And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Friday, March 06, 2009

Tree Trimming and the Hard Sell

We have an oak tree in our front yard that is splitting right down the center. One half of the tree is hanging right over the roof here at Barefoot Manor. All winter I have been afraid that a heavy snow or wind would take the tree out along with the front half of Barefoot Manor (and my bedroom which happens to be right under that tree).

A couple of months ago, a tree removal service stopped by the house and tried to convince me to have the tree cut down by them. Well, I didn't have the money in my hot little hand right at that moment, and wasn't about to just tell them to haul out the chainsaws and have at it without talking to Mr. Barefoot about it first, so I asked the guy for their information and told him we would call back.

He started going on and on about how that tree was gonna fall right on the house, how he sure hoped I didn't have my kids sleeping in that bedroom, and basically pressuring me to give him the go-ahead to get it done immediately. I was getting a little put off by his attitude (don't you dare imply that I am a bad mom for not letting you hack at that tree today), so I played the "little lady" card. I have found that most folks figure I am a SAHM when they come to the house during the day and I am there. Furthermore, since I happen to have female parts, it is easy to convince "big, strong men" that I haven't a brain in my head and that I need the hubby's approval for every decision I make.

So he left, thinking I was an airhead with a domineering husband, and I was left in peace at my beloved home.

Well, with the tax money we recently got, we decided that it was a priority to get that tree out of there. After all, I would really be unhappy if the front of our house caved in under the weight of a fallen tree. So Mr. Barefoot called this guy back and asked him to stop buy and give an estimate.

We started out on the wrong foot right away when he began our conversation by telling me that he had given me an estimate when he was there the first time. Well, he certainly did not. I was trying to be polite, though, so I just told him I didn't remember, apologised for making him come out again, and asked what he thought about the tree.

He tells me $1500-$1600 right off the bat, but then wanders around the tree a bit and starts making all these sounds like he is shocked by what he is seeing. Again, he goes through his song and dance about how the tree is going to fall any day now. He starts telling me that the tree is taller than he thought at first, and it might be more to cut it down than he had originally thought.

I was a little shocked by the price he quoted, thinking it was high, but didn't argue. I knew that he was supposed to call Mr. Barefoot with the estimate, so I just continued to play stupid. The minute he left, I got online and began IMing Mr. Barefoot about my impressions of this guy. The Tree Man called Mr. Barefoot right in the middle of me talking to Mr. Barefoot, and told Mr. Barefoot that it would cost us $1500 to have it cut down today, and $2000 if the Tree Guy had to come back.

Well, that was it for me. I told Mr. Barefoot that I wanted estimates from other companies, because this guy was just pushing too hard for the $$$. I didn't like his attitude, and I REALLY didn't like the fact that he wanted to charge us $500 if he had to come back another day. I mean, really.

So Mr. Barefoot called another company. They came out while I was taking a nap, so I didn't hear them. When I went out to get the mail, I found a written estimate in our mailbox for WAY less than the other guy had quoted. They will cut down the tree, leave the wood in irregular lengths (not an issue for us) and chip the brush (great mulch for the perennial beds) for $475!

Compared to the other guy who would chop it down with no chipping of brush for $2000? Yeah, can you guess who our money is going to?!


Deb said...

Hooray for you Barefoot! That one guy just sounds like a total a$$hole. It's too bad you have to be so careful about stuff like this.

barefoot gardener said...

When Mr. Barefoot talked to the NICE tree guy, he said that he wouldn't charge that much if he had to climb the tree and cut it down by hand....I just couldn't believe it.

Of course, now I am thinking of all the things I should have said to the BAD tree guy....

The Rambling Taoist said...

Good for you!! The first guy sounds like an alpha male type. I bet he gets off on pressuring people to make quick decisions that are in his best interests, not theirs.

barefoot gardener said...

My first thought was that he was a little desperate with the down economy, but after talking to the Nice Guy, I figure you are right...he is just a jerk