Friday, November 20, 2009

Mold People

What does that title mean?? Is it people made out of mold? Or something about molding someone into a person of courage and integrity? It's ambiguous, just like that alien book from the Twilight Zone episode of the same name, "To Serve Man."

Earlier this year the edge of the roof of my parents house leaked and water got into the walls and the carpet/flooring (thankfully they were living elsewhere by then). It got very moldy and we had to use a mold remediation service to eliminate the mold and certify it was gone. Then we hired a contractor recommended by the broker to do the repairs.

We've noticed there are a couple of spots in our bathrooms that have mold. Nothing rampant, mind you, at least from what we can see on the outside of the wall and tile. We decided to play it safe and contact that same mold remediation company and have them come out to take a look at it.

The guy came out and looked, then gave us an estimate. We also had the contractor who worked on my parents home come out to give us an idea of what the repairs would be like since part of the wall would have to be cut away, tiles removed, etc. The contractor also gave me an estimate. Well actually, the contractor's son did, because the contractor only spoke Korean so Paul, his son, had to interpret.

I made an appointment with the mold company to come out last Tuesday (not this week but last week) and do the remediation work. About an hour after they were supposed to have been here, I called to find out what happened to them. The person I spoke with said, "Oh, we have you down for Wednesday morning."

Oh, okay, fine. I don't know how they got that mixed up but I said just come on Wednesday, then, as early as possible. Later in the afternoon she called back and told me she wasn't sure if the technician could make it because he had a bad case of gout on his foot and couldn't even put on his shoe.

Oh. Well, I guess I would have to wait until the morning to see what happens.

On Wednesday morning they called again and said no dice, the guy still couldn't put on his shoe. So we rescheduled for this past Tuesday, between 8 and 9. This seemed like a very disorganized company; I had also requested the guy call me last week because I had a few questions, and I never heard from him.

On Tuesday we had the bathrooms all cleared out and were ready for the work to be done.. again. And 9:00 passed and no one came. Meanwhile, I decided to call Paul and ask for his opinion about everything that had to be done. I told him I didn't feel comfortable about this mold company because they seemed so flaky and so I wondered if he thought it would be safe if they just did the repairs and if there was any danger in doing so. He told me he'd have to call his dad and ask him, and he'd call me back, but in his opinion this wasn't a big deal; he'd seen plenty of situations like ours.

Meanwhile the mold folks still hadn't shown up so I called and canceled the job. They had no idea why their technicians were late or where they were.

About 15 minutes later, nearly 10:00, the technicians showed up in their big mold truck. One big guy who didn't look too bright was getting stuff out of the truck so I went outside and told him I had canceled. "Didn't anyone call you?" I asked. He didn't look very happy and he said no, no one had called. Then he said maybe they called his partner, and he motioned for me to go talk to him. He was still sitting in the cab of the truck.

I walked up to the window and the guy was slumped in the driver's seat, sleeping. His buddy woke him up and told him what was going on. I asked him if anyone had called and he said no, and then he picked up his cell phone and started calling the office. I apologized and told them that the office said they were going to notify them that I didn't want the work done that day. Then I went back inside and they left.

After that, Paul called me back. He explained that when they were out at the house, his dad had taken a good look around and said this was not a serious mold problem at all, but since I had already scheduled that company to come out, he didn't feel it was appropriate to say anything. Now that he knew I had canceled the job, he told me what would be involved for the entire repair job, including cleaning up the mold.

I asked him if he was sure that wouldn't present any health threats. He said mold is everywhere; it's flying in the air and you can't avoid it and only certain kinds are really bad, especially if you have allergies. He also said most of this scare about mold is overblown unless you have a severe contamination, which we didn't. Bottom line is, he said they could do it so I asked them to do the work.

Now comparing the two was like night and day. The contractor and his son were supposed to come at 7 in the morning. They showed up at 6:45. They took off their shoes without even asking. The mold folks were supposed to show up on Tuesday and never came, then Wednesday and never came, then the following Tuesday and were late. I would assume 8-9 would be the first appointment of the day, so why would you be late? Then when they did show up, one of them was slumped in the car seat sleeping and the other guy didn't seem very bright and had no personality. I did see him walking with a limp so I assumed he was the gout-stricken one but at least he managed to put on his shoe for the day. I am relieved I canceled the job; as the line from Star Wars goes, "I have a bad feeling about this."

The contractor was very thorough. He examined everything and politely explained to his son what had to be done, which he then interpreted for us. The mold guy took a quick look then wrote up an estimate. When I asked his receptionist to have him call me, I never heard anything. Every time I tried calling Paul, he answered the phone.

So which business model would you prefer to deal with? Yet so many businesses out there just don't get it. In fact, after the mold people left that day, I never heard a further word from anyone at that company. No call, no anything. You have to do business with people you are comfortable with.

Okay, you gotta watch today's YouTube about the Mold People:

Oops, I thought that was supposed to be about the MOLD People, not MOLE People, lol.. Sorry for such a long entry today but then you can spend the weekend reading it. And since we're on the subject of mole people, here's some interesting theories:


Anonymous said...

Mold people are such slimy creatures. Have you seen the King of the Hill episode on mold people. Its a hoot. My Allstate guy said to never use mold people for a variety of reasons. Sounds like you found one very good reason.

Talking about slimy people, have you ever heard of

I had a music director that wrote, scored and conducted the music. It's so bad he dismissed it when I asked him about it. It was supposedly shot above Claremont and there's a reference to the colleges but Wiki says Lancaster.

Rickie Miyake said...

I used to love watching those kind of movies when I was little (still do, except it is hard to find them) but that is one I've never seen - never even heard of it. I guess if I were associated with it in any way, I would probably disavow any connection if people asked me!

Never saw that King of the Hill episode either. When I think about it, unless there is a serious infestation it seems like all that work they describe really isn't necessary. And the names they think of for the equipment: like "air scrubbers" sounds pretty fancy but I imagine it is just some sort of filter mechanism. No creatures ate the two guys who started the work on Friday so I don't think our case was that serious.