Monday, February 26, 2007

Criminal Intent

Things I thought of saying to the young man next door, who, for the third day in a row, is out washing one of the family's five (billion) cars (which they can never seem to park in front of their own house, but frequently tend to park in front of mine) with the car stereo turned up so loud that the base from his bad pop music is shaking glassware in my kitchen:

1.) "Turn off that goddamn noise this minute! And stay the hell off my lawn! Oh, and, it's Monday! Why aren't you in school?"

2.) "Naw, I didn't call the cops on you, for disturbing the peace, dude. Are you kidding? Look at me. I'm 26. Must have been the old guy across the street."

3.) "Take this, Philistine!" (Shouted while blasting Mozart out of an open window loudly enough to shake HIS house).

4.) "Oops. Did I just smash your car window with a hammer? And did I accidentally beat your stereo to tiny bits, just after that? Well, I'm sorry. I'm so clumsy! I really meant to hit you instead of the car. You spent so much time washing those windows, after all."

What I have actually said so far:



Because I am trying to tell myself that a teenager who has spent the better part of the last three days washing his entire family's set of cars must either be an exceptionally helpful sort of kid, or he must be under some sort of extreme punishment, and either way, the music is probably helping him get the job done . . .

But if he hasn't finished cleaning out that trunk an hour from now, when my son should be going down for his nap, I am totally cranking up my Mozart, bitches.

Now, as requested, an update on the floor (or, why Jaelithe has once again temporarily become a misanthropist):

Extreme Hardwoods sent over a supposedly "impartial third-party observer" from another company to look at the damage to the floor, walls, and window treatments, and the shoddy polyurethane job. As noted before, we were told that apparently this "impartial third-party observer" was only available to come at 7:30 in the morning, because, of course, Jeff at Extreme Hardwoods actually would prefer that we drop the little matter of this amazingly botched rush job altogether, but still, for some reason I can't quite grasp, wants to pretend to us that he is an honest, honorable business owner and we are just horrible, picky, petty, selfish, vicious, evil customers, so, he is pretending to negotiate with us, and then making the negotiations as difficult as possible, so that, if we refuse to cooperate with his bizarre requests, he can try to blame us for this entire situation.

(Recall his earlier "offer" to pull out of the half-finished job and refund my deposit-- an offer he knew I was likely to refuse since it would leave me stranded with a basically un-useable floor in half of my house. Recall also his statement that WE were somehow responsible for the further delay caused by the issues with the contract, even though he was the one who failed to provide us with the contract on two separate occasions).

Suffice to say that the "impartial third-party observer" was neither impartial, nor observant. He repeated to us Jeff's story that the long scratch in the floor must have been there before the work began. When I confronted him with the fact that I had taken photos of the floor, just before the crew's arrival, after we had removed our furniture, that prove there was no such scratch in the floor, he launched into a convoluted explanation about how sometimes "invisible bruises" appear in hardwood floors, dents created by people moving furniture over the floor, that cannot be seen until after the floor is refinished. When I told him that Jeff had, on numerous occasions, described the blemish as "a cut in the floor," the observer informed me that I knew too little about wood to understand his explanation.

Whatever. To me, that "bruise" sure looks an awful lot like the type of scratch shown on this professional floor refinishing company's page, caused by grit caught in a sander. This can happen when the person sanding the floor fails to clean the floor thoroughly between sanding passes.

He also told me that the swirl marks left by the sander in my floor, which he outright refused to take a close look at, were "perfectly normal" and happen "every time" a floor is sanded.

The site above, as well as these sites, which I looked up while researching how to do the work myself, before deciding to hire a professional, all beg to differ. They actually warn against such marks as a potential problem to watch out for as an amateur, and explain how to avoid making them.

Anyway, the guy left that he would contact us later in the afternoon to let us know Jeff's response to our observations.

And then, surprise! He didn't.

And he didn't call the next day, either.

So, my husband called Jeff at the end of the day on Friday, to ask why the "impartial third-party observer" (whose phone number we were never offered) had not called, and Jeff told my husband he had told the "impartial third-party observer" not to call us.

My husband then informed Jeff that we had made a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

And then Jeff proceeded to blast an incoherent tirade in my husband's general direction, ranting about how we wanted to run his business into the ground, ruin an honest man, and destroy his ability to feed his children, etcetera, and threatening to call an attorney. During this, conversation, if it can be called such, Jeff made, and then invariably almost immediately retracted, various offers, including giving us $80 to purchase curtains, but only if we allowed him to come to our house immediately and take the damaged curtains off the window himself; letting the "impartial third-party observer," whom he had suddenly, inexplicably started referring to as "my friend" (thanks, we figured that out, actually) fix the polyurethane puddles for free, but only at his leisure (i.e., whenever he got around to it), etcetera . . .

Finally Jeff ended the conversation by saying that he was not going to give us any refunds, but, if we wanted to put a stop on the second check we had given him, we could "go right ahead."

Of course, when my husband returned home, I advised him not to do so, as I am fairly certain that:

1.) Given Jeff's previous actions, that we are dealing with a lunatic who will probably try to sue us if we take any action to get our money back that has not been officially sanctioned by some sort of governing agency, and,

2.) That check has almost surely been cashed, and the money is probably already spent.

For now, I am just waiting to hear back from a Better Business Bureau arbitrator, and living with my poor, repeatedly abused floor as-is.

I made a nifty temporary runner for the hallway by tying together five cheap chindi throw rugs from Target. Take that, polyurethane puddles and undisguised urine stains!

(Hey, that boy finally turned off his music. The day is looking up.)


Anonymous said...

Oh what a fiasco. I hope you DO run Jeff's business into the ground so he doesn't do this to some other hopeful couple with golden hardwood floor dreams.

Did you see that Dana at Mamalogues linked to your posts and named Extreme Hardwoods as the source of your woes? Let the wrath rain down on him. He messed with the wrong young family.

Jaelithe said...

I did indeed see that (and I hope she got the email I sent her about it). I bow deeply to Dana's generosity and superior audience-reaching power. Dana is good people.

I don't really want to run anyone's business into the ground, though. I figure people like Jeff are perfectly capable of doing that for themselves.

I just want to warn other potential customers to STAY AWAY. I did a Google search on this company before I hired them, and didn't see any negative reviews. If I had, I might have been saved a lot of trouble! Which is why I have taken care not only to relay my experiences here, but also on various business review websites.

(Actually I had gone into this whole deal with sort of coffee-ish hardwood floor dreams, after seeing photos of the aforementioned Dana's lovely espresso kitchen floor. The incontinent cat who lived here before kind of killed any chance of golden).

Ron said...

Wow. Remind me not to tick you off. Hey, maybe the guy from the hard wood company hired the kid to do his nasty deed in front of your house? CONSPIRACY!!!

Anonymous said...

I probably phrased that wrong when I said I hope you do run Jeff's business into the ground. He's doing that on his own, and you're simply commenting and reacting to the service (or lack thereof) you've received. Which is why it's really shallow and lame of him to put the blame for this all on your shoulders. THAT'S more likely to ruin his business than anything.

I just hope you're still not left stuck with a scarred floor and no refund.

P.S. Awhile back Dana asked people to show me some love while I was in the midst of my health woes at the beginning of winter, and my site stats quintupled. So I KNOW when she puts the word out on something, it really gets out. Welcome to the internet, Extreme Hardwoods.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, ya'll are making me feel way cooler than I am. I just hope that it saves someone else the trouble.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience with Anaheim Garage door company last year. I reported them to the BBB and while they took action at first, they were pretty lame on the follow through. I hope you have better luck.

Also go to and give them a negative review! Oh, and then put a bag of flaming dog poop on their doorstep.

Awesome Mom said...

The hardwood thing sucks, I wish I had never urged you do hire someone. It would have probably been less annoying to do it yourself.

My mother used to blast Kenny G when our inconsiderate neighbors would blast music that she hated. It actually worked and the people eventually stopped playing the radio out the window. Sadly my mother still has her Kenny G habit.