Confessions of a carpet fitter
Our fitter meets a customer whose Scottie thinks new carpets are an excellent place to take a pee…
THE boss asked me to go and replace a carpet. It was a nice one, deep Saxony pile in a rich red colour. I didn’t fit the original, but apparently it had got really dirty. I couldn’t believe I was being asked to change a carpet because it was dirty, what customer would complain about that?
I soon found out. It was an elderly couple who seemed to spend all their time sitting down. When I got there, they talked to me from their armchairs and when I told them they’d have to move so I could clear the room and get on they just went into the kitchen and sat at their dining table.
Their dog was a pain: a little Scottie that was probably as old as its owners. It had really short legs that sank into the carpet pile making them look even shorter. It was like the dog was sliding on its belly – but really slowly and doddery. It wouldn’t get out of the way so I had to get them to call it so I could shut it out and get on.
I hate replacement jobs, especially ones like this where the customer hasn’t got everything ready and expects you to do the lot. No wonder the original fitter had gone absent just when he should have been doing this.
The carpet was disgusting. I don’t know how anyone could live with something that dirty. It was sticky, too where the dirt was clinging to it. I shoved the chairs and settee over to one end and moved the other bits and pieces. I lifted the carpet along the end wall and folded it back so I could cut a wide strip off but as I did this, I could see the carpet was soaking wet and from the smell it wasn’t just water.
I called the customers in. ‘What’s this?’ I asked them.
‘No idea, we’ve never spilled anything on it so it must have been like that when it was laid.’
I called the boss. ‘Had it been raining when it was fitted?’ I asked. I couldn’t imagine the fitter had cut the carpet outside on a rainy day and got it soaked, but I suppose it was possible. But the boss didn’t think so.
I rolled up the piece. ‘Where can I put this?’ I said.
‘Oh, put it in the garage, we’ve still got the carpet before this one out there, so just put in on top.’
I went out to the garage and saw the old carpet. It had been rolled up in one piece, pile in. The backing was water-stained. I peeled back the edge and the pile was as dirty as the one I was lifting.
I went back into the house and spoke to the customers. ‘How come the old carpet got wet and dirty?’
‘Oh, that was a faulty carpet, we got our money back and came to your company because we didn’t want the same thing to happen,’ they said.
‘Have you shampooed your carpets, or had them shampooed?’ I said.
Just at that moment the Scottie re-appeared and started to sniff around. He sniffed the end of the new cut that was lying in the hallway, then sniffed the pile of the open end that had flopped onto the floor. He shuffled across it, his feet sinking into the new pile and his belly scraping along the top. A dark-coloured trail appeared behind him. He had peed on the new carpet!
‘Look, there’s your problem!’ I said.
‘No, it can’t be!’
I took the customers into the lounge and lifted the carpet along the edge I had cut. ‘Look how wet it is! That’s your dog, it smells and it’s sticky so that’s why the dirt is sticking to the carpet!’
‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ said the customers. ‘He’s only a very small dog, he couldn’t possibly cause that much wetness!’
The boss was round in 10 minutes. By this time I’d washed my hands and tools and I’d refused to do any more with the carpet. I showed the boss the carpet in the lounge, the dog’s pee in the hall and the pieces in the garage. ‘Talk about taking the piss!’ I said and went to sit in the van.
The boss came back out a few minutes later. ‘Let’s go,’ he said. ‘They’re now refusing to have the new carpet laid because you let the dog wee on it and they want all the carpet and underlay replaced. I’m not doing that, so we’re off!’
We heard later that they went to Trading Standards to complain and the officer called the shop and spoke to the boss. Apparently, they went out to have a look and the dog did it again right in front of them, so they rang us back to say they were closing the case. I should think so too!