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flea bitten - Matt Flaherty [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Matt Flaherty

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flea bitten [Jun. 9th, 2004|10:34 pm]
Matt Flaherty
I've got fleas.

It's not such a big deal. I've had them before. Not on myself but in my house. Well yes, on myself too. That's how one notices them. Until recently we had a cat. We gave him away two months ago before we went on holiday. Sadly, we just couldn't look after him anymore now that we've got two kids. He deserved more attention than we were able to give him. Sniff. We used to have two cats from the same litter, but the other one buggered off when Rosie was a baby. That one was always much smarter. But I digress... Now that the cat is gone and the weather has turned hot, the eggs that have lain dormant are hatching and the fleas have been multiplying. This happened in our flat a couple years ago when we were on holiday for three weeks in the summer and had given the cats to stay with a friend. We arrived back after an overnight flight and set Rosie down on the carpet while we set about hauling the luggage in. I picked her up a few minutes later to find at least a dozen of the bastards crawling on her arms and all through her hair. That was awful! We got that situation sorted pretty quickly though. A thoroughly competent exterminator sorted them out with a single spraying of this residual pesticide. It works over 4-6 weeks, which is longer than a flea's life cycle.

I would of course phone this same company again, but we have moved outside the area so I've had to find another company. I phoned a few yesterday to compare quotes. This morning I found four fleas on me when I got out of bed so I decided I'd better do something about it. I hired the company who had given me the lowest quotation.  On the phone today I double checked the figure with the man in the office. £55 for the basic flea treatment, eh? Yup, alright that's what we said yesterday. "The exterminator will be able to tell you if there's any more needed." Okay. That sounded a little bit suspicious, but hey, they could come out this morning. So I hired them. The guy only showed up one hour late. No big deal. I can let that go. I'll tell you what I can't abide though. Guy walks around my house to get a sense of the size of the place (modest three bedroom house in Surrey) and phones his guv to find out how much to charge.

Guy: "Right, guv says that'll be £140 plus VAT for the whole treatment."
Me: "£140? You've got to be f**king kidding me?!"

I'm pretty sure I said something like that to the guy. I expressed my disappointment in having been so wildly misled and I phoned the man in the office to try and understand how a £55 quote can nearly triple all of a sudden. "Well that qoute was just for a basic localised flea problem. My man says you've got six rooms that need doing and that's a lot more." Bullsh1t. There's no such thing as a localised flea problem. You've got fleas, you've got them pretty much everywhere. They jump onto you and then they jump off.  And you can't tell me that my little house represents anything other then the typical customer scenario for this company. It's not like there are a whole lot of studio flats out here in the suburbs. As I started to explain to the man that I didn't think it was very good business to underquote and then try to rip off your punter at a disadvantage with lame explanations, he began to raise his voice with me.

Man: "Look, if you don't wanna pay the money I'll just pull my man off. You know, forget about it."
Me: "Excuse me? Can I just talk to you please?"
Man: "No, I'm really busy right now. This is a very busy time for us."
Me: "Oh I see, well allow me to lighten your workload."

Busy indeed. Busy ripping people off and/or wasting their time. I suppose if I'd had to make special arrangements to stay home from work I would have felt obliged to bend over and take it. Currently I work from home. So I sent the guy on his merry way. Poor bloke, I'm sure it's nothing to do with him. As I was arguing on the phone I could see him shaking his head in dismay. I wonder how many times this has happened to him. I've got a different company coming around tomorrow. They gave me a very reasonable quote yesterday after taking the relevant details and they're sticking to it. And tonight I'll just have to put up with the odd flea crawling over my ankle. The important thing is that my dignity is intact.

[User Picture]From: rhodri
2004-06-09 11:03 pm (UTC)
You're a far better consumer than me. I'd have just given the guy the money and not even flinched when he'd had 3 cups of tea and then told me he'd have to come back each day for the next 4 days to really sort the problem out.

Anyway, let me know when you don't have fleas anymore, and I might arrange a rehearsal or something, ha.
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From: (Anonymous)
2004-06-10 07:24 am (UTC)
You might want to wait until hes got rid of the head lice first ;)

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[User Picture]From: miramanga
2004-06-10 10:58 am (UTC)
Bloody hell that's awful, just the kind of thing you see on those consumer programs with the bloke on his motorbike exposing shonky companies. Well done for seeing them off!!

*three cheers!*
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[User Picture]From: flayman
2004-06-10 02:30 pm (UTC)
Yes, well I've learnt a lesson. Looking back at the Yellow Pages advert there were no affiliations given, whereas many other companies are members of the National Pest Technicians Association, etc. No reason to provide a satisfactory service since these are typically one-offs. I had another company around today and the technician was very professional and courteous. And all for £75 plus VAT.
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