Monday, February 12, 2007

How To Get Free Help!

Let's say it's a cold winter day and you experience some unexpected water problems. Let's assume your husband is out of town or something. Let's say your pipes freeze or you run out of water or you can't get your furnace working or pump primed or something bizarre like that. Let's say every plumber and pump guy and water guy you call is already booked solid answering distress calls from people in your same situation who just happened to luck out and get in line before you. Let's say absolutely no one is willing to come bail you out of your situation. What do you do?

Apparently, if you can get someone to answer their phone, most of these plumber and pump guys and water guys are more than happy to wax eloquent on what you should do. I'm being serious here, ladies. So how can you get the help you need?

  • Before you make that call, plan your distress speech. Remember, this is a man you will be talking to. Leave out any juicy tidbits about how your toddler is being potty-trained or how you need to get to the Macy's sale this afternoon. "Just the facts" is a pretty good policy here.
  • Educate yourself. Speak their language. Check out the equipment specifications: pump or furnace make and model. Rating such as psi (pounds/square inch), horsepower or amps are good to know. Write all this stuff down on a pice of paper. While you're at it, write down the details of the problem.
  • If you can, do a Google search on the equipment to become even better informed.
  • Make the call from the problem area with pen and paper in hand.
  • Don't be put off by answering services. You need to get past the women! Ask for someone to give you a call so you can ask a few questions.
  • Don't wait for one guy to call you back; leave messages with as many services as you need to.
  • Use any info you glean from one call to sound more informed on your next call. And get the guy's name and ask if you can call him back if need be.
I'll tell you what I learned today. I learned how to prime a pump. Probably not something you ever need to deal with, but no less than three different guys were willing to walk me through something they would have happily charged me about $75/hour to do, had they had the time.

People are more than willing to talk shop - at no charge to you - if you have no other options. Hopefully you won't ever find yourself in this situation but if you do - remember, help is out there if you know how to ask. And you just may be able to save yourself a service call someday!


Christina Berry said...

Sorry about your day, but good job persisting! We had your potato soup tonight. Five hours later and I'm still full. Very yummy, except I think I'll peel the potatoes next time....

Katrina said...

Great post! I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but look at all the valuable things you learned - not just how to prime a pump, but how to get some serious (and free) help!

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Well, this all sounds pretty awful to me, and an exercise in patience, for sure. I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but you're right about asking. It never hurts to ask! That's great someone was able to walk you through it over the phone and save you the bucks :)

Hope it's all working now... and just think, now you're an expert! LOL!

Jennifer said...

Excellent tips! It is hard to get someone on the phone. You are very talented.

Barb said...

Ugh. Poor you. Bev told me how awful the weather is there but I had no idea it was bad enough to cause problems like this.

Very good advice in this post. And it's kind of encouraging to know people will be so helpful when you really need it. I love the way everyone pulls together in an emergency.

Happy Valentine's Day, my friend.

Susanne said...

"Leave out the juicy tidbits". That is so hilarious but oh so true! LOL!

Great tips Dianne.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cyndi said...

File this under "no experience is every wasted..." I'm impressed with how you handled it! You're a good woman. :)

gail said...

I'm impressed too! Good job. Sorry you had to go through all that. Those service calls can be expensive.

I think I'm making your potato soup this weekend! Although going out is a distinct possibility too but I'll be doing it soon, can't wait!

Photo Buffet said...

Dianne, your experience may save a lot of us a big headache. Thanks for laying it all out so well. We've fixed faucets, a washer, and a dryer that way - just by knowing the questions to ask, and knowing where to get the info in a hurry. Great post! (Do you do windows?)