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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Thing about Steve Carr

Big New York Post article coming out in a few days - a lot of new traffic expected in the blog and website.

To understand how absurd my life has been since this guy Steve entered it, you have to rewind almost 16 months when my kitchen guy calls me up and says this guy Steve won't stop calling the showroom, wanting to know how much this cost his builder, how much this cost what the markup is, etc.... And then I hear the same thing from a lawyer at the house closing, saying this guy Steve, who wasn't part of the deal at all, was about the rudest person they've ever seen at a closing- making snide comments to the title company and the bank.

But rewind a little more - and remember he's not even a customer. He's someones husband that wasn't contributing enough to be owner of the house, listed on the deed - a bystander, for all intent and purposes.

So, I sign these people up, and just like I always do, I pay for everything - every 2x4, every sheet of plywood, every faucet, and they get to pick out all the fun stuff like the kitchen, the tile, the paints, the stain, - they show me pictures of a fire place they want, how they want the sink to meet the counter top, the style doors, etc... So everything is cruising along pretty good, it's a harsh winter but we plug along and get the house finished right on time.

But, Christine is pregnant, so generous as I am I tell her not to sweat it, let's delay closing for a few weeks so we don't have these two huge life moments (child-birth and house buying) coincide exactly. So, I pay for a few extra weeks to hold the house so Christine doesn't have some crazy stress.

So the baby comes and it's all cool and we go to schedule a closing, and lo and behold, they get denied for a mortgage - the bank won't give them the money, and I soon learn that between their low credit scores and desire to get some absurd LTV loan, it just wasn't going to happen. So I build them house, I pay for the whole thing, turn them onto to my best vendors, and then when it's their turn to do their thing (buy the house), they can't do it. So one week turns into two, turns into 4, turns into 8 and just by the skin of our teeth we get this thing sold to them before things got legal.

Now, within a week of this 12 week sales date extension I get a call from Steve on my cell - "a tree is going to fall on the electric line!, - the next day, something else, the next day something else, the next day something else, and two of those days with simple emergencies like 'send someone over immediately, my front door needs to be unhinged so I can accept my fourth appliance delivery' - now, he really can't take off his own door?, but we showed up and did our best.

Then, with my frustration and irritation mounting because I could see the lack of money to buy the house was just the beginning of the problem, and the continuation of the demands and requests were not going stop any time soon.

And then I learned Steve Carr was offering work to the guys coming to work on his house. Imagine, in this little town where hard workers and team players are very limited, I was sending my best team to ensure the Carr's were as happy as I could make them, and Steve Carr was offering them employment.

Now, to further see the absurdity, Steve Carr did not have any work - he was new to the area, and somehow landed a little wood siding job, and based on this he felt it honorable to attempt to break up my business, as well as tempt a pretty non-sophisticated carpenter away from a steady job. So eventually, the stupidest of my crew (although still talented) took him up on the offer, and then returned back to the job sites a few days later to try to recruit more members of my team. And in the end, within two weeks this carpenter kid was back begging for work from my homeowners, since Steve's promise of work lasted all of 2 weeks.

All the while, Steve Carr is talking trash, defaming us, - he's unemployed, with nothing to do, and through his lack of generosity, used his best energy to tarnish my business, which has invested $17m in the local community, provided a livelihood for countless individuals, and benefited the bottom line of countless businesses and vendors.

And the sad thing, he has sort of succeeded in diminishing me and my business - of course, he still is unemployed, still has yet to contribute anything of value to the community at large, still has yet to build anything, pay anyone, or create anything sustainable except for a real bad taste in the mouth to those he comes across.

But he is undaunted, certain that his world-view will prevail, certain that his negativity and sour demeanor will infect and, like a virus, spread. The thing is, I don't build -I'm not a carpenter, I'm a business person, so Steve's wicked vile bile is directed at Juan, Curtis, James K, Edwin, Caleb, Al, John, Pete, Casey, Mark, Tito and the dozens of others who take pride in their work, do a pretty good job, and take some pride in being professional in a largely unprofessional community.

So, talk about a losing proposition, let's review -
1. Design, build and pay for someones dream home.
2. Finish on time and on budget. Not one surprise.
3. Give them extra time to close on the house because the wife is pregnant.
4. Remain patient while they scramble to find the money to buy the house after being turned down for a mortgage.
5. Sell them a house with smile on my face.
6. Respond to 12 emergency calls within 2 weeks after closing.
7. Have the husband attempt to hire away my staff while I am trying to live up to my warranty.
8. Fail to kiss his ass long enough, deep enough - and in the end have a long non-ending nightmarish defamation campaign waged against me by a guy who has absolutely nothing to do with his time.

So, what is the lesson learned here, kids? - very simply, sell to people with class.

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