View Full Version : 4+ hours and taco won't pay YOU WON'T BELIEVE THIS.

David Hartzog
09-02-2000, 12:25 AM





August 22, 2000

Taco Bell Corporation

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is David Hartzog. I run a new lawn service in Eufaula, Alabama. Around June 28th I submitted a bid for the Eufaula store’s lawn care and I was told I would get the bid but, the management said they had to check to see if the current lawn service had been paid for the following month. It was agreed that I would check back in a few days.
Almost a week later, I went in to eat lunch. Upon seeing the manger I asked, “Are you ready to get this place cleaned up?” Management, in reply, said they had not checked on the other service to see if they were paid yet. So, I asked, “next week?” They said yes. Well, the next week I went through the drive-thru. There I saw the manager taking a smoke break. I stopped and asked if She had heard anything yet. He said that the current service was not paid for the next month and was told I could start August 1, 2000. I asked if I could at least start the next morning, cleaning up the sand in the parking lot and edging and so on. She said no problem.
The next morning at 6 am, I started cleaning up. I blew half of the parking lot and started to work on the parking area in the parking lot, taking up the dirt. The GUY manager drove up, got out and said, “morning, David.” I said good morning. He saw me working and walks inside. Around 10:30, I get a little hungry so I went inside and got something to eat. I got a taco and Pepsi, which were given to me. I walked outside and started to work again. Within 30 or 40 minutes, he comes out and acts like I just got there, and asks, “What are you doing? I never said you could start.” He said it in a real nasty way. I was very baffled. I told him that I was told I could start that day. He suddenly got very angry with me and said to leave. I asked what was going on. He said he was new in town and had to keep to peace. I could not believe it.(later i found out thorough a friend that he was threatend with a bill from the current lawn due to his contract so far i can't verify that).I went to my father and friend to see what I should do.I did 4+ hours of work there and the manager knew I was out there. I just was blown away with the way I had been treated.I was told to ignore it and go on with other jobs. If they called me, I decided that I would have him sign a contract that would not allow them to screw me over. Therefore, I did as asked. I waited.
In the meantime, I continued to talk about what happened with other people trying to find out if this happened to them. A friend told me that the current lawn service of Taco Bell found out from a friend who drove by and saw me working. He called the current lawn service and asked if he still had Taco Bell account and he said yes. Then, he called Taco Bell and yelled or threatened Taco Bell manger. (This is what I was told anyway)
Last week, I went over to Sable Ridge a shopping center my father use to own to work on the sprinkler system. After some time, I gave up due to it not working and I left. Saturday, August 19,i was on the computer i was kick off a few minutes later my phone rang I received a phone call from Taco Bell. The manager asked if I had talked to Jimmy , the man who used to do the lawn service for Sable Ridge. I said no. He then said that the water was not on at Sable Ridge. I then said I must have turned it off by accident. He said that several people had called him and blamed him for it being off.(I found out that it was suggested by 1 person that only cause the vaule cover was off) I asked why would they say that. I then said, “ I‘ll be there shortly.” I got there and he came out like he was ticked off i mean piss of waving his hands all around. I calmly said hi and then said I turned off the wrong valve. I ask him about who had blamed him.
He then said, “Get the hell off his yard!” I then could not take it any more I asked him what his problem was.i said you get a free clean up and i'm not even going to charge you He said get off my property”I said, “What the f*** is you’re problem?” I was not going to let him push me around anymore.he is a bully the way i see it. He then said, “That’s it, I’m calling the police.” I told him to go ahead and got in my car and drove over to Sable Ridge to talk to them. They said that they had not blamed him. I then went across the street to Eufaula Office Park. I was checking on things and trying to cool down when the police car pulled up. I told the officer what happened and she said that she felt sorry for me. Then, she told me that the manager had to send a certified letter to me saying that I was to stay off the property.
The officer said that I should complain to you, so that is were I am. Something has to be done about this manger. I worked 4+ hours with him knowing that I was there and then for him to tell me to stay off the property. Give me a break! I was not even going to charge for the service because of the mix up, but now things are different. I want my money and an apology.

Taco Bell owes my company $140.00 for services previously performed. $35.00 hour


David R. Hartzog
Eufaula’s Finest Lawn Service

09-02-2000, 12:34 AM
I'd be dar*** if I'd eat another burrito from that place!


09-02-2000, 12:40 AM
Hey David Those who go in circles shall be known as the wheel.if your the finest i feel sorry for the people in your area.

09-02-2000, 12:54 AM
Well a leaswon well learned......Just send them a bill state who gave the go ahead after all she is a manager right. if they don't pay send the a registared letter let
90 dayas pass from the day of service file in small claims court and there pay the courts cost .. after all no judge will belive that we in are right mind would do a job like that for free... yea you'll get your money but the judge will make sure you have learned a leason........

09-02-2000, 11:28 AM
You should have waited until august 1 to start like the man said in the first place. And had a written signed contract. By then he would have had things settled with the current lawn service. I guess thats why he told you to waite in the first place

09-02-2000, 02:11 PM
Stone and Charles are right, it looks like you rushed things, not them. They may have said "yea, go ahead" because they were tired of you asking. Without a signed contract, it was your mistake starting work, not theirs. Write it off as a bad business decision and move on.

Lesson to be learned, never start work or buy equipment on the word that you "will" get a contract, wait until it's signed or move on.


09-02-2000, 02:16 PM
Sorry to pour salt on an open wound, but I would never start on a commercial account w/o a signed contract. When you have a lot of verbal agreements things get screwed up. He said, she said etc. Take the hit and chalk it up as lesson learned.

09-02-2000, 09:52 PM
dude, you sound like you need to chill out and be cool....all that big story makes me feel like someone has that song stan on.....if you are really made to be a lawn (or whatever)service owner you need to not be so hung up on 130$ ...i mean whatever- the front lines are everywhere if you run your own show...people do things and also react in ways not becoming of progressive realationships and that affects us all....when i started out i jumped off early or just didn't really think about what was up ,,,i just wanted to be out there...and that's cool, we all do it...just watch your back because there are wolves in sheep's clothing out there and they will take you out....maybe get stoned or drink microbrew outside of utah's 3%law zone...good luck and keep your head low or someone will take it off!and pay your taxes!!

David Hartzog
09-02-2000, 10:11 PM
The one thing that got me upset was not the time or money but he called the cops on me up till that time i was going to forget it all but this is a small town and i am just covering my self so i know that i did something i was just so humillated and mistreated besides he has done this to others and he is not well liked.

09-02-2000, 11:18 PM

I understand that you want your money and agree w/ the others that you should have had a written contract.

Regardless of that...

Please do not send in that letter to Taco Bell.

I hate to be critical, but that letter is terribly written. I understand that that you do not want a critique on grammar, but I would like to comment on its content. There is entirely way too much information in that letter. Taco Bell does not need/want a letter written as a narrative. They do not need to hear your entire sob story. They don't need to read about Jimmy or the Sable Ridge Shopping center (how do these relate to Taco Bell??) And all the quotations are utterly useless. I espically liked the part where you quoted yourself saying, "What the f*** is you’re problem?” Real nice. Thats an excellent way to show Taco Bell Corporate your professionalism, and gives them such a favorable impression of the lawn maintance industry. Please, do us a favor an use a little common sense.

What you need to write is a "business" letter. Keep it short and to the point. You want them to be able to read and digest the letter quickly. The executives may have a busy schedule and/or a short attention span that would prevent them from reading the entire letter. The longer that you make the letter, the less chances you have of them reading the entire thing. Do not include this entire narrative. Rather, being as professional as possible, give them a short explanation of services performed and amount due. Its as simple as that. Let them contact you. If they don't do so, politely respond with a follow up letter.

Impress them with your professionalism. Don't impress upon them that you are unprofessional.

There are some good books out there that have sample business letters in them. They are nice to have. You can usually find a letter in them that has a similar theme to the one that you're writing. You can read it and get ideas on how to write your letter.

I don't mean to be overly critical, but would like to think that I am looking out for some of the industries best intrests. Think about it, the executives that read that letter may hire someone to cut their grass. I wouldn't want them to look down on our profession because of a letter they read. If they think that all lawn maint. people are unprofessional, then pricing will never change.

Sorry for the long post..


09-02-2000, 11:32 PM
Effn ah was yo ah wd set up a sign in front of thet taco bell an write on it closed does to rat problem, dawgone it.Thet may not pay yo back but it is pay back. Shut mah mouth!

09-03-2000, 12:20 AM
Here's the deal...The big corporate boys or girls are not going to care that you, a little guy,lost. I understand your need to express you frustration and see some resolve to this situation, but they probably aren't going to care. One thing to consider is you just learned a valuable lesson in life and business, especially THIS business. I'm still learning...ten years into it and I shattered a sliding glass door last weekend...No big deal but I should have seen it coming.
I know from past postings that you are just starting up. Relax. Think about how you want to handle this sort of thing (or how to avoid it in the future)and how you want to be viewed by the public (and yourself). Keep your head up. As Smitty would say "Take the high road" Maybe they ripped you off, learn from it, go on. give it time and in a few years you will look back and they will be nothing but a loser in your memory and you will have moved way ahead.

09-03-2000, 12:27 AM
Like I said before, you learn from your mistakes. Here at the forum, we learn from all of our mistakes.

09-03-2000, 09:43 PM

Im sure you are mad. Heres what i would do If I were you.

DO what ever makes you happy. Sometimes argueing works and standing up for yourself feels ok but if you are wasting your time then you might as well be out making money and enjoying yourself.
good luck I hope you win.

Acute Cut
09-04-2000, 01:10 AM
I am totally in agreement with Eskals. What would you think if you got a 3 page letter from one of MY customers complaining about my service. You would say" WTF!?" and toss it. They don't care about your ego or your desire for an apology. They care about $$$$.

Your professionalism is something to be guarded though. I would write a SINCERE apology note to the manager. Hand deliver it to him. Tell him you were completely wrong and were so looking forward to supplying good quality service for him that you jumped the gun. THen i would say that you misunderstood (insert something or other here) and would sincerely like to FIX what you did wrong and so forth. Propose blowing off his sidewalk twice a week or something for a month. 5 minutes of work for a whole lot less headache. Then he will see your desire for professionalism and thing twice before bad mouthing you to others. You probably wont get the contract back (DUH) but you wont have bad publicity. (maybe)

Save the letter, write off the debt, and mend your ego boo boo.

Lawns still grow, and other people will still call. This is small compared to the bigger mistakes you will probably make later. We all have i am sure.

Have a good one and let us know what you decide to do and what happens.

Acute Cut

09-04-2000, 02:01 AM
gee, lots of things come to mind- Roundup baloons, slander spelled out in the grass with a spray doc, black ink baloons on the sides of bldg., a nice 4WD yard job (my favorite), etc.
Anyways, you are learning that taco bells are dangling at the bottom of the food chain :) as far as commercial places. Has alot to do with their image to start with.
As others have said, DON'T DO ANY WORK UNTIL YOU HAVE IT IN WRITING, SIGNED, & IN YOUR HAND. I learned this the hard way too with Lazarus Dept. store here in town. If nothing is written & signed they may as well promise you the friggin Queen Mary, cuz when it comes time to deliver you'll get the usual "I don't remember saying that; do you have any proof?"
Live & learn, at least it was under $150. I got stiffed for over $400 of pre-approved work.....
I would send a PROFESSIONAL letter (have someone type it for you if need be) to them, & keep it to "just da facts", including names, dates, & times, locations, etc. Do not interject personal opinion or slander about non-related items. This will get you farther in your pursuit if you do it that way.
Good luck.

09-04-2000, 03:14 AM
Firstly, I too agree that a professional letter will have way more impact, and send the letter. You may get blown off, but you did your thing and stood up for a principle (right on, more people need to do that, this is not about the money, is it?) You may also find that not all of Corporate America are scum! Maybe your letter will be the last straw for the Managers Manager. One more complaint may be all it takes (My letter to a bank VP worked wonders, and I was not even expecting a reply!)
Up here in Canada, if you work on someone elses lawn by mistake and they do not see you, it is your fault. If they see you working and do not tell you to stop, they then have an obligation to you, whether they requested the work or not. Your legal system is a bit different though . . .
Good luck


09-04-2000, 05:03 AM
You know I keep seeing post on this subject and i look at it different every time.If your That upset that someone in this world done you wrong and your pride is baddly damaged
try looking at this your letter ..ahh maybe can use some
modifactions..make it simple. Who you are .....owner of ....
on this date ...... i made a sales call to your corprate store #.... in .......Ala.after making sevral sales calls
your manager ....... gave me approval on .......to do the following services.... this was a vebral agreement by a store manager of your store#... .bill for services received by store #........
is for the ammount of $....... , this bill is being denied by the store.If your not safitsfied wtih services recieved i am to this date unware of such, my company prides itself on the satisfaction of all our customers and takes the nesercery steps to make sure all my valued customers are satisfied with the purchase.Enclosed is a copy of the invoice made that evening after services were performed.for collections which is past due. I can be reached at this number ....... for further conversation please remit payment useing the sase envelope made out to .........

Thank you for your copperation in this matter

Next time ill get the invoice signed.

But you need to go to another store and find out who the city manger is and deal with him...well maybe you ought to get your mom to go in and get his name saying she needs to talk with him...you know maybe you should have done a letter before you embarsed all the folks that are
trying to change to BUYING PUBLICs veiw on those of us who do this for a living.It is very frustrating to bid on a med size jobs you know condos, apartments after they went with a small entepurneuer that don't have their ##@! together(HAD THE COPS CALLED ON YOU ABOUT THIS)(SORRY BUD BUT MY MOM SAYS I CAN'T HANG OUT WITH YOU)(OH..AND IF THIS HAPPENED WHILE WORKING FOR ME I DON'T THINK YOUR WORKING FOR ME ANY MORE, THE COPS MAN MAYBE YOU OUGHT TO GET A PART TIME JOB IN RETAIL COMMISION SALES TO STREGHEN YOUR PEOPLE SKILLS you should have keeped that info to your self what do they say about when you open mouth)anyway and have a bad ....taste in ther mouth about small companies
and feels like they need to go only with the larger companies.....but thats another storie sorry for the long boring post ,and if i was out of line give me lashes with a wet noodle. "what does not kill you MAKES YOU STRONGER".
thanks for reading by the way tell us whats been happening
in i want to know how you'ved handled this.yea it's been said but i allways gain more when i hear it again.

[Edited by BUSHMASTER on 09-04-2000 at 08:27 AM]

09-04-2000, 07:30 AM
http://smilecwm.tripod.com/dvv/cwmddd.gif Huh?

09-04-2000, 08:01 AM
Survey says write it off and move on. Let this post do the same.

09-04-2000, 09:17 PM
Like my old boss used to say ,Take your loss,youll make it up on the next job.

David Hartzog
09-04-2000, 10:59 PM
i haven't sent letter yet since i still need to go over it i have been thinking i might as you all are saying Forgive and forget.Undesided ps i still need to sit down and read the print out.

Jay Beckman
09-06-2000, 02:03 AM
Forget about it. It's only $140.

09-06-2000, 06:12 PM
Where u get that monkey Keith? Thats funny

09-07-2000, 12:53 AM
http://smilecwm.tripod.com/dvv/cwmjitter.gif Charles: You've got mail!

David Hartzog
09-10-2000, 11:11 PM
i have decided to forget it all