Nov 29, 2007

Like Pushing a Rope...twice.

My little town has its own Natural Laws of Inverse Proportion.

How quickly you need something will determine:

  • How slowly it will be bid on,
  • How much the vendor will expect you to do,
  • How much the contractor really believes the urgency to be.

How expertly you need it rendered will determine:

  • How little professionalism you can expect,
  • How void of ideas the vendor will be when faced with unexpected problems,
  • How many times it will have to be re-done.

I wish it were funny. Consider: There's a HUGE project that, when finished, will bring hundreds of thousands millions of folks to see your handiwork for at least the next 50 years. Yet, somehow it's just not important to do one's best work. "Just enough is good enough."

There is no glory in that kind of Slack.

That's the overarching, prevailing attitude in this town, unfortunately. I think it's the Tourist-Sucker Syndrome writ large. You can be as crappy as you like, and still make money because next week will bring in a whole new crop of pigeons to be played. Well and good if you're one of the local establishments here that hasn't dusted the baseboards or air-intake vents in almost 40 years. Why should you? Money for nothing and the checks are free...

Or consider a nice-enough restaurant that thinks itself on par with the tony establishments to the north. There is simply no comparison. Local advisers to the restaurant association here had suggestions for the lagging business. The owner was indignant! She was the Queen of Corridor into town! Of course she is. The City Council works very hard to keep good chain-restaurants away from the heart of the tourist district.

That's why you can't find a Starbucks in the heart of town. It would actually constitute some righteous reckonin' of capitalistic competition, and that would be the end of so many dynasties here.

And that idea extends to every business of every level here. Salaries are low and housing/business prices are stratospheric. And everyone here votes Democrat. How can people afford to live here? Why, by getting a government job, of course!

Meanwhile, I have a deadline, and likely more than one television team showing up in a week for a big event. Every.single.part. of this project has had to be done twice. Except for the parachute.

My parachute is still doing its job, as it has been for the last two months, and it only cost me about 5 minutes of internet surfing, $69 and a bit of old rope I had in the trunk of my car. It's the only part of this project that has worked well, on time, the first time, and under budget.

Yeah, I'm underpaid.


Jean said...

I hate it when people can survive with no pride in what they do. Or worse. Quality is a very big factor in the work I do, but there are way too many co-workers who just do not give a shit and do as little as possible and couldn't care less about the quality of what little they do. So, the rest of us must constantly make up for their slack.
...AND, the asses get paid the same and sometimes more than those of us who care. That's a major defect in our union status.

Oswegan said...

I think you just described every contractor I've ever dealt with.


Mark said...

HEY. Don't start bagging on contractors. They don't ALL suck.

Joan of Argghh! said...

No, just in MY town. You'd have to live here to understand. Even today, the bronze plaques couldn't be installed because the bolts they sent with them were too short and straight-slotted. Just being associated with a project in my freaky town turns esteemed craftsmen into drooling morons.

Don't even get me started about the stain-glassed windows framed in wood instead of iron...

Mark said...

Wood frames are fine as long as they have been sealed properly. but it sounds like the chance of that is about the same as a snowball's in Hell's.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Puh-leeze! The restorers found colored paper in some of the areas where the glass fell out! And right next to the ocean? Fuggeddaboudit! The original woodwork was well-crafted, but I fear for the restoration process.

I wish you lived on the East Coast, I'd get you to bid on it! Your work is very fine, indeed.

Mark said...

Why, thank you!

Um, colored PAPER?