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View Full Version : Unpleasent situations that arise on a job site


6'7 330
08-24-2005, 07:41 PM
The guys were installing a retaining wall project today. The customer’s neighbor’s property runs parallel to part of the work area. Part of The neighbor’s garden borders the work area.I went away for lunch, and returned to find the neighbor hurling obscenities at my workers. The workers were not saying anything in return a couple were just smiling.
I thought it prudent I ascertain the situation quick. I approached the fellow put out my hand, which he refused to shake, and he commenced to lo-rate me for having such idiots for workers. He claimed my workers trampled some of his most prized plants,which i offered to pay for or replant.The offer did not seem to satisfy him, and he starts escalating the obscenities and threatens ,both physically by shoveing the plants up my ass, and with a lawyer lol.By this point in time, he is getting down right nasty and abusive, and I was becoming a little bit disturbed.

So what course of action would you has taken with this fellow?Before you answer, Let me inject one last observation, the guy is obviously mental, to threaten a Six foot Seven inch 330 lb man.

Kill the guy with your people skills, and let him feel the love in your heart.Just talk nice and keep cool ,above all keep cool.

Call the police before it escalates further



Plant a caber up his ass.


none of the above-You fill in what the course of action should be

S man
08-24-2005, 07:46 PM
Interesting Bill. Tell him I will pray for you and walk off. Or get some duck tape and shut his mouth.

Lazer_Z
08-24-2005, 07:53 PM
I personally would have called the cops but, if that did'nt work I have a size 10 steel toe that would look mighty nice up his @$$. And I do agree that he's a nut job for talking to you the way he did. He should also be thankful that you did'nt slap the taste out of his mouth.

So,If I may ask what was the outcome?

Rob

Scotts' Yard Care
08-24-2005, 08:33 PM
Bill I'll be curious how this turned out. Given the modern social climate it would be very possible for someone like this to start shooting. I think you did what a sensible man would do regardless of how ridiculous it was to threaten you.

Tonyr
08-24-2005, 08:40 PM
I like this option....lol, and I just know Jack would of handled it calmly and cooly too, LOL, he he he


* Kill the guy with your people skills, and let him feel the love in your heart.


:p :p

SodKing
08-24-2005, 09:03 PM
I had a similar situation in my company a while back. We had the property surveyed before work started and it turns out the neighbor of the client had encroached about 10 feet into the clients property. We were there to put in a privacy fence and some associated landscaping.

We start digging holes for the posts and the homeowner goes beserk about us digging in their lawn....I show her the survey stakes and she starts with the profanity. I told the crew to ignore her, do not react to her no matter what she does. Husband comers home and goes ape shiit as well, he pulls up the iron rod and throws it at me and then leaves. She places a sprinkler at her property line and starts to water her lawn, and us.

We ignored her (which pissssed her off even more) finished the job and left.

Check please.

vipermanz
08-24-2005, 09:18 PM
i would have probably continued with a real sarcastic attitude, that same crap happens on my street all the time

Eddie B
08-24-2005, 09:27 PM
round up

Killswitch
08-24-2005, 09:33 PM
I like the old dude. Sounds like one fiesty ******.

lol

olderthandirt
08-24-2005, 09:38 PM
I would have gently place my arm around his shoulders and politely out of hearing of any witnesses told him to please refrain from any further obscenities, And continued to explain to the man as I gently squeezed him tighter that obscenities are the number 1 cause of accidental self induced pain at the most unexpected time.
My explanations seems to always get the point across. That or my soothing voice :D
BTW- he may be stupid but he not nuts when he can threaten you with a lawyer.

Nosmo
08-24-2005, 10:06 PM
Well it seems you used the most reasonable approaches to the situation and none worked with this guy. Like you said he probably is a nut case. Or it could be he just ain't afraid of anybody. But you have got to be careful with those types. As pissed off as he was and no telling what was gonna happen next he could have gone in the house and got his pistol or shotgun.

I believe in this case the police might be the ones for you to call. Explain you have tried to reason with him about the damages but he is not acting rationally. Maybe they can keep an eye on that guy until you can complete the job and as the saying goes --- get out of Dodge.

Nosmo

qps
08-24-2005, 11:43 PM
Sort of same thing happened to me on Mon, trimming around a pool (one of many properties we do for a property management co.) there pool guy starts screaming at two of my employees for trimming around the pool while he was trying to clean it...now I'm talking the trimmings were no closer than 15-20 ft. away, anyways my guy puts down his trimmer and walks over to get a blower (pool guy instructions) and blow off clippings..NOW....I show up a few minutes later to run a back hoe on a drain install....and here he comes..walking briskly across the parking lot....I get off the backhoe and he starts yelling at me......wrong.....if you want to talk...we'll talk...if you want to scream...you'll get no where with me...fast...so anyways I proceed to tell him to go call the property manager if he haves any problems...but never tell me or my employees what to do or how to do it....this didn't set well with him...after a few exchanges of choice words I had enough of this crap and told him to go back cleaning the pool or I'd see how long he could hold his breath (in the pool)....he walked away with arms flappin but with all his teeth intact.....so it worked out for everybody... :)

gorknoids
08-25-2005, 12:05 AM
Tell him that he's right, yell at the guys while making faces and winking, and ask him for his address and phone number for the repair work.
On the way home, stop at Goodwill and buy every book they have. On the inside cover of these books, write something to the effect of "This book is a cherished keepsake given to me by my dying grandmother. If found, call (enter the maggot's phone number) or bring to (enter the maggot's address) after 11:00PM. $200.00 reward guaranteed".
Next, drive to the nastiest crackden neighborhood you can find and start chucking them. There are people who will ride a bus for 3 hours to collect that $200.00..................... even in the middle of the night. :gunsfirin

JimLewis
08-25-2005, 12:20 AM
Bill, I'd bet some serious dough that this guy has a drinking problem and you just didn't know it. I've had this kind of thing happen a few times over the years and it always catches me off guard. Erratic behavior, you appologize and offer to make it right but they won't hear of it and just want to escallate things, etc. The first time it happened I was racking my brain trying to figure out why the person was so mad at us. I tried everything to please her but her behaviors just continued to be more violent and aggressive toward us. One day, when I was able to peak into her garage windown and there I saw a HUMUNGOUS pile of beer and wine bottles. Then, it all finally made sense to me. It was such a huge pile that even a regular drinker wouldn't have aquired such a huge pile over a few years. She was definitely an alchoholic. I just had never made the connection before. She seemed erratic and violent but I never thought she seemed drunk. Some drunks are really good at hiding it.

Since then, I've had it happen 2 or 3 other times that I can think of. And every time, I was just thinking, "What the ?????" and then I'd finally clue on to something. I'd smell the liquor on their breath. Or I'd see them stumble or finally catch them at home one day where they were REALLY sauced, and then it would all make sense to me.

Anyway, regardless of what this guy's problem is; don't worry so much about his threats. Take lots of pictures in case he does sue you, then just forget about it. In the 10 years we've been in business I've had maybe 8 or 10 people tell me they were going to sue me for stupid crap. And to date, I've never been sued. The first few times it happened, I was really upset about it. I literally lost sleep fretting over it. I'd worry about it for weeks - just dreading the day that someone would deliver the court papers to my door. But finally, after it happened several times, I realized that most of the time it's just talk. Talk is cheap and some people just like to blast off their mouths. So now adays if someone says I destroyed their precious prize geranium or ruined their lawn or whatever, I just make sure to take lots and lots of pictures (just in case) then I forget about it. If they sue me, fine. They sue me. And with my pictures, I can prove we did little or no damage. But like I said, nobody's every followed through yet. They are usually just idle threats.

Dirty Water
08-25-2005, 12:36 AM
I've had a few people like this myself.

My general approach is to talk to them calmly, offer to fix what they are upset about, and then ignore them.

topsites
08-25-2005, 12:59 AM
Sir, I have seen your Avatar and I assure you *I* would be the last person on the face of earth to wish to trifle with you.

It always made me wonder, too, thou... I'm only 6'3" and 175 but it's still all muscle and really, messing with ANY lawnboy that can push a wb up the trailer ramp with the engine off is just not a good idea, no? What makes these small, puny bugs of humanity pester us so?

Perhaps it is the assumption that since YOU are on the clock, YOU *HAVE* to be nice or else. See, anytime you're working for someone else, you and I both know that telling a customer off can get you fired, so it is my theory there are more than a few folk out there THINK they can get away with it because you HAVE to remain polite. This is the one I use most often nowadays is to come back in a real straight-forward manner to put them in their place once and for all, don't curse but let them know that you'll gladly risk life in prison, would he still like to fight, something like that... And say it in a calm tone.

Maybe you should've grabbed him by the throat with one hand and lifted him off the ground, then asked him if he REALLY would like to get physical now. I dunno thou, I grab one by the throat and I get to deal with the local constabulary... not my idea of a solution, exactly...

But the guys I know that have been doing this a LOOONG time (like 10+ years or so), they all tell me the best thing to do is nothing, say nothing, offer nothing. And if you MUST say something, talk gobbledygook.

topsites
08-25-2005, 01:07 AM
i would have probably continued with a real sarcastic attitude, that same crap happens on my street all the time

There is a thing comes to mind, now that I'm in my 4th year and I've had enough of these folk.
- ANYTIME I have to do work NEAR the property line (such as where the neighbor MIGHT get involved), I add 50 dollars to the estimate.

doesn't even matter if they're rude or nice, every d*mn time they gotta come out and waste my time as if I suddenly owe them my first-born child or something JUST because I'm near the magic line, they come out and gotta say HI and blablabla and what's up and whatcha doing and omfg I usually ignore the hell out of them but it took me a while to get it right because at first they wouldn't go away, nowadays they ALWAYS leave.

Perhaps my stay at the insane asylum wasn't all bad after all.

greywynd
08-25-2005, 03:06 AM
Tell him that he's right, yell at the guys while making faces and winking, and ask him for his address and phone number for the repair work.
On the way home, stop at Goodwill and buy every book they have. On the inside cover of these books, write something to the effect of "This book is a cherished keepsake given to me by my dying grandmother. If found, call (enter the maggot's phone number) or bring to (enter the maggot's address) after 11:00PM. $200.00 reward guaranteed".
Next, drive to the nastiest crackden neighborhood you can find and start chucking them. There are people who will ride a bus for 3 hours to collect that $200.00..................... even in the middle of the night. :gunsfirin


I LIKE this one......going to have to remeber this one :blob3: :blob3: :blob3:

Evergreenpros
08-25-2005, 03:20 AM
Ask questions. The quickest way to take control of a conversation is ask a question. It usually diverts their anger and catches them off guard. When dealing with irrate people they will continue to be irrate because that is their way of leading the "discussion".

Take control away and they melt, every time.

Never apologize until you have asked several questions and are firmly in control of the conversation. Sitting there saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry" only fuels their rage. Showing any emotion whatsoever is what they are looking for.

It's human nature. Remember picking on the fat kit in school? Did you pick on him because he was fat? No. You picked on him because he REACTED to being called fat.

This is the same thing, its some guy who wants to "get" at somebody for whatever reason and he's using the excuse of his flowers to do it.

What is sad is people like that are becoming more and more common. Guess we are losing our ability to live together.

MOW ED
08-25-2005, 07:53 AM
The caber would be my first choice! :p


You really can't physically shut him up unless it is in self defense and even then you know the results for him would be bad.
So what makes a weasel like that have a big set of balls? I can think of a few. He is packin heat, he is a ninja, he is in the mob, he is drunk/high, he is a school teacher, he is nuts. There are more but that gives a pretty good idea.
I think you did all you could to remedy the situation. I agree with Jim Lewis that most people are full of hot air and little action. Sort of like a chiwauwa and a Great Dane. The little dog will yap and yap at the big one but once the little one nips at the big ones paw, its all over.

MacPhersonlawn
08-25-2005, 09:00 AM
In situations where I am working close to or on a property line I make sure the client has informed the adjacent property owner(s) of the work to be done. This should be the client's problem, not yours. I don't want my company to be talked about (even by a few people) as causing problems. Word gets around and thats the kind of recommendation I don't want!

meathead1134
08-25-2005, 10:28 AM
Interesting Bill. Tell him I will pray for you and walk off. Or get some duck tape and shut his mouth.

????? Thats just fuel for the fire, As soon as he started to threaten you I would have called the cops instantly right in front of him. If your workers damaged his plants send him a registered letter stating that your company will replace the damaged plants at no cost to him. Also take pictures of before and after to cover your behind. Sounds like no matter what you do he will never be satisfied.

befnme
08-25-2005, 11:07 AM
I had a similar situation in my company a while back. We had the property surveyed before work started and it turns out the neighbor of the client had encroached about 10 feet into the clients property. We were there to put in a privacy fence and some associated landscaping.

We start digging holes for the posts and the homeowner goes beserk about us digging in their lawn....I show her the survey stakes and she starts with the profanity. I told the crew to ignore her, do not react to her no matter what she does. Husband comers home and goes ape shiit as well, he pulls up the iron rod and throws it at me and then leaves. She places a sprinkler at her property line and starts to water her lawn, and us.

We ignored her (which pissssed her off even more) finished the job and left.

Check please.

just to let you know if a person touches you with anything a rake ,throws dirt and hits you ,or even waters you that is considered assault.press charges and continue your work.

olderthandirt
08-25-2005, 11:13 AM
Ignore him, ask questions,replace his plants, call the cops,apologize and keep working.

You just can't make some people happy and he never said whether or not the plant was actually destroyed or he was trying to placate the man.
The analogy of the school bully that was brought up in an earlier post shows a point, that being that you can tell the teachers principle etc. but he won't stop till one of two things happen
#1 he gets tired of the tirade and finally leaves
#2 he fears for his own safety
Alcohol makes some or even most people grow a set of balls, but I have yet to find any one that was to drunk and did not understand that a beating would result in pain. You just have to make them understand that the pain will come at a time and place of your choosing, not theres. If done in a forceful enough way with out violence AND out of ear shot of any witnesses it will result in
#1 the Guy getting your message and shutting up
#2 he will feel threatened and take physical measures against [take a swing at you] OR call the cops
The part about a him going in and getting a gun is something you should be able to tell when talking to the guy,+ it had escalated to the point that if that was going to happen he would have already done it. You have to know how to read people if you deal with them on a dailey bases

Most bully and alcoholics only push people when they don't feel or recognize the consequences of there actions, by pointing them out it will put them in there place and work can continue or you can file criminal charges for assault and recover damage in court. Sometimes Violence is the answer

jtrice11
08-25-2005, 12:09 PM
THe million dollar question is did your workers trample the plant?

MarcSmith
08-25-2005, 12:28 PM
Macpherson has a good point, but I woudl not leave it up to the client to talk to the neighbor. I would do it myself. 2 reasons.
1. it shows the neighbor you care about their property as well as your clients
2 it gives me chance to pawn off another business card to someone else in the hopes of picking up more work. At thevery least he now has a phone number to call if something should go wrong

If your guys did trample the plants I would finish the work and send the neighbor a letter, sicne he is not good with face to face meetings, with pictures of the disturbed area and and set up a time in which you could meet to further discuss the problem and how HE wants you to go about fixing it. By giving this guy some "authority" over you may in some cases settle them down a bit..., give a copy to your client as well, so he knows you are in good faith tryingto right your wrong.

Also by sending the letter you can show a good faith attempt to try to resolve the situation, just in case he decieds to escalate to legaleeze

gqnine44
08-25-2005, 06:59 PM
Something similar happened to us last week. The lady was yelling and screaming so we killed her, dismembered her body with a sharp spade, and buried her throughout the project. :rolleyes:

Seriously, I have come to learn some people are just nuts. Fix the problem as best you can and don't worry about it. :waving:

northmichigan
08-25-2005, 07:17 PM
i try to be respectful and polite to everyone i meet but being polite and respectful to a bully only adds fuel to the fire.i would call the cops if i was in a similar situation.

Ric
08-25-2005, 07:41 PM
This Reminds me of a story a few years ago in a very nice bar. Calvin is a Black Gentleman who has been a bouncer ---COOLER around here for years. A guy was making a scene and Calvin politely ask him to leave. The guy tried to get ugly with Calvin and Calvin just said in the same calm voice "As big as I am your not going to try and Fight me?" The guy called him the N word and quickly found him self grabbed up by the back of the neck and seat of the pants headed for the door. He landed about 15 ft out in the parking lot and Calvin never got out the door. Calvin sat down at the bar and drank his coffee like he always does. Believe he didn't break a sweat. I have been knowing Calvin for years and this is the only time I have seen him get physical. His very size is enough to keep a sane man in line. He generally come on so soft spoken that you have to like him.

I am not sure how I would handle this. Of course if My guys messed up his place I would try my best to make him happy. But there comes a point when you need to walk away and let him cool off. In the above case with Calvin that is why Bar insurance is so high. Calvin's COOLER style helps keep those insurance rates lower, but there comes a time.

6'7 330
08-25-2005, 07:53 PM
I like this option....lol, and I just know Jack would of handled it calmly and cooly too, LOL, he he he


* Kill the guy with your people skills, and let him feel the love in your heart.


:p :p
He ,would have ripped the top of guys skull off ,and poured the love down the cavity lol.

Dashunde
08-25-2005, 07:53 PM
Shot him so that he can not reproduce (again). Keep the gene pool as clean as possible I say.

The Captain
08-25-2005, 11:27 PM
THe million dollar question is did your workers trample the plant?


A good question that I didn't see the answer for. If it was, I apoligize. (I need some :sleeping: sleep.) Anyway take photos of the damaged areas and take more photos. Keep taking them even when you run out of film.

Then call the :help: cops. In some areas verbal abuse/threats are enough to get 'Mr. :realmad: Nice" a trip to the Greybar Hotel in a shiney new crusier.

By the way. How did it get resolved?

Jim

hosejockey2002
08-26-2005, 01:24 AM
My general approach is to talk to them calmly, offer to fix what they are upset about, and then ignore them.

We have a winner here! :laugh::cool2:

Jerks like this love trying to get a rise out of people. By pretending this dork doesn't exist is the best way of making him go away. If the guy has a legit beef about damage to his plants, fix them, take pictures and ignore him.

Lux Lawn
08-26-2005, 11:07 AM
Bill
Seems to me like you did all you could at the time,you offered to replant them or pay him for his damaged plants.If after all of that he is still not happy and swearing at you (which obviously is a big mistake) then its time to call the cops and let them deal with it while you and the crew go back to work.

6'7 330
08-26-2005, 08:32 PM
I went to the customers to pick up a check; the customer said the mental case has been charged in the past with domestic abuse.

The action I took was, calling the police and then,instructing the workers to just listen and adore him. The deficient brain stem was getting belligerent. I did not want court proceedings for assault or worse. He really endeared himself to the policemen, he started arguing with them lol. The police talked with him , and we came to the agreement I would replace two small rose bushes, which looked very much alive to me.

And yes, I took a ton of pictures. I could have easily pounded him like a stake in the ground. Only thing accomplished with that course of action would have been lawyer fees.

Lumberjack
08-27-2005, 11:04 AM
OR you could have called your crew over to the bed and yelled at them like a drill sargent while pacing up and down the bed in question.....

Or apologise profusely while standing on a prize plant and of course trample the next one when he objects....

Bgaz
08-27-2005, 03:17 PM
Myself and another female worker were finishing up a mowing job, when the neighbor came roaring out of the house and said we got grass on his driveway. I calmly went with him to look, the grass was all dried and brown. Ours was all green. I explained to him we didn't do this and walked away. We loaded up the box truck and got in the cab, looked up and he was headed right for us. We both locked our doors, as he started to reach in the window to grab Lisa. I started to drive away and this idiot is hanging on my passenger mirror with one arm and trying to unlock the door with his other. I increased the gas and he finally let go.

I should of called the cops, but I didn't want give up the time to do it. After that only the guys went there to mow, and they never saw him. Found out later he has a problem with women, no kidding.

Lunatics

Ric
08-27-2005, 03:39 PM
Myself and another female worker were finishing up a mowing job, when the neighbor came roaring out of the house and said we got grass on his driveway. I calmly went with him to look, the grass was all dried and brown. Ours was all green. I explained to him we didn't do this and walked away. We loaded up the box truck and got in the cab, looked up and he was headed right for us. We both locked our doors, as he started to reach in the window to grab Lisa. I started to drive away and this idiot is hanging on my passenger mirror with one arm and trying to unlock the door with his other. I increased the gas and he finally let go.

I should of called the cops, but I didn't want give up the time to do it. After that only the guys went there to mow, and they never saw him. Found out later he has a problem with women, no kidding.

Lunatics


Bgaz

IMHO I believe you handled this badly. Doesn't Matter if it was Indian Hills of Avondale. You should have taken an extra minute and blown off the dead grass. You might of even had to use a broom to loosen the dry grass. But the bottom line of this thread is to avoid having confrontations with your customer of their neighbor. We are in a service industry, let us give that service.

northmichigan
08-27-2005, 07:40 PM
Bgaz

IMHO I believe you handled this badly. Doesn't Matter if it was Indian Hills of Avondale. You should have taken an extra minute and blown off the dead grass. You might of even had to use a broom to loosen the dry grass. But the bottom line of this thread is to avoid having confrontations with your customer of their neighbor. We are in a service industry, let us give that service.
THIS IS NOT THE PEACE CORP. she wasn't working for that man but should have called the cops on him.

Scotts' Yard Care
08-27-2005, 08:03 PM
Not to second guess you but you might consider at least calling your local police to mention the incident to them. Most cops are pretty good about keeping things like this in the back of their minds for future reference. Strictly your call of course and I think you handled a bad situation as well as possible without a confrontation. Even if you're in the right the law sometimes works against you.