The Autumn Follies
Here’s the basic way it went: I was out of town for a couple of weeks in Colorado (a story for another day there, but it was a fun trip). While I was gone, my Bride decided to surprise me by having the Autumn leaves removed from the front yard so that I wouldn’t have to rake and bag them this year—Truth is, we have almost an acre of the woods here in the Mill Creek area of Youngstown, and I routinely produce a couple of hundred yard bags of leaves every Autumn. I really don’t mind, and it’s fun when we do it together, but still, it’s a chore.
We’ve tried hiring this job done, or partially done, in the past—never quite to my satisfaction though. Too expensive, and the companies and individuals who have done the job in the past have complained about it while doing it. I recall offering one young man some water while he was picking up the leaves, and he declined, asking if we didn’t have any soda or tea instead. Had a full grown man with manly equipment once who bitched incessantly about the leaves in our ivy. And so it goes.
So the yard next door was having its leaves removed by a man who my Bride observed to be careful and thorough. He was a full grown man with real power equipment, and when he was closing in on the property line, he made it a point to be sure that my Bride knew that he was being careful to not blow leaves onto our driveway. My Bride, being completely impressed by his demeanor, asked him how much it was cost to remove the leaves from our driveway and front yard. He replied that it would be a hundred dollars, and that would include the driveway back to our fence and the front yard. He said that the flowerbeds weren’t included, and the deal was made. My Bride paid the man in advance with a check, got a contract from the man, and then left for work.
When she returned home from work, the leaves from our driveway had been blown INTO the flowerbeds and against the garage doors and back door waist deep. A far cry from the deal that had previously been struck. So the very next day she called the man and was told that the situation would be rectified right away. Case closed, right? Not so fast, Heathcliff. He never showed. And didn’t call back. When I came home from Colorado, I was informed of the situation. The leaves had not been touched and remained as they had been when they were blown from the driveway into the side of the house, the side of the garage, and the flowerbeds.
So I took a look at the mess and telephoned the man, leaving him a brief message, and asked him to return my call “at his earliest convenience” so that we could discuss and rectify this problem. My solution was for him to return and complete the job that he had agreed to do, and had already been paid for. But, he didn’t return my call.
Bright and early the very next morning, I called him again, and he answered my call. I identified myself and asked him if he had gotten my message, he replied that he indeed had listened to my message but had no intent of returning my call. He added that we had gotten more than our money’s worth already, and that he’d been out to look at the house (news to me!) and had determined that everything was OK, and further, that there’s no pleasing some people—As the verbal exchange continued, I kept insisting that he had not completed his job, and that I had his written contract to back up my claim. His position was that I needed to pay him yet more money to complete the job. I added that there are consequences for actions, and consequences for failure to perform, but my argument fell on deaf ears. He again insisted that he needed to be paid for further services. To conclude the call, I informed him that, as my dear old departed Dad would say, “That’ll be the fuckin’ day”.
I went ahead and cleaned up the leaves, bagging 20 or so bags of leaves from the area. It looks pretty good now. I took pictures, before and after, and may put them on this blog.
My thoughts on this issue are as follows:
1) Any full grown man who’s making a living by essentially raking leaves (a job more attuned to a 13 year old trying to make ice cream and movie money) should be viewed with suspicion. Maybe this guy shovels drives after it snows too.
2) I’ll be raking my own leaves for as long as I’m physically capable. By then my grand-kids ought to be old enough to help.
Here’s the poop on a company to never hire for leaf removal if you live in my area:
Presidential Lawncare, 330-766-9331, 52 Howard Ave., Austintown, Ohio, owned and operated by Kenneth Koby.