BONEHEAD BLUNDER: Failing to connect the dots
THE BONEHEAD: A bunch of folks who surfaced in May
BONEHEAD RATING: 5
WHAT HAPPENED: After a perfectly lovely spring during which I managed to get tons of work finished and even more tons scheduled, the skies opened to create the rainiest May since the Pilgrims hit the shore. Even Noah was calling to see if I work on big boats, powered by two engines, of course.
A bit about my work: Most of it is within a 50-mile radius, but even that means approximately an hour per job is relegated to travel. Because of constant rain, I’m 19 jobs behind as of today. If I had a covered shop and folks brought their boats to me, those 19 jobs would be resolved in a week. But I don’t, they can’t, and it ain’t gonna happen. At a minimum, if I take on no more jobs, I have enough work to last until July. Whether I have enough Grid to last until July remains to be seen. Therefore, the phone continues to be abused by folks with an inability to relate my circumstances — weather, parts backorders, small-business paperwork, equipment failures and the need for the tech to try to get two hours of sleep a day whether he needs it or not — to the pressure brought on the owner by grandkids, wives, children and his own panicky-awareness that winter passed without his having gotten the boat ready in time for the aforementioned onslaught of family.
Here are some of the conversations just prior to Memorial Day, summer’s official start.
Grid! The kids decided to come this weekend and I was hoping you could slip by (60-mile one-way trip) and check it over before they arrive. I spent so much money with ABC Marina last year that my wife told me I had to find somebody cheaper. Do you think you could come this afternoon? You’re scheduled for this afternoon; will you still be here? It’s raining, supposed to for another week or so. So you won’t be here? Probably not. It’s raining. Well, if it stops raining, what time will you be here?
I know I haven’t paid your earlier invoice, but can you see about installing an anchor windlass I just got at West Marine? No, it’s raining. I’ll hold an umbrella over you while you work — that’ll help! Here’s an idea: hold the umbrella over a West Marine employee while he installs it in the rain. I don’t think they do that kind of work. My, my…
I was all ready for you to come today to service my boat, went to lower it, and found only the bow would lower. I ran it back up, tried again, but nothing at all. I called the boat lift guy and he’ll be here by the afternoon. [I know the “lift guy,” and the boat owner will be lucky to see him this year, between fishin’ and huntin’ seasons!] I put a board across to the boat so you could get to the engine to work on it. I need it quickly. I know you think I look like Evel Knievel, but that’s still wrong.
LESSON LEARNED: The weather forecast is for five more days of rain and thunderstorms. I swear, I’m going to make an audio tape of these calls!