Aug 31, 2009

Feelin' Like An Ageist A-hole

We need some stucco work done on our house. A few weeks back a young virile looking carpenter stopped by and gave a great quote, on the job. The problem is soon after he disappeared. We tried calling him several times and got back no answer.

So, Marcos and I became anxious about getting the repairs done. Well, today as we went to get lunch we saw an elderly gentleman doing some cement repair work on the foundation of the diner we go to. I would say the man is around 70-75 years of age. He told us he was retired, but at times takes on odd jobs.

Marcos approached him and talked to him about the job. I appreciated Marcos' proactive initiative at first. However, when the gentleman got up from the bucket and started to talk with us about the job, I realized he was slow moving, a bit jittery, and lacked a certain agility. Man my stomach just turned writing that last part.

Long story short Marcos had the guy come over to see the job, he gave a slightly higher quote than the original carpenter, and it was agreed we would contact him to make plans for him to do the job. I reiterated to Marcos that I had concerns about the fact the job would require the carpenter to climb up at least 8 feet, in order to use a hammer an chisel to section of an area above the window where the stucco was falling apart.

All I could see in my head was the elderly man climbing that ladder and having to use his both hands to do the job, with no one supporting him. The other carpenter has an assistant. It played over and over in my head that elderly man falling to the ground and being seriously injured. I couldn't shake the idea.

So, I called the original carpenter we spoke to and finally got him. Marcos worked out the details for the young guy to come over and start the job, and then I called the elderly man and left him a message that we were going to use our original guy, and that we would keep him in mind for future jobs around the house.

I feel like a douchebag. I canceled the elderly guy out, because he seemed to old and fragile for a job that can be difficult and dangerous. I don't doubt for a minute the older guy was convinced he can do it, but his golden guy physicality left me doubtful.

I'm an ageist asshole, and I just created some karma I'm going to have to face in the future.


Kitty said...

The older guy probably would have been meticulous and timely in his work whereas the young dude that thinks his shit has so minor a stench to it that he makes you chase him around. Look at it this way, if the kid screws up you can get the old guy to fix it and karma will realign when the old guy charges you double. Hope the kid does a decent job though.

lelocolon said...

I let you act on your feelings, because if something happened to Joe (the old carpenter) I did not wanted to hear you say, I told you so. But you also left out that he wanted money in advance, which I felt kind of uncomfortable about it. And when I told joe to give me a call on the day that he was going to do the work for me to go with him to buy the supplies, he still requested for me to give him a check. Ernan (the young Carpenter) was ok to provide the materials and also agree to get paid after a day of work. Having said that I did not mind the old guy because, my father is a master carpenter and he is the same age as Joe.

Kitty said...

Money changes everything...I would have gone with the youngster in that case. You have to at least get a sense of what your paying for before you start handing out money.

Kyle said...

Hi Allan-Though I can understand why you feel the way you do, as homeowners I think you have to protect your own interests. I'd be a little leery of any contractor who wants money up front, if you don't know them personally. Stan and I learned that from our own bad experiences with a contractor. Always go with your gut feeling. Did the older gentleman have site insurance? If not I think you would have every right not to use him. If something happened to him or to your house, your insurance would end up paying for it. I think it is pretty cool you are confronting this issue on your blog though. All of us, everywhere, no matter what, get old.

libhom said...

Maybe you will consider the older guy for less dangerous work in the future.