Where Are The Bright Sparks?

Marcus Foot By Marcus Foot, 1st Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

A short essay on the perils of using amateur contractors

Where Are The Bright Sparks?

I have searched for them in vain, but they are not here.

We had new lamps fitted either side of the entrance to the bar which we needed for our customers’ safety, since the street had no street-lamps. There was one small problem with them however, they worked off the same switch as the lights along the wall inside the building so we couldn’t have them on during our “Lamplight Karaoke” evenings. An easy problem to fix if you fit a new double light switch. Or so I thought.

I could have fitted the switch myself, but when a local electrician came in looking for some work and when said he "knew" about electrics, I thought I'd let him have the job. We agreed a price and he returned the next day to do the job.

On the day we had to go out for a couple of hours, but our waitress was there so we showed her how to switch the power on and off, told her what he was doing and how much to pay him when he was finished. I know, we're optimists, we were expecting the job to take only two hours!

Twenty minutes later we had a phone call from our waitress. He wanted to treble the price of the job because it turned out to be three times more work than expected. A few expletives later she knew we'd sort the problem out when we returned.

Upon our return there was no power on in the bar and he was still "working" on the lights. There were new cables running to the lights, which of course we'd paid for, and signs of feverish activity spread all over the floor. I turned the power on. He flicked the light switch, the power tripped out.

“Oh great,” I thought, “we've got Dumbass Edison here!”

He proceeded to re-wire the switch then triumphantly throw the switch. The power stayed on, but every light in the bar went on and off with the one switch. And so it went on for a further hour, there was a "fix", followed by no power or some novel combination of illumination and/or pyrotechnics.

By now my patience had worn a tad thin, so I told him to put it back the way it was before he started working, and I WASN'T paying him extra for his ignorance! There then followed a long, involved explanation in Spanish as to why he needed to run a second mains cable to the switch, how the lights needed grounding with a separate cable and all manner of gobbledegook which spewed forth from his mouth. It appeared he thought the longer he kept speaking, the greater his chances were of convincing me he was an expert. What he didn't realise was that I'd discussed the job with an American electrician and he'd told me it was a simple 2-wire job that shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.

As I write this a professional electrician is fixing the lights ...


Amateur, Electrician, Humor, Humorous, Non-Fiction, True Story

Meet the author

author avatar Marcus Foot
Expat party host & part-time author living in the Caribbean.
I publish my short stories & other fiction at smashwords.com & why not visit my website debtfreeliving.siterubix.com

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
16th Jul 2012 (#)

Nicely written article. Thank you for sharing.

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