Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)
TITLE: Too Good to be True
By Karen Treharne
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“Hi. My name is Fred, Remington Roofing and Siding.” The man pointed to the pickup out front. “I’m working with my crew in your neighborhood, and I just wanted to offer you a free inspection. How old is your home?”
“Oh, the house is about 20 years old, but I’m pretty sure everything is okay, we’ve never had a leak or lost any shingles. But thanks for stopping.” He started to close the door.
“I understand, but what do you have to lose? It’s free, and your house IS pretty old.” He smiled and winked. “It’ll only take a few minutes.”
Randy hesitated. “Oh, all right. I guess it can’t hurt.”
Later, Fred explained to Randy that he needed to have his roof replaced as there were several loose shingles that could cause leaks come winter. “Since we’re already working in the area, I can buy my materials in bulk and pass the savings on to you. Here’s my quote. See what you think.” He handed Randy a piece of paper.
“Wow. That IS a good price. When can you start and how long will it take?”
“We can start next week and we’ll be finished in two days. We pride ourselves on our speed. All I need from you is a deposit to cover the cost of my supplies.”
Randy agreed and the men shook hands.
The next day, after church, Randy was telling a friend about the good deal. “It was really a blessing that this guy came along when he did. I had no idea my roof needed repair. The best part, though, is that it’s not going to cost me an arm and a leg.”
“It almost sounds too good to be true. You know what I mean? Did you check out his references? Get a copy of his license? Did you get other estimates?”
“Well, no. He said he was working in my neighborhood, so I just thought …”
“I’m sure he’s legit, but you can’t be too careful. Why don’t you at least give the Better Business Bureau a call and see if there’ve been any complaints about his work? It can’t hurt. Especially if he’s NOT on the up-and-up.”
Randy took his friend’s advice, and phoned the Bureau on Monday. He was relieved to hear that no complaints had ever been filed against Remington. “Thank you God.” he prayed.
Wednesday morning, Fred and two other men were in the driveway when Randy came out the front door for work. “I’m glad I caught you before your left.” the contractor said. “I need you to write me another check.”
Bells momentarily went off in Randy’s head but he was in a hurry and Fred’s men were already unloading the truck, so he gave the contractor an additional deposit. Fred shot him another smile and winked as he stuffed the check into his shirt pocket and turned away.
Later that day, Randy answered the phone at his desk. “Hi, Randy, it’s Jack, your neighbor across the street. I just thought you’d like to know that those men who were going to replace your roof left about a half hour after you did this morning, and they haven’t come back.”
Randy swallowed hard. “Don’t let this mean what I think it means, Lord.” He’d had an uneasy feeling all morning and now he felt sick to his stomach.
“Thanks Jack. I’ll look into it and let you know what’s going on.” He hung up and knew in his heart that he had been swindled. He also knew he had no one to blame but himself. Placing his hands over his face, he leaned forward, elbows on his desk, and prayed.
When Randy arrived home, he climbed the ladder and saw where several shingles had been pulled off and strewn around the rooftop. Now he really DID need his roof replaced. He realized that he didn’t even have a phone number, let alone a contract, so he had no way to call this Fred person to complain. All he had was the name of the company which was probably fake. He had no hope of recourse from Remington or whoever he was. And now, he had to find someone to repair the REAL damage to his roof. And it was going to cost him more money!
He was pretty sure that nothing could repair the damage to his ego.
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