Friday, July 21, 2006

Should we buy a tent?

There has been a lot of head shaking going on at my home, the sort you might expect to see from someone who is perplexed, frustrated, maybe even a little bit angry. Our problem is getting people to do what they said they would do, to return telephone calls when promised, to supply information that was requested, to honour comittments they have made.

We sold our home and need to find a place to live. We found a perfectly good home to move into, perfectly located and reasonably priced, and were preparing to make an offer. The home is still being built, so we would have had the opportunity to introduce some degree of customization. We have a great real estate agent, the woman who sold our house, so what's the problem?

The problem is that the builder uses another real estate agent to make deals on his behalf. That agent has been trying to get us to put an offer on properties that he has listed, but that are not built by the builder for whom he supposedly works. In fact, he claims to be a part-owner of the builder's company. Today, after a week or so of screwing around, the agent told us that the home we were interested in isn't actually for sale. It has either been promised to someone else or the builder doesn't want to sell it until it is complete. We don't know which story is true. Probably neither. In the meantime, we have wasted a week, waiting for phone calls, more information, and some level of common courtesy. And we still have no immediate prospect of a place to move into. We have left telephone messages directly with the builder, but no-one bothers to call us back.

We'll manage. There is always a way, always a solution. It would just be nice if people would actually keep their promises.

How did we get to this state of affairs? This is not an isolated incident. People lie to us all the time. If no-one ever lies to you or lets you down, I want to know your secret. I'm willing to learn from any master. If you know the secret to getting others to honour their commitments, let me know. Maybe we'll write a book together, and get rich. Or, in your case, if you are indeed the master with the solution to the problem, richer. If you know all the answers, you must be in the same financial league as Croesus.

I guess it's back to roaming around the streets of London, Ontario.

It's going to be a fun weekend.


  1. It is exceedingly hard to get such services as honesty and perseverence from the business world. The builder of my husband's townhouse, several years ago, took 8 MONTHS longer than promised. No skin off his nose. He's going home to a warm bed at night, why should he care?

    I trust you will find the perfect home for you and your family, even though it requires more anxiety and determination than should reasonably be expected.

  2. I suppose one good thing to come out of all this is to learn not to sell one's home until one has a suitable one into which to move. People are doing this all over the place, and I'm absolutely agast. Would you quit your job/close your business without having another one to go to/alternate source of income?
    I fear the products of public education graduating without the ability to do basic math, but which nonetheless make up most of our business world - would be dumbfounded and hemming and hawing for an answer.
    The last month or so has taught me the "coverage" lesson the hard way. I went for an insurance offer that seemed ironclad because the agent and I had it lined up since May. Once the money was paid and the old coverage cancelled, I received cancellation notices from the home office and endless verbal assurances from the local agent that everything was alright. After two weeks of this jerking around, I endeavored for reinstatement with the former insurer, paid more money, and got even more jerking around (and off)!
    I hate having to deal with insurance companies anyway. The damned crooks have the deck stacked in their favor with their lobbyists strong-arming government into mandating this and that coverage, so that they don't really have to work for their money. Now, the doctors are jumping on the bandwagon, and together trying to force everyone to buy health insurance, but the cinch-pin seems to be really stupid people in charge who want money without working for it.
    People that actually know what the hell they are doing are becoming a scarce and precious resource, and this might be a factor in the issues you are experiencing.

  3. The problem actually isn't trying to find 'a' home, it is trying to find 'the' home. There are houses for sale on every block, and we have already found numerous houses that we could move into in a pinch. But, since this is an opportunity to try and get something special again, albeit smaller than our last abode, we are being picky.

    What bothers me is not the looking, that can be fun. It is the incompetence and ineptitude of various dimwits with whom one has to intereact to accomplish anything.

    Insurance companies. I hear you. Bandits, usually. I have been lucky in that for over 40 years I have been with the same insurance agency. First I dealt with the father, and now his son. They shop around, get me the best deals, interecede on my behalf if I feel I am being jerked around by the insurers, etc.