A Fair Day’s Wages for A Fair Day’s Work with Sherry

May 24, 2013 No Comments by

The amazing thing about being part of Visit Londonderry is that I never know exactly where a week will lead. Even though I have lived here since the 60’s, grew up at Kendalwood Condos, taught at the High School, and raised my family here, each day I learn something special about our community. One thing is for sure, Londonderry is the best place to Live, Work and Play! Each week I will share with you some of the amazing businesses and things I have learned about Londonderry.

Last week I wrote to you using a quote from Dr. Quirnale, “Challenge your health care providers.” Yes in a loving kind way, but speak up or as they say on the basketball court, “Talk, Use Your Voice!” With medical things, it is our health on the line. This week’s On the Road, unexpectedly led me to using your voice and common sense when it comes to your money. Now I have never asked you to forward my little story around but this week if you think this is as important as I do, then please post it and pass it on!

This part of my road this week really ruffled my feathers.

I’m still “dumbfounded”, I had typed shocked but I think “dumbfounded” really describes my feelings better. I just looked up the official definition and it means “to fill with astonishment and perplexity.” Yes that fits this story exactly. Well here goes. Our house is getting to that age where all the little, and I pray they stay little, things are starting to go. For about 5 months it has been our kitchen faucet. I know it sounds silly to think we have let this go for so long but it has a leak. Sometimes it leaks a lot and other times not all. Finally I decided to take one thing off our plate, I decided to call a plumber to have it fixed. Now we really don’t have a plumber, our dear friend Mark that I wrote to you about few months back would help John do all those things, but now because life changed without warning, it was time to make a call. Well where do you begin? You are probably saying, “Well ask around, you meet so many people,” but my road hasn’t led me to a plumbing company yet.

I knew one thing was for sure, I did not want someone who was going to charge me just for coming out. I thought that was a real gimmick, at least in my opinion. I hate that, it really bothers me. I called a few places and finally I thought I had found a gem. I won’t use the name, but boy do I want too! Very nice phone conversation, no charge for coming out, I thought this was meant to be. They could even come that next day! Well they sure did come the next day, a very nice man, looked it all over, agreed everything was in great shape and that it would most likely just be replacing the faucet gear, standard nothing special about it. He had to go to his truck to write up the estimate. John and I waited, pretty excited that this was going to get fixed, and remember no fee for coming out!

I had a couple numbers in my head, but I promise you this wasn’t one of them! He said okay it will be $360 dollars, but that’s with our “plan.” We’ll come back another time and check everything in your house water related for you. Or if you don’t take the plan well then it’s I think he said $420 (I apologize I could be off on the numbers, my ears were twitching, because I thought I must have heard wrong). Nope I heard correctly. I gave the old Sherry pregnant pause as I call it, and got my thoughts together. I asked a question. “How long will it take you to do this job?” His answer, “Maybe an hour.” I paused again, math being one of my worst subjects, I took a risk. Thinking I was wrong and said, “So your telling me that for you to come and put a new faucet in (we provide that ourselves, mind you) you will be charging me about $300 an hour?” I thought for sure I was wrong, he said, “Yes, that’s right.” Pretty precious, I might add, he didn’t even flinch. I was speechless, but reminded myself we are ignorant about this kind of thing, so I didn’t say anything else, and we made an appointment for 8am the next morning. I had already planned to not sign the estimate had he asked, but he didn’t.

I think before the front door had even closed, I started to call around just to see if this made sense. A couple of places I called said there would be a minimum charge, I can’t understand why, but that bugs me. Suddenly, I remembered that when one of our appliances breaks down I call Russ’s Appliance Repair. A friend had given me his number when we had a dishwasher problem a few years ago. Russ is another one of those guys who gives you a fair price for exceptional work. Funny he does have a minimum “fair” charge and it doesn’t bother me. Here’s his number if you ever need him, 644-7221. He’s a one man show and he is amazing. His price is always beyond fair. It’s in his blood, he learned from the best his own dad!

Anyway, I was not sure what to do so I called Russ just for advice. I told him the story I just told you and he said that was way out of whack. He also said when you know what you are doing it’s about a ½ hour job. He gave me the name of Daigle Plumbing and Heating. I suddenly remembered that my friend Lisa had given me that same name a while ago and I had forgotten. (Remember that 24 hour policy I wrote about last week, had I followed through then it would have been fixed!) I called Daigle and a very personable man named Nate answered the phone. I was pretty direct a quick explanation and Nate said, “Well it will be $140.00 for the hour. That is what we charge,” he almost sounded like he felt bad saying that amount, so he added in, “Now remember though, this job will not take him that long so if you need him to look at anything else while he’s there he’d be happy to do that. Remember your paying for the hour”. How great is that? I asked if they could come the next day and he said no problem.

A nice man named Tom, came to our home and yes within 40 minutes it was fixed. I’ve probably rambled on with too much detail, but this is really scary and I wanted you to know the entire story. What worries me is I wonder how many people just say yes, because they don’t know what else to do and just assume it is a fair price. My heart breaks for our elderly, our single moms, everyone who can’t fix these things on their own and that are being taken advantage of.

I still can’t get over it, $300 per hour! It must shock you too! Just like with our medical care, we have to get second opinions when something doesn’t feel right, ask around, and help each other. Now I want to tell you about another great family run business that we have used for 10 years now, McCarthy’s Carpet Cleaning has been coming to our home and cleaning our carpets every year. If your carpets are worn like ours, you have little ones or pets give John a call. It’s really wise to clean them once a year when they are new too, so that stay looking great for you. I wish I could remember how my John heard of McCarthy but we were so impressed that first year and each year since that we have never changed.

Another thing that means so much to us is that when Shea has his accidents and for some reason they are always on the same least worn cream colored carpet we have, John comes right out to help. The first time it happened, I did my best to “scrub” it out which is the worst thing you can do. I thought for sure if I called it would be an emergency service that would cost an arm and a leg. Finally after all my work it just didn’t come out. I called, they listened, and said no problem. They fit us in, cleaned it, and again charged us a “Fair” price. No emergency gauging number.

Fair pricing or fancy dancy pricing is something we also have to watch in all areas of our lives. Last week I forgot to tell you about stopping into visit Chris at Almo Fireworks. We have so many great fireworks places in our town, that I asked Chris what makes Almo different. He said two things, first they try to educate customers so that they really understand what they are buying and how to properly use it. Second he said that Almo does not believe in these buy one get one free deals. Chris said that they offer a “Fair” low price on everything they sell. He said those typical 2 for 1 deals really end up costing you more money in the long run. Compare pricing and service and make a good, in this case safe decision.

I’m sorry this is so long, but I just realized that the last two things I want to tell you about go to together. Memorial Day weekend is here. For so many it just means a Monday off, but we all need to stop and remember its real meaning. If you’ve never been to the celebration on Monday right here in our town, try to go this Monday morning. I promise it will take your breath away. Take an hour to think, pray and thank all of the men and women that are serving, have served, or have given their lives so that we can be safe and continue to do the things we love while they are protecting us, our country.

Memorial Day is also a time to remember our loved ones that have passed on. Our dear friend Bart, shared this with us, when he invited us to go to his family grave sites in the Salem/Lawerence area. Bart does not just bring flowers to lay at each site, he showed us how to plant beautiful flowers at each resting place of his loved ones. Bart, helped us to stop and remember as we prepare for this weekend. If you have children, make sure that they understand why they have the day off from school, and I think it’s a really good idea to bring them to the parade and ceremony here in town. That seems only “fair” too. It’s the least we can do. The parade starts at 9:30 Monday morning. I hope to see you there.

Now If you do need flowers for this weekend I will share with you my last “Fair” price for the beauty you will get. If you drive over to Hudson at all, right down Route 102 and pass the True Value Hardware store on the right you have most likely seen “the Flower Guy. I don’t know how else to describe him. When I was a young teacher driving back and forth to the Amherst Middle School, I would pass by him almost every day. I didn’t know what his name was and I never would have guessed his story. This Mother’s Day as we drove by him, I asked John spur of the moment, to turn around so that we could go back to meet him. Again, for 30 years, I have driven pass but never stopped.

His roses always looked lovely driving quickly by, but up close my goodness they are breathtaking. We waited as “the flower guy” finished with one customer and then it was our turn. We had no idea what the price would be. A dozen perfect roses, every color to pick from, price for the ones I liked $20 dollars. Again a Fair Price.

You know me, I had to ask his name and that’s how I learned he was Lanny. I told him my teaching story and asked what his story was. Lanny said he started off as an English teacher right in Nashua. He loved to read and to surf. Teaching was fine, but after a few years he realized he could make “fair” money, offer a great service and have more time to do his favorite things. He explained that while he waits for customers he reads in his van. Now how strange is this. Lanny said the school he went to as a child in Nashua, is where he went back to teach. The reason we were in the area on Mother’s Day was because Mackensie had a basketball tournament. Guess where it was. It was at that same school! That’s when you know those unplanned things are meant to be. Oh I even had John take a picture of us.

I hope this week’s story is like the starfish one that Meredith told at a ceremony this week, if this information helps even one person out there, then it was worth typing and telling.

With a Grateful Heart Sherry

On the Road with Sherry

About the author

Sherry has lived in Londonderry since the 1960's. Her mother was one of the first employees at Mr. Steer Meats. Sherry taught at the Londonderry High School for a number of years and spearheaded the first Career Education Class at the school. She has two daughters of her own with her husband John.
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