Tuesday, June 3, 2008

scam radar

School's out and this means that my wife has time to work on the yard. Mostly getting all the flower beds in order and using me for the heavy lifting and digging labor. I have a landscaping project (the 1 acre yard) that's going on 4 years now. We seem to tackle one section each summer and it pretty much consumes all the available free time. After I got home the other day, I was helping my wife stake a flowering plant to help it get used to our relentless gale force winds we seem to have around here in the spring and fall. A landscaping truck and trailer pulled up and offered to sell us some trees. Just doing some work for the neighbor around the corner. Super deal. Cash or check only. We'll put them in the ground for you.

My scam radar is going on overdrive. I look at my wife and she looks at me and says "Are you going to get those 2 dead trees replaced this summer?" I honestly had to answer no. She tells me "You better pay the man then." They have to go get the trees we want but at least they don't ask for the check right away. They'll be back with the trees and have them installed this evening. I get a business card before they leave which has a website for them. I go into the house and do a whois lookup to see how long the website has been registered. Been a couple years at least but who knows for sure.

Several hours pass. It's now dark out and the door rings. There they are, unloading the trees into my yard. They'll be back in the morning. Please leave a check under the mat. They'll have them in by noon. Scam radar in overdrive again. I picture them coming back, loading up the trees and the check, and then heading straight to the bank before I have a chance to put a stop on the check.

Next morning, we leave the check under the mat and vacate the premises by 9:30 or so. No sign of the workers before we leave. My wife gets back around 2:00. Check is gone. Trees still in the yard but not installed. There are some tree stakes lying in the grass though. Hmmm.....am I going to be digging this weekend? I really didn't have the time for this.

Call the number on the business card. Get a receptionist but the owner is having cell phone problems and can't be reached. Please leave a message on his voice mail. Lots of stuff going on at work so I don't really have the time for any of this. Call home and my daughter informs me that she doesn't think they are coming back. I eventually do get to leave work and by the time I get home, they are installing trees in my yard and in 2 of my neighbors who just happened to be out this evening when they showed up to do the work at my house.

Those of you who know me know I'm a bit paranoid. Somewhere in the book "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing" is a saying, "Worrying is like paying interest on a debt you may have never owed." It's stuck with me for many years. Why can't I listen to it?

1 comment:

Bil said...

The lure of probable betrayal is stronger than the knowledge of societal norms.