Teachers' blog


【Adventures in Plumbing】

(Contributed by Ben)

This month I have had the excitement of booking a plumber. I always find this a bit stressful. While I have lived in this house, I have had three problems with plumbing. Each time, the plumber actually made the problem worse, and had to come back to fix it.
* My first plumber gave me a leaky-water tank in the roof, which let water come through the ceiling.
* My second plumber gave me a leaky boiler which let water into a cupboard
* My third plumber gave me a leaky toilet, which let water into the fire-alarm.
Consequently, I’m quite frightened about what my fourth plumber will do!
I want to have a new shower fitted over my bath, so I’ve been talking to a number of different plumbing companies. The first one I contacted seemed very professional. They sent a plumber over immediately, and he was very friendly. He looked in the bathroom, and told me the work was challenging, but he knew exactly what do do. He promised that I would be sent a quote by the end of the day. (A ‘quote’ or a ‘quotation’ from a plumber or builder is the official cost of the project, including ‘materials’, the stuff they use to do the work, and ‘labour’, the work they do).
But I didn’t hear from him. Not that day, not the following day, and not ever. Over the ensuing days, I kept calling his company to find out when they would quote me a price. Across the phone-calls, they told me three versions of the same story:

1. The plumber was ‘on holiday’
2. The plumber had ‘handed in his notice’ – a polite phrase meaning he had quit his job.
3. The plumber was ‘no longer with us’ – this is literally true, but normally this phrase is actually a polite way of saying ‘he died’.
Whatever really happened, the plumber threw away his notes, so the company could not send me a quote.
I contacted a second plumbing company. Actually, I contacted a second, third, fourth and fifth, but only the second one replied. They seemed very professional. They said they would send me a plumber and an electrician to give me a quote for the electric shower – but by accident they sent me two electricians and no plumber.
It was all quite exasperating – I find it fairly stressful getting a plumber, and they didn’t make it easy for me.
A week later, they DID send me a plumber, and sent me a quote. Hooray! I paid the deposit, and next week, if everything goes well, they will install an electric shower.
What could possibly go wrong?

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