Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What You Pay For...

Yesterday, I received a call from a job I had been on the night prior. Apparently, a firm out of Lansing specializing in renewable energy sources and energy conservation is in the business of installing thermostats. This is with the idea of saving energy as these are programmable. The theory is that you can set back the temperature in the building a few degrees and save some money. Personally, my view is that if your furnace and air conditioner are relatively efficient and your house is well insulated, you can save the most money setting your temperature back three to five degrees, but I digress. I could write a whole article and perhaps a small pamphlet on this, but this isn't my purpose today.

The caller had installed, by his reckoning, over 6000 thermostats and never had a problem, but that day he blew up at least two, including the one the tavern owner already had. The result was the dining area in said tavern was pretty chilly. I've been installing thermostats for 25 years now, and the only time I've ever had a problem was by not turning off the equipment first. I pointed this out to the caller too, but he said that 24 volts shouldn't cause the thermostat to fail. I reminded him that if live wires touch the wrong parts, anything will fail. Although he was still adamant about his methods, the burned out thermostat was telling. My conclusion on this was the guy either wasn't qualified or didn't care.

But there was the thermostat and it did need to be replaced. I picked one up, a nice programmable one with 2 stage heat and cool settings and this was going to run $319.00 installed by an expert. It would also be properly set up and I'd show the tavern owner how to use the thing. I thought it a heck of a deal, but the owner of the energy company lambasted me on the price. "I can get one for $70!" was his remark. "But who's going to install it?" I retorted, "your employee?" "You want too much," he replied. "Well sir, we don't run a charity here." I insisted, "we need to make money and this is the price installed. I cannot install one of yours because then I cannot guarantee it." Try getting a mechanic to install parts on your car you get from AutoZone to save a few bucks. They'll laugh you out of the shop.

I had a building manager today chew me out about the prices of thermostats (must be a red letter day for sure). My response was tasteful, tactful and to the point. "We are not making boat payments from these two thermostats. Please do not threaten me about going to another vendor. If you have a problem with me or my product, please tell my boss." Honestly, this is like yelling at the person at the Gas and Go about the price of gasoline. However, you still have to fill up your car and unless you're into the whole biodiesel thing, you're going to have to pay up or walk. I pay up and be nice, that's my policy.

I really hate to rant, but part of the problem with the economy can be traced right back to the average Joe or Jane. We want a lot, but don't want to pay for it. We want that Escalade, but complain bitterly about the payments and operating costs. We want something fixed, but there's a price to pay for it if you want it done right. All the crap floating in from Chinaland is proof of that, We get what we pay for and we will reap what we sow. Rather than pay the nice man to fix your furnace in a warm cheerful manner, you (you know who you are) gripe, threaten and complain in an effort to make him feel small. The only thing you're really doing is making management consulting look really good as a career right now. Then who's going to fix your thermostat then? That guy from the energy company? You're crazier than me.

Attitudes have to change. We are being ugly to each other over things that we really have no business being ugly about. For example, my S.U.V. needs a thermostat and I'm not about to pull the top half of the engine apart to get it. I'll pay the $150 or so and get it done, and be glad I don't have to do it. Such is life. Off my soapbox now.

1 comment:

Walter Grace said...

I did fix the thermostat myself.