Saturday, April 13, 2013

Go clean someone else's chimneys, why don't you!

DISCLAIMER: I was internally grumpy about all of this. I was very pleasant, externally, to the chimney sweep, lest you think that I was acting like an angry mudpuppy when he was here.

One night this week, I came home to a note in my mailbox from the chimney sweep saying that he had stopped by but I wasn't home.

This is my mental response: Of course I'm not going to be home, just waiting for you to stop by, especially considering I had no idea that you would be coming by. I work!

The rest of the note said that he would be here the next day at a certain time.

This is my mental response: you expect me just to drop everything and be here when you say to be?

Not that I acted out that response; I contacted my boss and told him that I'd be in late the next morning because I found out, last minute, that I had to meet the chimney sweep. I am lucky to have an understanding boss who let me do that.

I was quite suspicious of this so-called sweep, so I texted my landlady to find out if: a) the guy is legitimate; b) does she know he's coming and will she pay for it; c) is there even a chimney here to sweep? Her answers were all yes. In my Nebenkosten fees for the apartment, part of what I pay monthly is for the chimney sweep. My apartment doesn't have a fireplace but apparently there's some sort of chimney/exhaust somewhere. I do have hot water heating so I wonder if part of that exhaust must be cleaned.

The next day, the sweep showed up at the promised (unsolicited!) time and came in. He fiddled around with the heater, used an instrument that made a whirring noise, and stood on my bathtub. I didn't watch him too much because that seemed strange, so I'm not exactly sure what he did.

He then needed to access the attic. He saw my shoe cabinet under the attic and muttered "this isn't good." Since I was cranky about the whole unsolicited appointment, I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling him that the shoe cabinet is there for my convenience, and since the attic is only accessed once a year, it's not a bad thing that the cabinet is there. Instead, I helped him move it.

He left the attic and slapped a sticker on my water heater. I asked him if that was the chimney sweeping for the year and he said something about it being a new heater and that the sweeping is in two months for everyone. I didn't quite understand him and he didn't quite understand me, so I'm not entirely sure what he meant. I really hope that it doesn't mean that we're going to have to repeat this baloney in two more months.

It might sound like I'm being a bit cranky about this. Well, I am! I don't know if it's a German thing or just this service provider, but I'm not pleased with a provider who shows up unsolicited and then just tells me when the appointment is. Is that how it works? I'm accustomed to setting the appointment myself so it's a time that's convenient (read: when I can get out of work for sure).

My extra crankiness comes from another service provider: my landlady's handyman. He was working on fixing the fronts of the cabinets. He's had them for two months now (and my kitchen looks horrible, with two missing cabinet fronts). I texted my landlady to ask her if they were done and she said that he had stopped by my apartment several times with them but I wasn't home. She was frustrated with him because she had told him just to drop them off at her house and she would rehang them herself. I was frustrated with everyone at this point. Of course I'm not just going to be sitting around home, waiting for people whom I didn't know are coming!

Are these just flaky service providers who don't make appointments, or is that how they do things in Germany? I really need to find out.

Rorr! I am angry, like a mupuppy piñata!

1 comment:

  1. Normally the chimney sweep leaves a note, telling you that he comes to a specific time (which is always in the middle of day) but usually you cn call him and make a different date.
    I think he refers to the new water heater, which has to be inspected in the 2 months after the installation. He usually sweeps a chimney but he also checks for carbon monoxide. Thats the reason he was in your flat.
    Normally he just comes once a year.