Thursday, November 16, 2006


There is a small, almost insignificant chance that I may have clogged up the sink awhile back. I tried all of the usual remedies to no avail. It seemed that this was a job for a certified professional. Unfortunately for me, only a plumber was available. I’m usually skeptical of any profession that can hold me hostage in certain situations and this was one of them.

I’ve grown accustom to a certain pattern when something breaks that I cannot fix. I take the broken item to an individual and I ask them how much it will cost to fix it. They usually take a look at it and respond with a price for the services necessary to repair the item to working condition. I understand this process. This process makes sense to me. I was not prepared for the process involved with fixing a clogged sink.

As it turns out, plumbers, or at least the one that came to our house today, have a vastly different approach to “fixing” plumbing type problems. They survey the damage, then they quote you prices on the various procedures that they can attempt. Some are cheaper than others, but there is no guarantee that the problem will be solved.

They will charge you X amount of dollars to perform procedure A. Will that unclog the drain? It’s a possibility, but not a guarantee. Procedure A could potentially miss the clog altogether. Then we’d have to try procedure B at the cost of X+.

I’m not sure why, but this whole process seemed mind boggling to me. I would think that he would show up, ask what the problem was, be told the problem, then he would fix the problem and charge me. I don’t understand why he would offer different options for me to pay for that would not necessarily fix the problem.

The drain was unclogged, but not before I lost my respect for the plumbing profession and it’s illogical logic.


cadiz12 said...

what's wrong with just using a plunger?

Radioactive Jam said...

Sorry, but - a plunger? To solve a plumbing related problem? Maybe in the hands of a trained professional but otherwise - no. Clearly, mere mortals i.e. Jon, Cadiz12, and I aren't meant to understand, much less solve "glitches" in complex, inscrutable systems such as those lurking beneath our faucets. Far better for us to throw money at the drain-pipe druids; all other paths lead to madness.

I too have had recent contact with the plumbing cabal; apparently I needed to have a "monster loaf" extracted from my septic tank. In my case there was only one expensive procedure available, so I wasn't troubled by a multitude of choices. Imagine my relief.