Sunday, November 02, 2008

Run Around Mike and One Eyed Bob

We've had a lot of work done to the house over the summer and into the fall. I think we're done for a while but that usually doesn't mean much. Much like the budget review committee, I am a junior member of the capital improvements committee.

One of the things we did was to break down and buy a new oil burner. The old one was the original from around the time of the last Phillies Parade. More likely it was from the Flyers Parade era.

We had a couple of bids and finally settled on a new oil contractor, one that all our neighbors used and loved. This is usually the first sign of trouble. If other people like some contractor, we are going to have trouble.

We signed a contract and make date for the end of September to have our old inefficient heater removed and shiny new heater installed.

The date comes and I work from home to make sure the heating contractor has everything they need. Two guys show up in trucks and sit out front for a while. Finally they come up to the door and I can't help but notice that one of the guys has one eye. His name is Bob. One-eyed Bob. He is the lead installer.

Now normally I'm all for helping out the handicapped. Unless they are holding a hot solder iron in my house and they have one eye. I'm thinking depth perception is important when building a labyrinth of piping.

The funny thing is - this is not our first one eyed contractor.

We also have Ed.

Ed is single handed the best Tile Man around. I'm not really sure where we found him but we've used him for years now, most recently to re-tile the boys bathroom. Excellent work. And he has one eye. I'm guessing here, but maybe depth perception isn't that big a deal for a tile guy. I mean you are only working in two dimensions, right? Anyway, Ed does great work.

But piping? Three dimensions. Maybe two eyes are important.

So Bob and his side kick go to work. It's a two day job and at the end of the second day, Bob approaches me around 5 and says that he has to go because his son is in intensive care because they had to remove his arm. Now he says this like he has to pick up a loaf of bread. The side kick will finish things up.

Obviously, I'm concerned. "Is your Son alright?" I ask. Bob doesn't tell me much. He was in a traffic accident yesterday and removed from the vehicle with the jaws of life.

It was just the way he said it. Like the son was stupid or something. Talk about nonchalant.

So Bob comes back in the morning and finishes up. I ask him more about the son and it turns out it's really his son in law and everything is fine. He tells me everything is fine with the heater too and if I have any trouble call them right away.

Fast forward three weeks. It's cold for the first time and I turn on the heat. I get nothing.

I call the contractor and a service guy comes. He has two eyes. He does something with the heater and declares everything should be OK now. Bye.

Hold on there, you of great depth perception. I actually try the heat this time, something I neglected to do in my sympathy for one eyed Bob and his now one armed son in law.

Still nothing. "Ahhh, it still doesn't work" I tell him.

He asked me who did the install.

I tell him "well, I know his name is Bob and he ahh, ahh had eye one". Of course! It's One eyed Bob he says. He tells me Bob gets really mad when you call him that too.

New guy has to call for back up. I bought a Buderus Logamatic R 2107 and apparently one eyed Bob is the only one that knows how the thing works. Now there are two of them down there. Bob can't come so another guy is back up.

They ask me for the manual. This can't be good.

After about and hour they get the heat working, but in some sort of manual bypass mode. They'll tell the home office that I need a visit from who else but now famous one eyed Bob.

I figure that I'll call Monday, they'll know what I need and I'll schedule something for Wednesday when my wife is home.

I spend most of Monday and Tuesday getting the run around. They tell me that I need to talk with Mike the salesman. Not good.

When we bought the new heater I had told Mike that we might be interested in buying Oil from them as well as the heater. Mike signed us up for a budget plan and sent coupons before I could say "one eyed bob". We checked out their prices. They were high. Real high. Outrageously high.

I check with our old company and frankly they were cheaper, I could cap the oil price for free and I knew they were reliable. I bought Oil from the old company for this year.

I called back Mike and Bob's company and told them to remove me from the budget plan. Well, you would have thought I walked up and slapped them across the face. "Why don't you want to be our customer any more" they asked. I'm thinking, I never was.

Finally, I get Mike on the phone at like 3 PM on Tuesday. Yes, Bob will come over on Wednesday and make everything nice-nice. I'm not there, but Bob does something to the Buderus Logamatic R 2017 on that Wednesday. I have Bob's report in my hand. It says:

"Set Up Logamatic"

Bob has a certain economy with words.

We seemed to be OK for a while until colder weather sets in. My wife says the heater is coming on a lot and I agree. There really isn't any science here other than "It seems to be coming on a lot". I also check the boiler temperature. It's coming up to full temperature or 180 degrees.

On Friday I has some time so I called the contractor. About ten minutes later I got a call.

"Bob will be right over"

I explain to Bob that we think the boiler is coming on a lot and that it is coming up to full temperature. The big selling point was that the Buderus Logamatic R 2017 was supposed to limit the boiler temperature during warmer weather so that you use less oil.

Bob is all attitude.

I'm asking questions and Bob is talking in circles. Bob is not planning on checking anything and is all talk. Finally I tell him that the boiler is coming up to full temperature in October and I'm concerned that I am not going to get the efficiencies I planned on for my oil.

Bob drops the bomb.

"Well, who do you buy your oil from?" he asks.

I tell him "what does that matter?". Apparently it matters a lot to Bob.

He tells me "Normally, we don't even work on equipment for non oil customers"

Whaaaaaaat the .......

I explain to Bob that yes, I have two years of maintenance and you had better well plan on working on this boiler.

I tell Bob we're done here and he leaves without a goodbye.

So now I have a problem. I guess on Monday it's back on the phone to talk to run around Mike and then I'll have to call the manufacturer. I want to know how all this works. I want to make sure it's hooked right.

I'll keep you posted.

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