Wednesday, December 18, 2013

the day my life turned into a law school hypothetical

Yesterday was a joke. A joke, I tell you. It was the day that I learned that all those hypotheticals that we discuss in law school aren't as farfetched as they seem.

Around 3:00 yesterday afternoon, I got a call from my husband. He says to me, "I just got an email from those shady tree guys, and they've cut down the spruce!" On its face, this comment doesn't scream that there's something amiss, so I'll back up.

C and I have been discussing having a couple of trees cut down for awhile now. There's a big dead one out by the road, and it's only a matter of time before it falls onto the busy road that we live on and kills someone. There's also a giant spruce tree that's no more than 2 feet from the house. It causes issues with drainage in the front yard and it also is one thunderstorm away from falling over and crushing the entirety of our house. We both know that they both have to go, but having trees cut down is expensive and not sexy. So we procrastinated.

For whatever reason, C called a reputable tree service here in town on Monday and got a quote for the removal of the two trees. Then, as he was working from home on Monday afternoon, a couple of guys came by to put a flyer on the door about snow and tree removal. He asked the guy with the flyer how much it would cost to remove the trees. The guy tells him that it would be $900. At this point, the driver of the truck sees the two of them talking and gets out of the car. C asks him the same question, and he quotes him $1100. Clearly, Frick and Frack were part of a top-notch operation. C told them to get a quote together and to email him.

Later that night, C gets an email from Frack saying "We can do it for $900 tomorrow." C responds with "Thanks for the quote. I need to see proof of your insurance and bonding before we decide anything." C had already decided to use these guys' quote to negotiate with the reputable company, but whatever. No harm, no foul.

That leads us back to the phone call. Apparently "Thanks for the quote" means "Yes, please cut down my trees and I will happily pay you to do so." Ummmm.... NOT. Anyway, as C was telling me all this, all I could think of is the hypothetical they use in contracts class about whether or not you're obligated to pay a person who mows your grass if you didn't ask them to mow your grass. It took me a hot minute to remember the end to that hypothetical, but when I did, I got C back on the phone tout suite.

I was going to say "Tell them to stop right now, and we're not paying them!" But apparently he had already called and told them to finish and get the fuck off our property. When we talked about it later, he said that he was worried that if we didn't pay, they'd break into our house or something. I must admit, it was not a completely unfounded concern.

So when I got home yesterday, my front yard had two fewer trees in it (Yes, it's fewer, not less. Get it right.). They didn't end up leaving until like 7:00, long after the sun had gone down. I was definitely glad to see them go. So kids, today's life lesson: do not engage in conversations with people who hand out flyers. You might just be out $900 and two trees.

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