Plumbers are powerful. And they know it. When you need a hairdresser you don’t really need a hairdresser. But when you need a plumber you’re probably wading through raw sewage or dealing with no heating in January. Which means that, when you need a plumber, you actually need a plumber.
It’s all so cynical. Unless you have the number of a really excellent bloke (ever met a lady plumber?) on your books (The Midult will produce a Top Plumbers Directory in the fullness of time…) then you are at the mercy of those vast emergency companies and they are bad news. They give you a two hour window and, as you shiver and panic, you call and call and call. ‘There in five minutes, Madam’ they say as the hours roll past. Remind you of times gone by?
Charging – extortionate – hourly rates their plumbers tend to lurk along with the proverbial bad smell, humming and ha-ing, until the clock ticks into the second or third hour. And completely bog standard parts? On a Sunday night? Cue teeth-sucking and head-shaking and a return visit the following day and then a leisurely (but on the clock) trip to a supplier and then a realisation of misdiagnosis and then you give up and find a friendly local plumber because it’s no longer Sunday night but you’re already in hock to the big, behemoth plumber bastards for six hundred quid.
Gyms make money from members who never show up. These plumbing agencies make money from never fixing, never helping, playing on vulnerability and generally being merciless. I’d rather hang out with the bloke who used to deliver drugs to my flat in a Renault Clio. Yes, you had to nag him, but at least you got what you paid for. Give or take a bit of rat poison.