Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Saga of the Willow Tree

Argh! This is me pulling my hair out.

We have a huge upright willow tree in our backyard. We planted it 12 years ago when it was about as big around as my calf. Now, I am well aware I have larger than average calves, but this dang tree is now at least 40 feet high and much, MUCH bigger around than I am. It’s outer limbs are also crashing into our house and two of our neighbors' houses.

In short, it has outgrown its available space.

So, being the responsible homeowner I am, I contacted a tree service to come and look at the tree, tell me what was needed and how much it might cost me.

My primary concern is for the health of the tree and the surrounding houses. It truly has sprawled this year and no longer looks like a healthy tree.

A guy from a tree service showed up during the last week of August. Allan was very pleasant and had the most charming Scottish accent. He told me the tree needed drastically cut back and reshaped. His company would bring a truck in and take care of it, clean up the mess and systemic the tree for a mere $1200. Gulp! After I pulled my jaw up off the ground, I told him I would have to talk to my husband and we would get back to him.

I thought about it afterward and wondered if I had told him we had planted the tree nine years ago would the bill have been $900? Or, God forbid, what if we had planted it 24 years ago? Yike!

At any rate, after CJE and I talked it over, we just didn’t see an alternative. Something must be done with this tree. The company agreed to take half down and let us make payments for the remainder. They scheduled us for last Friday, September 17. Turns out I had a coupon, so the bill would be only $1150. Whew!

Friday came. About midway through the day I called the guy’s cell phone. Turns out he went on vacation and didn’t share my phone number with anybody else. The man who answered the phone when I called company headquarters said they had an emergency in Connell and couldn’t get here. He had no number to call and let me know. I asked him if he wanted to reschedule. He said he would call me the first of the week.

On Monday I called Allan’s cell phone again. I left him a voice mail saying: “We need to talk.”

I then proceeded to look in the yellow pages for additional tree services in our area. I must tell you I had no idea tree services were such fly-by-night operators. The one who had the most beautiful full-color ad in the yellow pages answered the phone “hello.” When I told him what I wanted he told me it was his son’s business and he would have him call me as soon as he could find him. The only other one took three days to get back to me after I had left two messages on his voicemail.

One of them did finally come and look at the tree. He will do the job for half the price of the first company, but recommends we wait until the tree goes dormant this fall. He says it will be better for the tree that way. I don’t necessarily have a problem with waiting a couple months, and I definitely liked his price a lot better, but this does mean the saga of the willow tree trimming operation will drag on. I wonder what’s next?

Allan did finally returned my call. I told him since they had missed their appointment, I had contacted some other services who were willing to do the job for considerably less. I asked if he was willing to negotiate price and he hung up on me. Ah well, it seems there is very little integrity and no imagination in business today.

1 comment:

Odie Langley said...

Oh Janie, I feel your pain.