Sharon Kennedy: Chim Chim Cher-ee
I needed a chimney sweep last week and was told to contact Jerry Methner from Sault Ste. Married. I called him, left a message and that evening he called me back. Unlike the four plumbers I called and the guy who never showed up, Jerry and his grandson arrived on the appointed day and time. After three weeks, I still hope other men will have the courtesy to return my calls, but that hope is fading as quickly as a snowball in a hot oven.
So it was with a thrill of joy that I opened the door for Mr. Methner and Alex Rairigh. They greeted me with a smile and immediately got to work. Alex covered the Heartland cooker and brought most of the equipment needed for the job. I offered Jerry a chair while Alex did the preliminary work. Over the years I have hired men to do what is too difficult for me, but they have rarely been as pleasant as the chimney sweeps.
I occupied myself in another room while the men worked. When they finished I asked Alex if he would do some heavy work for me. He happily agreed and within minutes the items I was having trouble moving were picked up and placed where I wanted them. I have dealt with comrades who were surly when asked to do something other than what they had been hired to do. Alex didn’t hesitate. The attitude of this remarkable young man was incredible.
I don’t know about you, but I’m having a hard time finding reliable help. It has nothing to do with the pandemic and the additional unemployment benefits that some are receiving. It has everything to do with ethics. It used to be that when we called a business listed in the phone book, someone would answer the phone. In the old days it was like that. There were no answering machines or smart phones. There may have been an answering service that relayed the message to the plumber or brush cutter or small engine repairer who returned us and told us if he wanted the job.
Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, as we now have the information superhighway, aka the Internet. Anyone can advertise anything regardless of their skill level. I have a hammer and three screwdrivers. I could call myself a female “handyman,” but that wouldn’t guarantee that I could do more than hammer a nail into a board or unscrew a screw.
Last summer I paid a “professional” to fix the oil leak on my riding mower. He kept the machine for two months and returned it in July. I guess the leak was fixed, but after a few trips to my yard the reverse gear no longer worked. I knew there was no point in contacting the repairman, so I just walked around and around until the job was done. A month ago, I noticed that most of the oil had leaked. The chewing gum the man used to mend the hole did not survive the winter. I bought a bag of Dubble Bubble and when I’ve chewed as much as I need I’m going to put the stuff in the hole and fix it.
The moral of this story is that if you find good workers like Jerry and Alex, treat them like gold. It is a rarity.