My hubby has been ridiculously busy, because his work has been taking ridiculous advantage of him and he’s had to put in some really long hours. Which means our grass? Not a top priority.
There’s not a lot I can do to help with his work. I want to help him feel less stressed, but I can’t go in and work a few hours for him. So I looked for and hired someone to mow our lawn. (When it passed knee-high I figured it was time. Nope, not kidding.)
We found a kid on Craigslist who advertised yard work at $12/hour. Great! Our lawn is small, we can have him come over every couple weeks and use our mower to mow! I wrote him and told him our yard was small, would probably just be an hour every couple weeks, did he want to do that? He said yes, so we set up a time.
Had him come over…mower wouldn’t start. He was hard working, seemed really nice, did a lot of great prep, but we just couldn’t get the mower working. We sent him home and tried to fix it. Thing is dead. Deady deady dead dead. And it’s a cheap old mower, not worth fixing.
We have guys who most our front yard as part of the HOA. So we figured we’d just have them do our back, too. They charge $15 and bring all their own equipment. Totally doable. Actually, quite good. We’d like to support the hard-working kid, but it’s not worth buying a mower so he can come do it.
This all went down a week and a half ago. Yesterday I wrote him and asked if he’d be willing to come weed our ditch. He said sure, but he was establishing a $22.50 minimum charge. I said OK, I could keep him busy that long. I asked if he was upset about last time (we ended up paying him $20 because he was around for about 1.5 hours). He answered that most people hired him for 6-8 hours, so it wasn’t worth it walking away with less than $20 after bus fare. Our e-mail chain was full of very short, terse replies, and I started feeling guilty for short-changing him last time…even though his Craigslist ad said nothing about minimum times, additional fees for bus fare, and I had warned him we just wanted him to come out and work to mow our small yard.
Then he asked if my husband had fixed our mower. I said no, so we’d probably just have to have the HOA people do it since they could bring a mower. But we’ll keep your name for bigger jobs and recommend you highly to anyone looking for yard work!
I got back a terse reply. So this is the last time I’ll be out?
I said probably, or possibly for other periodic jobs, but not the regular mowing. He seemed pissed. I asked if he was still willing to come out to weed. He said he’d see me at the time we agreed upon.
I have spent all the time since then battling the guilt trying to overwhelm me, because clearly this kid is pissed and feels shortchanged.
But I am angry that I feel guilty, because I dont’ think I actually did anything wrong!
I wanted to say, “Rewrite your Craigslist ad. Say it is $12/hour + $5 transportation fee, with the fee waived for jobs over 4 hours. Or say there is a 2 hour minimum.” Or something! But don’t get mad at me! I’m just going off what your Craigslist ad said, I gave you all the information before you showed up, I told you it was a small job, why are you pissed you’re walking away with so little??
And also, when you tell me you are basically doubling your fee to mow my yard, why are you affronted and pissed when I tell you we aren’t going to hire you anymore? Granted, that isn’t why we aren’t having you over to mow the yard, but even if we could have you that would make us reconsider. That’s a big change! And while it’s reasonable…this is why I tried to make things clear via e-mail.
So I’m now sitting inside. Feeling the judgemental, sullen rays coming off of the disgruntled teenager weeding my ditch.