Award Winning Blog

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Can You Hear Me Now?—The Wireline Edition

Regardless of the business cycle and overall economy, tradespeople in my rural enclave follow a different drummer.  Most work when they feel like it and never seek to maximize income.  There’s often a leisure pursuit worth prioritizing: the start of the hunting or fishing season, a county fair, a family event. It drives me crazy when year after year a scheduled premises visit does not happen, and calls do not get returned.

Today sets a new low point.

After agreeing on terms for the replacement of PVC conduit and wire between my septic tank and basement alarm, (a long story about rural living) both the electrician and excavator have balked at doing the job.  Apparently there are more lucrative uses for their time, or they have concluded the offered rate simply was too low.  There’s a State College surcharge for everything based on the assumption that all residents are rich and can afford to pay more than residents in other, nearby locales.

Today, the electrician claimed the phone line was bad when I called him  A landline-to-landline call was bad?  I don’t think so.  I offered to call him back, at which point he hung up on me.  A 70 year old retiree sinks to gutless, passive aggressiveness.  Why not tell me: “I don’t feel like doing the job,” or even “I bid too low and will do the job only if you pay me more.”

He couldn’t do that, instead offering some lame and quite dishonest complaint about telecommunications line clarity . . . to someone who knows about toll grade, wireline technology.

Throughout my career, soon to end in retirement from Penn State, I have framed my work ethic based on a simple credo: “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.”  

Apparently, the generations have merged and can’t be bothered.