Thursday, September 10, 2009

Concrete and Sidewalk Two Step

You may recall that I had part of my sidewalk and my driveway replaced because I was told to do so or be ratted out to the city for code violations. Plus we had our patio expanded a bit. Expenses that I would rather not have had, but there you go.

So I got this letter from neighborhood association -- same one that would have ratted me out to the city -- saying that "due to recent events," any of us in the hood who chose the construction company they recommended as the concrete guy should now work directly with the owner of the company.

There are some other whys and wheretofors, but unless I miss my guess, the guy who did the job at my house is no longer employed by the company, and they are looking to head him off at the pass.

Could be he just quit. Or that there were some financial irregularities -- I made my checks out to him personally, and not the company -- had to change one, in fact, because I had written it to the company. Takes a week to cash it that way, he told me, and he needed the money for the cement truck.

No problem. I wrote another check.

I have no complaints. The man did excellent work at a reasonable price, but it does make one wonder what the rest of the story is ...


Bobbe Edmonds said...

The rest of the story is as follows:Your neighborhood assoc - They of the pushy architectural demands and high handed aesthetic preferences - have palms that need to be greased. Said grease comes from guy who gets money for work, namely Mr. Reasonable Concrete Man. Mr. Reasonable Concrete Man is doing an end-run on those who recommended him to the job and would like a bit of the monetary lubricant by getting the checks made out to himself personally, which is identical to getting the checks made out to "Cash". Non traceable, easy to shuffle if necessary, can be produced or denied as needed. Also, as he said, quicker to cash at the bank.

Somebody got wise, or just decided to go with a different, less expensive guy, in this economy it's a crap-shoot. Either way, Mr. Reasonable Concrete Man saw the writing on the wall and re-routed the cashflow to the mothership directly. Smart move on his part, if he's as good as you say, he won't be out of work for long.

In white collar crime this is known as the "Paycheck-Plus" program.

You get your paycheck...Plus some. Puts the occasional steak on the table.

It breaks down like this: "Don't put me on fries. How am I going to make any money if I'm not on the register?"

J.D. Ray said...

More likely, the guy doesn't own the truck. Rather than get paid $20 per hour or whatever by his boss, he gets Mr. Customer to write the check directly to him, and explains away the loss of a little Portland cement and gravel as "spillage" to the company, who sure would like to get a little return on their investment in $70K worth of vehicle.

Call me a cynic, but as an employer, I've seen the seedier side of the hourly wage worker.