asked me how little the new plumber would have to charge us for the job in order for us to ditch out on our neighbor and go with the new guy. I think I responded with something like "I'm sure our neighbor will be competitive, if not better. After all, he gave us the neighborly discount." I also told her that it would be horribly awkward to have another plumber's truck parked in our driveway in plain view of the entire neighborhood, so let's just hope that this guy quotes us a fortune.

Fast forward to today: the new plumber called me up, ran through an itemized list of what he's going to do, then hit it to me straight.........out the door, $1900.

Son of a bitch!

Apparently, a neighborly discount is $3000 above invoice. I'm so screwed.

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  1. Anonymous Says:

    UPDATE: I just called my neighbor and let him know we're going with a different guy. He didn't seem all that surprised.

    I'm so glad this is over.