Just a small bit of cop-on, like

May 3, 2007 at 9:02 am | Posted in fuckin eejits forking out to bastard tradesmen | 45 Comments

I’m not one to play my own flute (I wish! I’d never leave the bedroom.) but I am a fairly handy sort, so I’m a bit mystified by people fearful of how things work. I will jump at any excuse to open up the PC, tinker with the car, or rip up a few floorboards for a wee look. There’s certainly a lot to be said for professionals, and experience (or, truthfully, a few fuck-ups) has taught me to know when a job is out of my hands, and when that’s the case, I’m happy to defer to the expertise of the good old honest dependable tradesman.

Stop, it’s not an oxymoron.

Gas, for example. Don’t ever fuck with gas. Leave it to the pros. I’ve only ever done one job with gas pipes and I spent months afterward paranoid that we’d all die of CO poisoning.

Some people, though. This thing of “oh jaysis, the electricity’s off, better phone the guards” before you’ve even carried out the most basic of checks seems ridiculous. A month or so ago, a foolish colleague forked out £45 because he refused to take a screwdriver to a socket and check it was wired properly. He’d been complaining to me about how every time he used a certain socket, it zizzed like an angry wasp, and in some cases even tripped the circuit breaker. I said it was probably just that the socket hadn’t been wired up tight enough and that he should check it. Worst case scenario is he’d have to fork out two quid for a new socket.

I have no sympathy for him, the stupid cunt. What he did, instead of having a quick look at the socket first, was phone an electrician from the Yellow Pages, who came out and installed a new socket (value: £2 in B&Q, less than a pound if you’re in the trade), and charged him forty-five pounds for half an hour’s work. (Half an hour was, of course, twenty-eight minutes longer than the job itself took, but he had to appear like he was giving value for money.)

Last weekend, our washing machine broke down. I had a quick look at it to see if there was anything obvious I might be able to fix before calling up Indesit, and lo and behold, when I took off the back panel, all that had happened was the band that links the motor to the drum had slipped off. Three minutes effort saved a £90 call-out charge.

I’m not saying people should be mavericks and go drilling holes in walls and sticking screwdrivers in sockets for a laugh. There are regulations in place that need to be followed, but Jesus, use a bit of common sense. Better the money in your pocket than some fat, unreliable, lecherous plumber.


I still haven’t got my contract through. Skating on thin ice, considering the amount of people that now know I’m leaving. I really hope it gets to me before someone who ought to hear it from me finds out from the office loudmouth instead.



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  1. Now I feel really ashamed – I don’t even call in a professional but rather hope that things fix themselves or some charitable friend will take pity while visiting me.

  2. I’m totally with you here Kav. I just need a small routine operation to remove some glass from the wall of my small intestine. Why would I want to cause a lot of bother and fuss and pay a kings ransome to some surgeon to spend half an hour fiddling around when I’ve got a spoon and a tube of deep heat. I ask you, have people no common sense these days at all. Work it out fools or squander your hard earned dosh.

    That told them Kav!

  3. Conor: Nah, I know loads of people like that, and have sorted one or two out with some jobs I’m capable of. I know not everyone’s that way inclined. A couple of my friends still have bother working a washing machine.
    Sid: That sounds like the type of thing I might leave to the pros…

  4. Kav – are you kidding! Its not as if bodies are different or anything. We all have one heart, two lungs, 1 bowel etc. Jaisus, think I might write a suregery for dummies book or soemat – I’ll be quids in.

  5. There must be a ‘handy’ gene or something. I have 5 brothers, none of which I’d trust to change a lightbulb (or my sisters, very sexist of me). My husband’s family, despite all having office jobs, could probably re-build the space shuttle.

  6. Still waiting on the contract? Eeek, what the hell’s taking them so long?

  7. my bosses mother in law, who’s in her eighties has a twenty year old washing machine which needed a new dial. She told him to order two of them while he was at it.

  8. Why do you say Guards? When it’s Gards. Short for Garda/Gardai.

    Just saying is all.

  9. Sid: Go for it, I’m sure it’ll be a big seller.
    Aisling: Perhaps. It skipped a generation in my family – my grandad has it, and I do, but my dad would rather leave it to someone else. Perhaps it was his way of rebelling against his dad’s jack-of-all-trades approach.
    Cat: I got a call yesterday asking if I’d received it yet. Apparently their HR dept is swamped, and it’s their fault there’s a delay. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least, having seen the way most HR departments operate. I’m trying to keep the paranoia demons at bay.
    galwaywegian: That was rather optimistic of her. My granny got a new washing machine a couple of years back, after having had the same Philips one for almost 30 years. They don’t make them etc etc.
    blarneyman: Guard is an English translation of garda. I’ve never really thought about it, to be honest.

  10. Thnaks Kav – all I need is a small advance and what with your new job and everything …

  11. I never really thought about the Gard versus Guard thing, so I don’t know which they are. Maybe I’ll open one up just to see. No, hold on – I have to get the DVD player back together first. Maybe later.

  12. Kav I’m a poxy-moron (not anymore)but I found mostly when I was a you were charged what they thought you can afford- I know there are some swines who would rip off their Granny, sure you know yourself the way it goes.

  13. Sid: I never said I was a philanthropist, hey. Jeez, as soon as I get rich and famous, everyone’s begging.
    Sneezy: Don’t even start, it’s a feckin Pandora’s Box. The DVD player, I mean.
    Paddy: Oh I’m not disputing that there are plenty of honest tradesmen out there. It’s more that I’m lamenting people’s willingness to fork out money where it isn’t necessary. I truly do care about everyone’s well-being, you see. It’s not that I just like complaining, honest.

  14. Lovely. Fukin lovely. Now you tell me. Ah bollix to this – anyone want to buy spare parts for a DVD player?

  15. Oh sorry. I must have come to the wrong blog

  16. Mr Sneeze, I’ll never say no to some more garage clutter.

    Sid: Ah, playing the guilt card now, is it? Fine, cheque’s in the post. Will five grand do it?

  17. 5 grand will do for now Mr Kav. But don’t expect that to be the last of it you little whippersnapper.

  18. Ohhh – do you have a suede tool belt? yum

    Can’t the company fax the contract you can sign and fax back, at least that way you can go into the weekend paranoid free

  19. Yeah, I don’t fix much myself. I do own a power drill, though. I’ve even used it.

    Sounds like it’s time to call the company and ask them to get you the contract.

  20. It’s a gift, Kav, be grateful. I’m still learning blogging basics one year in because I’m nearly a Luddite.
    Computers are scary!
    Technology makes my head hurt.

  21. flirty: I do indeed. I might even post a picture of it later. And it’s a big “pack” as opposed to a simple contract, and I have to review it all to my satisfaction before I sign anything. Gah!
    sassy: I know, but I’m stuck in one of these situations where the recruitment consultant has to go via their HR who have to go via my future boss. As far as he’s concerned everything’s kosher but someone’s sitting on their hands along the way, and I’m not allowed to contact anyone direct. Gaaaah!

  22. We had builders in to do a job fixing some architrave that was out of place or something. They did the job in two installments – one the day we rang them …

    … and another two weeks later, leaving us without a kitchen door for two weeks. Bastards.

  23. The brother was going to open himself up and perform minor surgery due to a deep mistrust of the medical profession, but whilst doing a DIY job on the fuse board he electrocuted himself and managed to cure the medical ailment at the same time.
    The ensuing blackout was cured with a bit of tinfoil wrapped around the old fuse, don’t try that one at home kids, but he saved himself a trip to the doctor and no need to pay out to the rip off merchant lecky.

  24. ps where did you get the top clicks thingy from?

  25. Dario: That’s another reason I try to avoid them, so many are unreliable. I’ve considered setting myself up as one, and think I’d do well purely because I would get a job done before moving on to the next one.
    Tim: Quite inventive of him – dare I ask what kind of medical condition gets cured with an electric shock. Without knowing anything about you or your brother, I would imagine it has something to do with his penis.

    Top clicks is just one of the widgets available in WordPress – click on Presentation and then Widgets (not sure if yours will be the same?).

    Welcome along, by the way. You’re probably regretting it already.

  26. Kav, the cheque isn’t signed . GGGRRRRR

  27. “the band that links the motor to the drum” – what is this strange language you speak?

    My brain fizzles with evrn the concept of anything remotely mechanical, like a clothes-peg.

    I once cycled 101 miles from Holyhead to Liverpool without the use of my easiest gear, because – as I discovered from a book (remember them) months later – I didn’t realise all I needed to do was use a screwdriver to turn one screw 90 degrees. Not having that bottom gear added about three hours to the trip (the bike was overloaded with things like Duty-Free).

    Still, regardless of books, I was in my late twenties before I first changed a light bulb, and past thirty before I first opened a plug – but then that just confimed my fears: okay I might not have died opening it, but now I had a 50% chance of killing myself even if it was colour-coded for my convenience in a hand-sized gameshow of death and confusion.

  28. I have my own tool box, which I now keep hidden from the husband. He never puts any of his tools back where they belong so therefore he can’t find them and then comes and pilfers mine-and doesn’t put them back. Being rednecks, we have four rusted washing machines in the back yard being consumed by weeds. I’ll give you the dials for free and throw in the old Camaro that’s up on blocks.

  29. Oh come on, lads. It’s not fucking Gards. Gimme a break.

    This is as bad as the people who think the Irish for “blog” is “blag”, (a contraction of “bhueblag” no doubt).

  30. are you callin’ my mate oxy a moron ?

    conas a litrítear “blog” as gaeilge, a bhock ?

  31. Yeah……. this one time, i tried hooking up a satellite dish, but it didn’t come with any instructions.

    No matter what i did i couldn’t get it to stay in orbit around the outside of the house.

  32. Having read Hangar Queens description of her visit by the Jehovas and her automatic thoughts of what “Kav would do” I think I understand the penis thing.
    The brother had no penis problems other than not getting any meaningful use for it at the time, it was all in his head, hypochondria, his meeting with high voltage realigned a few synapses or cut them off totally and his fall backwards off the ladder and subsequent clattering of head off the hall floor seemed to do a world of good, he plays fantasy football now for a living…….

    I see Bock here also, I thought Blag was cockney for steal, not an Irish weblog?

  33. Tim Blag in the Irish language – if it exists – is a Gaelicization of the English word Blog and is pronounced the same.

    It’s a lazy practice, very common to the field of technology, of not using existing words in the Irish language to describe what you’re actually doing. Eircom would be somewhat similar, coming out of the former name of Telecom Éireann whihc was just really a Gaelicization of the name of the British equivalent rather than using the Irish word for telcommunications and playing with that.

  34. Thanks Eolaí, or should I say go raibh maith agat my residence in Sweden has obviously dented my ability to appear Irish and/or removed some of the sense of humour, I was trying to be funny regarding blagging or blagaíocht, I must therefore accept graciously your explanation in the spirit that it was given.
    Cheers Tim

  35. Are plumbers known for being lecherous, then? Just how lecherous are we talking? Are there any pleasantly lecherous ones? Or any that are thrillingly lecherous? See I’ve got this dripping tap. It’s probably just the washer but I’d like a second opinion…

  36. Don’t worry Tim – it didn’t – but I reckoned I’d trot out the soapbox shortie for those who might be wondering about an explanation.

    It’s a bad habit I’ve picked up in a North America dominated by North European descendants who, on the rare occasions they indulge in sarcasm, immediately apologise and explain their jokes.

  37. I can’t even change the tube in my bike tyre…

  38. Bet you are one of those sorts who brings his own dinner into the sitting room from the kitchen! HA! Not even thinking for a minute about all those poor waiters looking for work. Leave it to us Kav, we are the professionals…

  39. You see Kav, what you do – opening things up that who knew could be opened – is heroic.

  40. Kav, how did you get that email subscription link to open a new page? I want to add this to my blog but the only option I can see is to add that crappy graphic. I’d sooner have it similar to yours.

  41. Sid, I’m chuckling my most evil chuckle here.
    Eolaí, if it’s any consolation, I have no artistic talent whatsoever. I am in awe of you. Quiet awe, but awe nonetheless.
    Angie: I’ve tried to make my garage off limits to women. All I want is a bed and an Xbox out there and I’d have no need for the house.
    bock: Yeah! Stick it to the man.
    Rambling Man: Is maith liom oraistí agus úlla.
    derfen, you’re a funny fucker alright.
    Tim, that sounds like the life for me. Actually it doesn’t. I am bottom of my fantasy football thing by about 500 points. Brutal, I am.
    sam: A new washer is all you need. I’ll pop over at the weekend. I don’t charge…much.
    carolyn: I have to say, that’s a pain in the hole of a job. I used to take it to get done rather than do it myself when I cycled a lot.
    manuel: I’m like my granny in that respect. I’d go and help you bring the plates out, but I’d leave you a good tip too for being such a nice lad.
    Eolaí: I’ve never been called heroic before. I’m basking in it. Like a basking shark.
    Blarneyman, not sure what you mean? I have WordPress configured to open new windows for most sidebar links, where possible. I’m not sure if you can do it on Blogger. It’s something to do with setting up a Target=blank thing, but I’m not too hot on html.

  42. Don’t worry, Kav. I sorted it out. Thanks all the same! 🙂

  43. I am a girl, who lives with 3 blokes, and they are the ones who always want to “call the man”, last weekend, I was in London, when one of them calls me in a panic, “babs, babs, the electricity is gone off downstairs, what will we do, will you call your Dad” (Dad normally fixes things that I cannot), I was like “did the switch trip” to which I got a reply of “what switch??”, yes seriously, 3 25 year old men did not know what the trip switch was, I fix everything in our house, from the broken toilet seat to the sockets etc, I did have a good mentor. People think that they are playing thick, but they really have NO idea how to do anything, it kills me, but I save them a fortune and they repay me with boxes of beer and other random niceities!!

  44. Babs, welcome along. You know, I find that easy to believe, because I know a couple of lads like that myself. They wouldn’t know a screwdriver from a spanner, the spanners.

    Sounds like a good deal you’ve got though, goodies in exchange for know-how. Wish I had that set-up.

  45. A dhuine fanach: nil aon Gaeilge ar an focal “blog”.

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