Friday, May 18, 2007


How do you turn $100 into $1000???

You invite a local landscaping company (who for now, will remain anonymous)
to your house to dump a small load of dirt, and voila! You have $1000 in repair work to do on your lawn!
You hire a company to do something you clearly have no knowledge, ability, or resources to do yourself, and you trust that they have the skills to do their job well.
As a nurse, I don't expect my patients to tell me how to do my job competently and safely; I understand that they are entrusting me to perform the skills I need to, and protect them from harm. If I screw up, is it the patients fault for not telling me how to do my job, or mine, for lacking the appropriate skills?

Why oh why can't people just do their jobs and be accountable for the damage they do? Why does such a simple job like getting a load of topsoil turn into such a nightmare?

I told the dispatcher on the phone that we had a big turnabout in the driveway, and I even put my car on the front lawn so the driver had even MORE room to turn around... but for some reason, the driver chose to drive onto the lawn and turn THERE, leaving untold numbers of up to 6 inch deep ruts in the lawn-- all while I watched in horror. The truck was huge, should I have jumped in front of it and took my chances? My husband STILL isn't speaking to me; I know he wishes I would have at least took the risk.

You'd think a skilled Driver/Landscape Professional would have known that paying customers wouldn't be happy having so much damage to their property, and would have seen the LARGE driveway turnabout as an obvious choice to make a turn vs. destroying someone's lawn-- that's where I was wrong. I didn't realize I had to walk this Landscape Professional through the basic steps of his job in order to prevent costly, time consuming repairs.

And of course, the manager hasn't returned our call...

UPDATE: Jake spoke with the manager the next day (Friday), who assured us he'd call on Saturday and make an appt to come out and survey the damage. Saturday came and went, and no call. Jake even called and left a message Sat. afternoon, but we haven't heard from him. Nice...
We'll certainly take or business elsewhere in the future, and share our story far and wide.

P.S. and even though I paid premium price for top soil, the dirt they brought was stony, sandy fill dirt that dried to hardpan around my plants in the beautiful new garden we planted. I couldn't be more disgusted with this company.

I spoke with the manager today, who refused to take responsibility for any of the damages, and is also refusing to refund my money for the poor quality topsoil.
I informed them that I will also be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau regarding their unprofessional conduct and poor quality materials. And folks, signing a waiver really doesn't hold water when the damages exceed what would be considered "reasonable, anticipated damages for the specified job" (the key word here being REASONABLE). We anticipated two ruts in the lawn to repair, not 20. We did not anticipate having to haul 70+ wheelbarrow loads of dirt, level it, broadcast grass seed, purchase straw, cover it, and keep the whole mess wet for a few weeks until the grass was established. I doubt any rational person would consider the damages to our lawn to be REASONABLE for the minor job of unloading a small load of dirt.

On a side note, Jake and I spent long, hot hours yesterday filling in the ruts, wheelbarrow load by wheelbarrow load. I only hope that grass seed will grow in this soil, which has almost no organic matter and consists primarily of clay, sand, and $.50 sized pieces of stone. The manager reported to me that we were not the only customers who complained about the quality of the soil, yet the owner of the company is refusing to refund my $117, which is the **ONLY** compensation I'm seeking (which I think, given the damage, is more than reasonable).
It's going to take an incredible amount of organic matter (taking more of my $ and time), to amend this dirt to the point where my plants will grow in them. Grr!

In light of the need to get the grass growing in the damaged areas asap, I'm taking my dirty, smelly self to the TSC to purchase a 50# bag of grass seed (photos of the restoration coming soon; my batteries died in my camera last night). And when the staff ask, "why are you so dirty?", I'll have to reply: "Well, I had this load of dirt delievered last Thursday..."

I filed a complaint with the BBB and so, for now, I'll let them handle the remainder of this fiasco. I previously told the manager that if the company returned my money, I'd remove the photos of the damage from my website... but you know what? I'd rather not.
This was a HUGE experience for us, involving much angst and sweat and callouses; there's no way I'm *not* going to blog about it.
Every time I look at all the photos of the damage and all the labor that is going into the repairs, I'll think about how I'm going to have to make absolutely sure that the people I hire to perform services on our property are skilled and trained, and not create a gigantic mess they have no intention of fixing.

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