Sunday, May 21, 2017

Maine is Made for Do-It-Yourselfers

Ever since we moved to Maine eight years ago, my husband and I have been increasingly amazed by the service professionals doing business here. They certainly set a new standard, one with no word I can think of but a few that come close: Abysmal, lamentable and laughable all give you an idea. Whatever you call it, the low level of professionalism gives lie to Governor LePage's new slogan, "Maine: Open for Business." The sad truth is it's pretty hard to get anything done around these parts unless you do it yourself.

For example, seeking to have the exterior of our home painted I called three house painters who ran ads in the pennysaver over a week ago. I left messages for two of them on their voicemail; neither has called back. The third one (Brett Hall of Hall Painting for you locals) actually answered his phone and was quite an agreeable chap. After a friendly conversation we agreed on this morning at eleven for Brett to come by and take a look-see. Having been burned before by other workmen -- we've gotten estimates, given the okay, and then never heard a peep ever again -- I attempted to pin down the parameters of his visit. "Rain or shine, I'll be there," he promised.

Fools that we are, we waited. We called his cell. We waited some more and called some more. Finally I left a plaintive message saying I was disappointed. He never called back. This is typical Maine behavior, honed to perfection by plumbers, electricians, carpenters, snow plow operators and lawn care companies. Really, the only things you can count on getting in Maine are bug bites, lobsters and sunburn in summer and snow in winter. So I guess we'll be painting our house.

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