Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ryder Curse

The Ryder Septic/Sewer Curse is a real thing.  Many Ryder’s have dealt with one septic or sewer issue after another for years and years.  My Ryder household is no exception.  12 years ago, we had to dig up our whole front yard and replace our house's connection to the municipal sewer line.  For the past couple of years, we've battled periodic chunky basement back-ups.  I've become quite adept at utilizing a twin plunging suction system to coax the blockage free.  Over Christmas break, as is Ryder Curse custom, I determined that the back-up was being triggered by a deteriorated basement sewer drain line.  Of course, this line is under concrete in my basement. 

So, I'm searching for a company to come in and chunk (favorite word of the day) out the concrete and lay a new line.  It's a pretty straight-forward job, but labor intensive. 

I've called a few companies and most will send out their estimator without a quibble and with a smile on his face.  However, one local company was impossible. 

I had prior back-up relations with this company as they bailed me out last Thanksgiving when I needed help in a holiday crunch.  My suction technique needed the big guns.  So I know these guys.  In fact, they were the first ones I called to get a quote for this job.  The receptionist was delightful and promised that "Steve" would call me back. 

He did.

I explained the problem and what I wanted done.  That's when Steve interjected. "Well, we really can't know what the problem is unless we take a peek in there with our camera."  I thought that sounded reasonable, but I already know where the problem is, and I already know that I want the whole line replaced.  Steve went on and told me that  "...the camera will cost $85." 

That caused me to pause...

Steve went on, "...plus you got the standard $100 an hour fee for our crew which includes travel time from the shop to your house plus a mileage charge."  Now my pause became silence.  Finally,  I told Steve that I really hadn't counted on spending that kind of money just for an estimate.  "I mean $185 is a lot of money." 

"Well, it could be more than that.  If it takes more than an hour, we bill you for the full next hour. Oh wait,  I was wrong.  You said this is a basement accessible by a staircase, right?"


"There's an additional $50 fee for hauling equipment downstairs.


"I just want you to know what the costs are up front.  Of course, there's the standard system check $50 dollars for a liquids assessment (piss...heh-heh) and $75 solids evaluation (poop...heh-heh...that one gets me every time!)."

I ended the call before Steve could tack on any additional fees.  I was afraid that he was going to tack on a feminine products test.  So I told him that I'd call him back after I think about it some more.

I lied. 

I'm not really calling Steve back.