Sunday, March 1, 2009

Distraction - Plumbing

Simple? Of course not! I decided to replace my bathroom faucets because one was leaking and they were all corroded. Simple. So I go to the plumbing supply to look for new fixtures, and what do I see? No faucets in the color that's throughout my bathroom - polished brass! It isn't in style right now. Brushed nickel is in. But my shower is polished brass, and my bathroom window has built-in polished brass mullions among glass block. Lucky me - pretty but not simple.

I had found some faucets at Home Depot when I was shopping for the water heater (see previous distraction). They are polished brass. There were only the 2 sets left, because they were being discontinued. Of course, they were on sale. The Home Depot salesman told me that because they were discontinued, they would eventually be discontinued by their computer system, and in that case I would not be able to return them. So, I decided to get the plumber quickly to install them. I hoped I would be quick enough to be able return them if necessary, in case there was something wrong; ie, before they disappeared form the Home Depot computer system.

The plumber spent several hours. Finally he told me that the "adapter" (remember that word) was too short, so the handle of the faucet didn't quite reach the valve to turn the water on and off. He said that some faucets came with little adapter extenders in case this happened, but there were no extenders in this set.

We phoned the 800 number for the faucets and waited about 45 minutes for help. The help line said there were no adapter extenders for these faucets. I phoned again and waited again and this time they told me they would send me a new set of adapters, which would reach me in 7-10 days.

So the plumber left the bathroom sans faucets. I went in to clean up a bit, and I was taking the faucets apart and putting pieces together at random, when suddenly, I realized that the plumber had the adapters on upside down! The adapter is a cylinder about 1 inch long, but one end is narrower than the other, and when I turned it over and put the faucet together, it worked!

The next day a master plumber came out and spent 4 hours putting everything together. The company didn't charge me. Later that night, I realized that one of the sinks had a leak underneath where the plumber hadn't sealed two pieces together.

I phoned the company about the leak first thing in the morning. A while later, the phone rang. The boss who had sent the master plumber was on the line asking me to pay for some of the job, because when he said I'd get the remainder of the job for free, he hadn't realized that the previous plumber had left everything totally uninstalled. He thought the plumber had installed everything except the adapters and handles.

Ass that I am, I talked this through with this boss and agreed, yes it had seemed a lot of plumbing hours to get for free and sure we'd be glad to pay for another couple of hours. Then it came out that this boss didn't know about the call I had placed in the morning about the leak under the sink!

They'll fix the leak for free, but I'll still be paying those fees I agreed to pay. Had I been a little more adept, I might have embarrassed them into dropping all the charges!