“I’m Not Stupid.”

Have you, as a woman, encountered men who think that you’re not as bright as you really are? I’ve had that happen a few times in my life and it always drives me to distraction. I’ve run into mechanics that don’t realize that I’m rather smart, for a girl, and know a bit about engines. The ones that don’t realize I have searched several places and have gathered my facts so that I am a little smarter than I was before.

A recent example is the transmission leak in my Rendezvous; affectionately known as Rendy to all of you, I’m sure. I knew there was a leak. I knew it had to be taken care of. The mechanic who replaced my A/C condenser is the one that “caused” the leak but then avoided me on taking care of the leak. It took me a bit to figure out exactly what the leak was (thank you, Dad!) and the first mechanic I took Rendy to for that leak decided to fix half the leak. Instead of paying these same people more money to fix the other half of the leak, I took it elsewhere and got the job done right.

Quite a few years ago, I found someone to teach me how to do my own “tune up” on my Dodge truck. Instead of paying a lot of money, I did it. I was never so proud as when I figured out how to do that and got it done – on my own. I tell people about it quite frequently, as a source of pride.

I’ve fixed wiring in my home, repaired kitchen plumbing. I’ve done just a little bit of near everything. If it appears beyond my abilities, I pay for someone else to do it. If I don’t have time or desire, I’ll figure out what’s wrong and pay someone else to do it. I don’t go through life blindly believing anything someone tells me. I’ve learned the hard way that girls tend to get taken advantage of in business and I’ve skilled myself enough to know when its happening and how to stop it.

I say all this to say that yesterday, someone else (a male) figured I was stupid and tried to pull one over on me. I am unhappy about that and they will get no more of my business because of it.

I hired a couple guys based on a Craigslist ad to help with our first big push to move to Montana. Their job was to load the truck the best they could, drive it to Montana, unload everything and get the truck back to Idaho Falls before 7 p.m. Their ad listed them at $55 an hour for two guys. I worked out with them that I would pay them $200 up front and, within two weeks, pay the remaining balance. Everyone agreed to this and the plan was executed.

I had Jen, Jen’s brother Seth, myself and the two guys loading the truck up yesterday. On arrival (just after 9 a.m.), they saw how big the task was and tried to call in more guys to help them. That would have bumped the price up further. As far as I understood it, three guys would have been $75/hr and so on. They couldn’t get a hold of anyone and we set about loading up the truck.

I wasn’t a lot of help, of course, since I can’t rightly carry very many things. I cleaned the kitchen and set about getting dinner started for the boys. A friend was picking them up from school and bringing them to the house, so I started spaghetti sauce to cook all day for dinner. We filled the truck, not emptying the house unfortunately, at 1230 and I bought lunch for everyone before we left town (including the two movers I hired).

On the way up there, I purchased a bottle of some liquor of sorts for the college boys I knew lived next door to our new house and Jen walked it over to them. She effectively bribed one college guy to come help unload. He worked his tail off for about an hour and then took off. He was very helpful and I have no ill will for him scooting out after an hour of unloading!

In essence, these paid movers had two “unpaid” helpers on the way up and three “unpaid” helpers on location to unload. The unload went smooth and fast and, in the process of moving stuff into the house, I decided the green couches I had needed to leave the house. I told the movers they could have them and asked for a little help (discount) on what the final bill would be as a result of giving them couches, nice ones at that. They said they would.

We left our new house at 4:30 p.m. with plenty of time to get the truck back to the rental place by 7 p.m. (my deadline). On the drive home, I asked what he thought the final bill would be. The owner of this moving “company,” and I use that term loosely, sent me a text saying that he “normally does a move like this for $650, would give me a $150 discount for being a veteran and I would owe him $500 total”, $200 was paid up front. I’d have a balance due of $300 to pay in two weeks.

Let’s do some math, shall we?

  • 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at $55 an hour is 10 hours for a total of: $550.
  • He didn’t have to call in more helpers because I provided all that I could during the process.
  • I paid for lunch and all materials used.
  • I gave up some green couches (nice ones, did I mention?) without expecting anything.

Exactly when did he decide I was stupid and was ever going to pay him $650 for that job? His Craigslist ad says nothing about charging more for “unexpectedly hard jobs.” Want to read it? I took out all of the personal information so they can’t sue me or some such nonsense.

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If I were to go on one of those really awesome court shows that play in the background when I’m sewing my quilts, I would have to admit to the following:

  • No signed contract; however, the ad on Craigslist is contract enough and that states $55/hr.
  • No negotiated price for green couches; I did willingly give them up so I would have one less thing to deal with.
  • They did do the job and, as yet, I have no complaints on how they did the job. I kept a close watch, so I’m quite sure that nothing got broken.
  • There was no implied or stated “discount” at the start of the work.

I have no legal leg to stand on in my upset at them. I have moral outrage, of course. They think I’m stupid and can’t add or do any form of math. So, these movers get a set of green couches free and I get a $50 discount on my move. I have two weeks to come up with the $300 I still owe them in order to keep my word. I might be upset but I’ll do everything in my power to keep my word. They’ll just never get my business again.

I’m also upset because I said they could drop their new couches at their house but the rental had to be back by 7:15 p.m. (at the latest!). They got there at 7:45 p.m. By the time I was done filling the gas tank, the truck was returned exactly at 8:15 p.m. – an hour late. I’ll find out later today if they are going to charge me another day for that hour late.

  • $125 truck rental from Enterprise to move the man’s tools
  • $140 gas on truck rental from Enterprise to move the man’s tools
  • $300 Budget truck rental to move the bulk of the house
  • $150 diesel gas in Budget truck to move the bulk of the house
  • $500 (with that o’so awesome $50 discount they gave me) to the movers

Total cost: $1215 (so far – we’re not done) and that doesn’t count the food and gas used in personal vehicles during this move. Next time, I hire the guys that drop a pod at my door, let me take a week or more to fill it up and then drive it to Montana and drop it at my new door for 24 hours (maximum time for unloading the pod). The cost is cheaper and a hell of a lot less stress (especially with movers that treat you like you’re stupid).

Looking at what I could have done versus what I did, maybe I am stupid after all – but that’s only in the execution of the move, not the planning. I thought I had it planned out reasonably but I was wrong. This is the first time I’ve tried to move states with family dragging behind me. When I move just myself, it’s relatively easy!

Lesson learned? I’m quite sure it has been. All I know is, right now, I’m done with the moving idea and dealing with everything. My stress level is through the roof. I’m done. Just let me go unpack, would ya?

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