Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Roof Spun from Gold

I believed this was going to be a total waste of time, but I figured what the hell -- give the guy a chance.

My fears were confirmed when he pulled up in a new Escalade, not a ladder in sight. After glancing briefly at my roof from the ground, he said, "You're missing a lot of shingles up there. You could start leaking any day now."

Uh-huh. And so it began.

I'm going to need some roof work on statley Brian Manor soon. As I've mentioned before, she's shedding shingles like crazy. According to the roofing contractor who actually climbed up on the roof and looked at it, Fortunately, all the old roofing material the previous owners left on the roof basically guarantee that it won't leak anytime soon, but it looks like crap. If I want to sell the house any time in the near future, I'm going to have to do something about it.

Meaning I got to visit with my new best friend. Jay strutted in, perfectly coiffed wearing a shiny leather jacket. Forgive me for stereotyping, but I want a roofing estimator to look like he actually stood sometime in the last 20 years with a hammer and roofing nails. I find that reassuring.

Jay started getting on my good side by commenting on my Indiana Jones DVDs that were out on the table - I'd been doing a little watching. He started talking about the good old days, watching Raiders and that one movie, with those guys, Monty . . . Python was it? The grail? Right! The Holy Grail.

Please. No self-respecting geek with an ounce of geek cred forgets about the Holy Grail. Nice try though.

But that's okay; I then heard about how his company is the most benevolent, kind, noble organization on earth. They rescue old ladies from the evil contractors. They remove kittens from trees. They save orphans. By the time he finished, I was crying. I wasn't worthy to be sitting in the presence of such magnamity.

Soon, it was time to talk turkey. He wasn't a salesman, and he hated it when sales people named a price, then cut it down in order to get the business. So a new roof would cost me . . . $22,000. But wait! They're offering $1,000 off as a special -- and another 15% since they buy so many shingles (apparently they're magic shingles, each one coated in gold and kissed by a fairy), and if I sign the paperwork tonight - right this very minute, he'll cut the price to a mere $13,000.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that the other bid I had, the one from the guy who actually walked up on the roof, was for around $3800. Needless to say, I know which bid I preferred.

My new best friend left, without a signed contract. For some reason, I had trouble pulling the trigger on a roof that would cost more than my car. At least the car has moving parts.

There are all sorts of predators in this world. Some say they'll do something and run away with your money. Others are nearly as bad -- they dazzle you with a long presentation and flummox you into signing your life away for a service that you can have at a fraction of the cost. Sadly, there are people who fall for the dog and pony show every day; that's why Jay was driving his shiny new Escalade around town.

What can I say? It sucks always being right. I closed the door and climbed up the stairs, chuckling all the while.