Monday, September 17, 2007

That squeaky wheel.....

One morning my neighbor behind me said, "did you know your tree caught on fire last night?". Saying no, I glanced up and saw charring on the side of the tree way up next to the electrical wire. Yes, she said "the neighbor over there saw it and called the power company about it but it went out on its own." So later that day the power company responded and put an insulated wrap around the wire. We thought all was well. A couple days later the insulated wrap caught on fire, which caught the tree again. It charred a bigger spot but did go out on its own again. The power company came and took down that tree. It was a huge oak tree in my fenced yard. They did most of it while I was gone. I came home just as they were finishing up. I walked out there to brush and branches all over my back yard and a naked ugly tree stump at least 10 feet tall. They informed me that it was "the homeowner's responsibility to clean the rest of it up; the power company does not do that". I gasped for breath and said, "how can I possibly clean this up. I'm an old woman, I don't have a man here to do this". They shrugged and said "sorry", but I knew they really weren't.

My other neighbor was leaning on the fence watching with a twinkle in his eye. He's older, and therefore much wiser, than me. I whined to him, "they said they aren't going to clean it up". "Yep," he replied sagely, "they won't do it, they don't care about their customers." He walked away shaking his head. My head was spinning at this point. My yard looked like a compost pit and that tree stump was seriously ugly.

I came inside and dialed up my power company. After being transferred a couple times I finally reached the right department. I told the girl my plight and she stated, " I'm sorry, m'am, but it's the homeowner's responsibility to clean up the debris; the power company does not do that". I asked to speak to her supervisor. "certainly" she chirped. Another female voice came on the line. I explained my situation to her, she stated "I'm sorry, m'am, but it's the homeowner's responsibility to clean up the debris; the power company does not do that." I asked to speak to her supervisor. "certainly" she trilled. Another female voice came on the line. I began explaining the situation for the third time. I will have to admit my voice was getting a bit shaky and I was close to tears by this time. Maybe its because I sounded so pathetic that she stopped mid-sentence in her pre-programmed response of "I'm sorry m'am but it's the homeowner's - .... "wait" she said, "just how much of a stump did you say is there?" I told her. She sounded doubtful. I said maybe I'm off a couple feet, I'm short and everything looks tall to me, but its got to be at least 8 feet, probably more. She said"oh well, that's just WRONG". Oh Merciful Heavens!. I had her! She was actually interested. I went on, enthusiastically, "I can send you pictures by email." She said "yes, send me those pictures". I literally flew outside, got my camera and snapped shots from different angles, then came back inside and got them off to her. a wonderful thing.

A few minutes later, she called me back. Her voice had an edge to it....that told me that heads were going to roll. It was late afternoon by then so she asked if I would be home in the morning, I said yes and she said someone would be here to check it out. At 9 a.m. a man from the power company pulls in with my email, including the pictures, in his hand and asks to see the area. I show him to my backyard. I can't read his face but he makes a phone call. Within ONE hour I had a crew here. They cleaned up my back yard of all the brush and branches, cut the stump off to below ground level and left the bigger logs, cut to fireplace length, for my use. My neighbor across the street got the benefit of that as I don't have a fireplace.

I love love LOVE this woman. I sent her a letter of appreciation. I wanted to send her flowers and candy! Hell, I wanted to buy her a mink coat. But thought that would be overkill.

This did show me that in every large organization there are STILL some people who really care.....all you have to do is JUST GET TO THEM. I had to go up three levels to get to her. So, don't give up. That old saying about the squeaky wheel.....well, its still true. As for my old neighbor, he just shook his head and said, "I gotta hand it to you, you got 'um to do it and I never thought they would."!

1 comment:

Ordinary Janet said...

Yay for you! I was thinking, "that tree might have been there before the power line was". I'm so glad you got the problem taken care of.

As for those jerks who left the big mess, let's hope karma comes back to bite them on the butt when they get old.