There is only one success--to be able to spend your life in your own way.-Christopher Morley
Blame it on the Economy?
Posted February 17, 2010
It's a beautiful day in Southern California and I gaze out of my office windows. There are mountains, trees, and luxurious Mediterranean-style houses with red roof tiles as far as the eye can see. Calabasas is an idyllic town, and I've always enjoyed spending time here. It's a refuge from the "real world," in a way. In the rest of the country, many people are in dire financial straits, while Calabasas is awash in money and the tranquility that financial stability often brings.
During the past year, I must have heard a million times how the economy is causing all sorts of pain. Most people, including me, are eagerly awaiting a return to greater economic activity as it was before the Great Recession. Still, I really canít complain. Weíve done very well. Instead of sitting around waiting for Godot, we've streamlined our business operations and expanded our company's offerings.
Today, I hang up the phone in disbelief more than once. I'm on a mission to hire various contractors to do some maintenance work on our house. Here's how it went:
First, I called an air conditioning specialist to assess the condition of my system and install a simple component, before the intense summer heat arrives. The repairman arrives without an installation crew, changes the air filters and leaves without doing the installation. He underestimated the need for a crew rather than a single person. Itís not the first time this has happened, and instead of allowing him to reschedule, I donít pay the company and proceed to call his competitor for a bid.
The competitor arrives on the scene, and makes the case for a $25,000 multi-system replacement rather than a $1,000 component. I smile and promptly show him the door.
A Toolbox Full of Excuses
I then call a contractor to repair some water damage that has accumulated over the years to our backyard wooden gazebo. I set an appointment. In the meantime, the contractor calls twice to reschedule. The second time, I tell him that it won't be necessary to continue to coordinate this meeting with his busy schedule. After all, it's only money, so why would I expect someone in the hardest-hit industry to actually show up to give a bid to a willing customer.
I then proceed to attempt to find a window blinds repairman to fix a broken blind in my house. After extensive research both online and through the Yellow Pages, I reach one of the few blinds repair companies in my area, only to be told that they only provide repair services for blinds that they sell. They won't touch my bought-elsewhere blinds.
I continue to attempt to spend some money on those repairs, in sort of my own economic stimulus plan. Spend some money, put people to work, I think naively. Ha! There's always a reason for the people who need the work the most not to take on the work.
I nod my head in disbelief as I continue to admire the sunny beauty of Calabasas. Maybe itís not always the recession that is to blame for peopleís financial misery. Maybe tomorrow some recession-struck contractor will do me the great favor of accepting my thousands of dollars in business. Who knows? Maybe not... Damn that terrible economy!
About Double Triangle
Double Triangle is my personal blog and is mostly about family life in the Los Angeles area. It also serves to record some of my thoughts in a format that can be easily accessed by my family and friends, as well as by anyone else who cares to read it.
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