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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are some of your horror stories?

I was thinking back the other day about some of the different jobs I have had over the years and one in particular stood out. It was my first summer home after getting out of the military and I started working for a GC doing some of the most random projects... He asked me one morning if I had ever built any retaining walls to which I said 'no'... He then explained to me that I was about to get a crash course in it. It was late June and was already hot along the Carolina coast. I was soon to learn that the type of retaining wall I was about to construct wasn't your simple planter wall or inclined backyard type, unless that backyard butted up to the inter-coastal waterway. I spent what I consider the hottest and most miserable summer building railroad tie seawalls along the Carolina coast. The work was backbreaking, the temps were so hot that we could only work in the mornings and evenings and when the tides allowed. That being the case, we became a virtual buffet for the mosquito's early morning breakfast and late afternoon dinner, and then there was the mud. It literally would stain your skin black as it was easily waist deep in most areas. We finally gave up on the oily bug juice/sun block because our sweat would just make it drip into our eyes and would temporarily blind us. The weight of the GC's backhoe proved to be too much for getting close to the edge of the yard/waterway so we found ourselves doing all the lifting, digging and positioning by hand. If anyone ever asks you to build a seawall during mid summer along the east coast take my advice and decline...:no: I can honestly say that I was more miserable that summer than I was the summer I spent at Parris Island.
 

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some moron plumber laid the copper pipe exposed right on top of the foundation wall. it burst. massive amounts of water flooded the finished basement. that was disgusting.
 

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Not messy or dificult, but definitly a pain in the ass: Removing probably a few thousand staples used to fasten a foam backing to a fabric wall covering in a master bedroom.
It took a couple of days.
 

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A client who, after we left for the day, would crawl around with a magnifying glass looking for defects, but had no construction background. Every morning we would have a 3 page letter instructing us what we were to do next, and what he found wrong. One issue he "discovered" was a non-load bearing wall that he claimed was holding up the house that we had altered to recieve a valet cabinet which I personally reframed.
Another was a pinhole in the grout surrounding mosaic glass tile which was only visible if you were laying on the floor with full lighting and a magnifying glass.
The wife left a message with our cabinet supplier one day that she wasn't satisfied with how the mirror reflected. We all got a good chuckle about that.
She also took issue with the fact that the painter she hired (who was "awesome") didn't know how to scuff sand and re-stain and glaze her window frames and told her that if it was so easy we could come do it ourselves. The cabinet supplier only supplied the stain and glaze. I had to go give him a lesson, but it was an "emergency", so I pulled off my current job to go handle the "issue" and found that she had misinterpreted the entire thing.
The husband was in her words a "nazi" about insulation. I reinsulated the bathroom back to it's original condition, and added a layer of batt to an access area with material that would have been discarded. The access area was open for 2 full days, but after the scuttle was covered with a removable valet cabinet which required 2 men to level and plumb, he wanted me to take it down to inspect the insulation.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhh.
There is more, but you have all had customers like this. It's kind of funny once it's over. (Not really)
 

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No, never in NJ. But we all have "that memorable customer" It's just nice to know I am not alone. I never rip people off, and always communicate thoroughly with them and go way above and beyond to make them happy. Unfortunately, there are so many lazy, unqualified people in our line of work that we all get the standard scrutiny. (I would be suspicious too)
What's cool is that in this forum, anyone that is here actually gives a crap about what they do and are people who I automatically trust because they are not being paid to be on this forum.
I just came upon this site by accident and love it already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Forgot about the lady I was sent out to talk with after she laid waste to her condo and the poor guy below her. She had hired contractor to do a few things to her place like new hardwoods, some painting and patch a small hole left by the plumber who had to inspect a leak months earlier. The contractor had just finished installing the hardwoods & this chick just couldn't let anyone do their job. She was shadowing everyone and telling them to be careful of her paintings, her Persian rugs etc etc. The contractor had a guy patching the ceiling when the lady finds out that they will have to send someone out another day to sand down the 1st coat of jc and apply another coat which will require a sanding and painting. Well this woman gets out her hair dryer and tells the poor guy doing the patch work to use her hair dryer to speed up the jc drying because she cannot afford to have these guys come back again. Well............... The ceiling patch was being done right next to a mercury switch fire sprinkler and guess what happened next:clap:? Well by the time I got there she was ranting and raving about how tragic this all was and was blaming the guy who had been repairing the ceiling and was calling him all sorts of names (btw the general wasn't on site when this all happened, the worker in my opinion should have known better or at least called his boss but whatever). The fire dept had just turned off the water when I got there and I was pissed I hadn't brought my fishing rod:no:. The kicker was she was looking for all sorts of sympathy when I got there and all I could do was look at her with the most "you dumb......" expression.
 

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I did a half bath last year in an estate house where a guy in his 90s had passed away. The old boy must have had some SERIOUS, SERIOUS control problems. We black lighted that sucker and the splash marks came up shoulder high around the toilet. You couldn't walk past the bath without being overcome... worst urine smell I've ever encountered.

I bought respirators, tyvec suits, and gloves and said "Boys, better you than me."

"WE" gutted to the studs, replaced the subfloor, then bleached and KILZed EVERYTHING.

As a painter in my teens I worked in more than a few "roach motel" apartments. Makes me shudder again to think of them.

Plumbers usually get the short end of the stick more often than not. Mine was telling me about a house he worked on the other day where the hacks who plumbed it originally had only strapped the PVC in 2 places. ALL of the drains for the 1 story house had broken free and were laying on the crawlspace floor, along with weeks and weeks of liquid waste. When he gave them the estimate, they balked a bit and asked why so much. His reply, "Well, about $500 of that is me having to roll around in your sh**."

As for difficult clients, we've all had them. Hopefully you learn to spot the warning signs in the early stages and choose not to work for them. No job is worth the kind of headaches an unreasonable client will give you.
 

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Besides being an upper class snob, and asking what type of vehicles will be in their driveway, what kind of signs can you add to the mix?
;)
 

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Besides being an upper class snob, and asking what type of vehicles will be in their driveway, what kind of signs can you add to the mix?
;)
Good question to ask, tough one to answer.

Unfortunately, it's often a vibe--and your spidey sense doesn't really get tuned in until you've met and worked for a few odd balls.

These walls have eyes, so it's hard to be as candid as I might be over a beer at the corner pub. :whistling
 

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repainting a room a lady had commited suicide in. Brain and blood matter over walls ceiling and carpet cut out in the shape of her body on the ground. That was the nastiest like that, but tonz of places like an apartment that was a couple college guys who had condoms (used) and wrappers everywhere and a blowup doll in the upstairs room..
 

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LOL Chr
By the way, love the photo of the dog. Nice puppy!
You are right, but by the time your realize they could be a twilight zone customer, you have already pitched the job and they like you. Then all is well until you actually have to deal with them.
Ron:laughing:
 

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Demoing an illegal un-permitted garage conversion....It was a pit.Cat pee soaked carpet,fly's everywhere...Had a couple rat turds land in my mouh when I was tearing out the ceiling...:sick:
 

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Demoing an illegal un-permitted garage conversion....It was a pit.Cat pee soaked carpet,fly's everywhere...Had a couple rat turds land in my mouh when I was tearing out the ceiling...:sick:
Things that have fallen out of ceilings on me during demo:

Racoon turds
Dead bird, dead squirrel (separate occasions)
Dildo
Naked photos of the previous tenant (not pretty, wanted to gouge my eyes out)
The box from a strap on dildo
Porn
Used condoms stuffed into the insulation by the teenage son


And still... no cash... :furious:
 

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I was working for a realtor doing her punch lists. The homeowner installed all of the insulation in the crawlspace backwards. It was hung up with chicken wire stapled to the joists. This was the end of december and it was just above freezing and raining. I had to tear out half the staples to pull down the bats of fiberglass into my face, turn em around and then restaple the chickenwire. I don't know what was worse, the dry sections with 12" clearance or the 'easy spots' with 24" clearance that were wet. Sooo cold. Soo itchy.
 

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The dead squirrel reminded me of a small insurance job I did years ago. I was called in to replace the water damaged ceiling in HO's master bedroom. The sheetrock came down easily, the ancient insulation also fell on it's own followed by a few dead squirrels. One landed right on my head. I had to bring all the garbage down to the truck, and her little dog decided to take a dump right on the landing in the stairwell. I had to step over it on every trip down. The homeowner came up several times to see the progress, and stepped over the poop herself.


I go home looking dirty quite often, but I've never felt so disgusting as I did that afternoon.
 
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