Monday, September 05, 2005

Of Carpets, Cats, and a Trip to the Lake

The carpet cleaning people were supposed to show up sometime between noon and 5 pm today. Instead they called at 8 am to let us know the cleaners would be arriving at 9 am. In fact they arrived at 8:30 am. I was in the midst of my morning constitutional when the doorbell rang. Aargh!

The carpet man looked around and said in his most serious tone, "This carpet is too soiled and stained. The $70 package you are scheduled for won't do anything to get it clean. You'll have to get the $149 deep-cleaning to get this clean."

Double-aargh! I knew then that we had stumbled onto some shady operators. They advertise a cheap package just to get in the door. I was betting that they had probably already been given the heave ho by those customers who had been scheduled ahead of us. Still, our carpets were in desperately in need of cleaning given the accumulated depredations of all 5 M's.

I let him twist in the wind for a few minutes, "I'll have to speak to my wife about this first."

He looked a bit dejected as he went back out to his van to wait with his partner.

When I explained the situation to Cheryl she fumed, "I ASKED them on the phone if there were any other packages they might offer me when they got here. They said, 'Oh, no. None. This will take care of everything!' Yeah, right!"

We decided that the carpets needed to be done anyhow, and let them know to go ahead.

They started to bring their equipment in and we hustled the kids out of their rooms and into the back yard. Cheryl brought out some cheese sandwiches and cantaloup for breakfast, and we watched them first vacuum, then spray detergent, then use the steam cleaner on our very grubby floors. It took them about 90 minutes all told, and when they were done, Cheryl and I took a quick look around. Our carpets were once again an even cream colour, instead of the bilious, leprous appearance they had beforehand.

We paid the carpet cleaners (but not before Cheryl said within earshot of the carpetmen, "We're never using these guys again!") and they sped off in a cloud of dust without so much as a by your leave. No doubt Cheryl's comment was part of the reason for that, but I suspect they were either used to: (a) being pelted with rocks on their way out, or (b) being given rubber cheques and were going to look for a bank to cash their payment before it bounced. (Not that we would do that to them of course.)

We decided to escape the drying carpets by driving out to Alouette Lake for one last outdoor adventure for the summer.

On our way out of our neighbourhood, we saw a black cat by the side of the road.

Cheryl - "Hey kids, it's that cat again. The one that looks like Hugh!"

Me - "I hear tuxedos are all the rage now with cats."

Michael (in his most confident, self-assured voice) - "I know what a tuxedo is."

Me - "Oh really?"

Michael - "It's a black and white cat!"

Melissa (who has been to enough weddings now to know what a tuxedo is) - "No Michael!"

At the lake - Megan chases her siblings and momma out into the lake."
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl

The kids got soaked. Their mother got even more soaked. Fun was had by all.

See the photos here.


Mama Bird said...

I've been watching for the updated version of the carpet and lake story...and it was worth the wait. You had me literally LOL. :-)

In the US it is illegal to use "bait and switch" tactics:

You might do well to find out if that is also the case in Canada.

It appears so--here's a site that will give you a starting place for filing your complaints:

Cheryl said...

Weellll - having taken business law - I hassled them a LOT about EXACLY what the differences were between the 2 cleaning procedures. It did boil down to one being just a basic shampoo and then other including enzyme cleaners and spot treatments. The price we paid ended up being the same as we paid to have Sears carpet cleaning clean the carpets in the apt we lived in when Michael was born. So it wasn't way out there. I was extremely skeptical of the low price on the ad which is why I ASKED. They did NOT speak English very well. What we did do while we were out is buy a Bissell "Little Green Machine" carpet cleaner and some solution. It's portable can be used in our van as well! Total cost of THAT plus solution - about $100 including taxes. So I"m hoping with using that "on the spot" we'll be able to delay having a full carpet cleaning for a very, very long time!

Cheryl said...

Bottom line - It only would have been illegal if they didn't OFFER the advertised package or refused to do it if I had insisted on it.

Gail said...

We have a Bissell carpet shampooer here because of Hugh's incontinence and vomiting in his advancing kitty years, although I don't know if it's the same one you got. It's not as good as industrial machines, but it really does help. The only thing is the shampoo itself is rather costly, David says, so it depends on how much of that stuff you end up using.