Saturday, 10 July 2010

Mick The (Irish) Plumber touts for business.

There are some wonderful things about the recession, I have to say. Look at all the lawyers and estate agents scrambling around looking for work, for instance. And builders. And sparkies. And plumbers.

Now, some of us who interacted with any of the aforementioned groups during the “boom” years will, no doubt, have unhappy recollections of our dealings with them. The words barrel and over come to mind, as they made copious hay during what they imagined was the eternal summer of the good times  - for them.

How things have changed. Now you have ads on the radio for solicitors seeking to advise on how best to scratch your arse. You have estate agents viewing the inside of the social welfare office (needs some work). You have builders, sparkies and plumbers taking out small ads in the papers and putting notices up in the local supermarket. It’s great.

One unsavoury aspect, though, of the sudden competition for jobs is the thinly-disguised racism that is becoming ever more evident. Whether it is a taxi with a TACSAI sign on the top and a tricolor with Eire stuck on the back, or a builder or plumber proudly proclaiming their Irishness in a bid to win business from the more backward sections of the indigenous population who are quick to forget how much they’ve been ripped off by “their own” in the past.

I was out in Tescos Maynooth earlier and happened to notice an ad on the board bearing the legend IRISH PLUMBER AVAILABLE, as though it was some kind of recommendation. It bloody well isn’t, in my experience.

Funniest thing though – and making the heading somewhat gratuitous in my view - the ad finished off with the words “contact Mick on XXX XXXX”.

No thanks Mick. Think I’ll shop around, if you don’t mind.

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Ella said...

Hi GM, I don't delight in people being out of work, as it means that those of us still lucky enough to be in employment have more social welfare payments to fund and usually in the form of higher taxes. However, I do delight in the above professions being brought down to size.

My humble abode is old and well not very modern. So in 2006 in a bid to bring it into the 21st century I got a quote to put in a downstairs toilet. Said job was to be a jaw dropping EUR 22,000. I thought no f..king way and got the toilet installed with sink, etc. for EUR 6,500 last November. Well worth the wait.

Davy said...

We were just talking about this in work during the week. Is there a Dunnes advert on rte radio with the line 'Why choose us?....because we're Oirish!' wha? not good in my opinion. I think i'll judge on quality,service and price thanks, don't giv a toss where ye come from.

Anonymous said...

My God, do you ever post anything positive on this blog? I agree with a lot of what you say but it's very easy to be the hurler on the ditch. Come on something constructive would be good too

anna said...

well a famous supermodel ( possibly Linda Evangelista) ws once quoted in the 90's as "'Í wouldnt get out of bed for less than 1000 "' or was it 10,000.
the famous Irish Super JOiner quote of the late90's/earl noughties was 'I wouldnt get my tools out of the boot foe less than on hundred pounds"' yes even as far back as the days when we still had pounds, so 1000 still meant someething

anna said...

sorry i meant that to be 100 pounds- in the days when100 pounds still meant some thing,
by the the above comment.....i understand what you mean about negativity .....but by definition a site called Gombeennation is set up to Bury the gombeens ...not to praise them....and highlighting the Negative things that happen in this country and asking for change IS postitive:pretending everthing is great is NOT...and only leads to festering problems underneath ...which later explode....
I like the site because it highlights the issues in a funny way.
look around...other mature countries DOn't shirk form facing their problems...but the differnce with this country is it does...and that's why I complain when i can , because i like to think i am helping change:
If you LOVE your country, you'll complain: loudly.bitterly.often

Anonymous said...

gday MR GM that rump looks familiar by chance would it be BIFFO the toilet teashuck last seen displayed in the national gallery now in disguise as mr bendover da toilet fixer

Bernd said...

It indeed is amazing, how much the scene has changed - a few years ago I was calling around for a sparky to do an easy-enough job (just a screwdriver, knowledge and about five minutes required, as I later found out) and even with a call-out rate of € 50 none could be bothered. Not even one living a mere kilometer away. I got a DIY-book from the library, read up thoroughly while waitinmg for the promised call-backs and finally did the job myself. Took me ten minutes, I admit.

Now compare this to last autumn, when we had some jobs to do for skilled persons of various trades around the house. Having set aside the budget and a convenient timeslot ... neighbours thought we were going into the used-van-business, as various tradesmen came calling at all entrances soon enough, keen for a job. And yes, driving a hard bargain was never a softer option for the customer too ...

Anonymous said...

@Anna 01:43 well said! @Anoymous 01:21 we all like positivity, its grand, it fills my day with contentment, but burying your head and pretending we live in pardise wont help. If you want to help your country then complain. Top of the morning to you!

GM at the height of the celtic tiger I heard of electricians on over 2 grand a week, net (some of them were on much, much, more if they got a big contract). Plumbers weren't far behind (so to speak). Its funny only 4 or 5 years ago this class of workers were seeing themselves as a new aristocracy. Yeah funny old world.

I dont wish to denigrate all those in the building industry but how did you think it was going to last forever? The last housing boom 50 miles away, only 20 or so years ago, was the object lesson.


anna said...

which housing boom was tha please dakota?

Anonymous said...

hi GM if imay go off topic just because i am so excited and ecstatic the biffo is now going to make OIRLAND the innovation capital of europe and all for just 5000000e but what will happen to our favourite native gombeen chancer when this comes into effect iam worried our traditional way of life will be gone for ever ihope biffo has a change of heart

Anonymous said...

@Anna 00:39 the UK....


Anonymous said...

dakota i think u and ur gombeen fans while sneering at unemployed construction workers are making the usual mistake.people who earned the type of money ur speaking of were flyby nite subcontractors who worshipped mary harny and her an electrician whos been out of work 2 years.i never earned more than the basic union rate all through the boom.even at the height of the boom my best year was 2006 when i earned about 43000 gross and then my week was about 60 hours.but hey feel free to sneer.bye the way im 52 and have 10 years left on my mortgage but probabley never work in my trade again as the recovery will take years.

The Gombeen Man said...

I'm sorry to hear of your situation, Anon 20:09. You can be assured that no-one on the blog is sneering at you.

In fact, I wish I had your number when I had the pleasure of a spark coming round here some years ago (a qualified one, supposedly), charging the brain surgeon money for doing substandard work - and a busy one at that. A cable installed right behind a door hinge bracket, for example.

I can say the same for builders I had, and a plumber. But maybe I - and some of the posters above - were just unlucky?

Certainly, I would hope all the cowboys who took the piss will find it harder to get custom these days, while the better tradesmen will be rewarded.

Dakota said...

@Anon 20:09 With all due respect your anger is misdirected and thats a pity. I understand your frustration. I have experienced unemployment here, so I know exactly what you're going through. You're speaking to the converted,(not, saying I was one)as I'm well aware there was many, trades people on average weekly wages. Thats not disputed in any way. Your wages are not my concern, not my business, in any way. The only reason I used the above example of wage earnings was, that it pointed to the worst vagaries of a particular sector (the building industry), which was, itself, part of an overall culture, which was not only out of control but on a damaging rampage. A rampage which we are ALL paying for. That was my point. Thats all. Now while saying that, its not to say other sectors were not also shy, when it came to jumping on the bandwagon, (great Irish past time) but GM posted a blog article on plummers (possibly alluding to trades people per se?). So hence the reply. (To clarify; I'm not intrinsically interested what the above electrical subcontractors earned 2,000 or 15,000 a week. Good for them whatever they earned but my point still stands).

As I said, I understand your anger and frustration, if you thought I was sneering at you you were wrong. I was just stating facts as I was aware of them, with not too much aplomb I hope.

Also just to further clarify, I don't wish to draw any parallel between any electrician employed or unemployed but as Mr GM has said at 21:46, there was a lot of rogue trades people here (In this particular instance IMO it comes down to conscience for them). Is that disputable? Is that un-PC? I hope not..

Is this scenario in the sector still the case? I don't know, but to be honest with you I'm extremely wary. I had the misfortune to come across more than my fair share of them. Experinece is a good teacher, not to mention having wads of money for the slightest job.

Furthermore I hope you find employment in the near future.

Ella said...

@ Davy, there is a jingle on the radio for Dunnes Stores alright, and it goes summat like this "the difference is we're Irish". I'm guessing they are having a pop at Tescos and other foreign mutliples on our shores. They have been ripping us off for decades and don't like that foreign competition might be getting in on the act too.

@Dakota I (like to) think things have improved and the cowboys are now out of business. I had major hassle getting work done in the house during the boom. The usual thing was take a day off work, arrange for about 6 builders to come to qive a quote, that way if I was lucky 1 or 2 might bother to show up, then the inflated price they wanted and for very substandard work, (I only got work done that was absolutely necessary), most of which I had to have fixed/redone again last year! Last Nov/Dec I got a lot of work done in the house, had no problems with trades people showing up to give me a quote and I was able to pick and choose. A real difference to 2006. The customer is king (well in my case queen) nowadays. The tradespeople I used last year were all competent, competitive and honest. Quite a contrast to the boom time cowboys from the "celtic tiger" days. Long may that last.

anna said...

Dear unemployed electrician, sorry to hear of your plight. This plumber in the ad may be V good, but maybe GM thinks he did himself a disservice by thinking the only qualification needed was’ Irish’- Regrettably there are so many chancers and racists out there that that ad even to me, wouldn’t be recommendation enough: I’d be impressed by ’Plumber 15-20 yrs exp, domestic/ industry. Worked in Ireland / and aboard- contact Mick ( or Pavel) : I think unfortunately patriotism here is too often the refuge of a scoundrel.
I Totally agree with you- many people don’t see how lonely and hard a tradesman’s life can be. My uncles( all joiners ) worked all over USA, UK & Ireland: One had to leave his young family often for 6 month stretches of work in Canada while they were here. And you are right - It is nearly Always some fat cat at the top who gives Any industry in Ireland a bad name , sub contractors as you say in this case.
Also young smart alecs- 7 yrs ago I agreed with a young ‘man with a van’ a rate of 100 E to help me move just a few miles across Dun L. He turned up, said ‘It’s more than I thought, that’s another 50’- but it was just 1 van load, 1 journey. But I paid without a murmur. These things appal me- and that I don’t see elsewhere. When I deal with tradesmen in my house in NI and with my car they were always honest and prided themselves on that. When my car conked out in Dec, the garage towed it 8 miles from my house and worked on resuscitation. He phoned and said , no good, he’d; scrap it for me. I said -How much do I owe you? He said - nothing , the scrap value ( 50 pounds ) would cover it..
BUT it is always the richer people who are the REAL scumbags in every industry here: I bought a car from V Reputable S Dublin garage, they said it had ‘1’ owner- log book later showed several, and they charged plenty for servicing. I now have found a humbler 2 man- Irish- garage, who have done an impressive job on my latest ‘pre-loved’ car( only kind I ever buy). They are specialists in Renault Clios, which I thought might be a rare species OK, it was a few hundred, but as it wasn’t just Nicole’s lamentable Irish language skills that needed grinds, I expected it.
I hope your job hunting goes well- I always found that the hard bit- letting the world know you exist
Have you tried Gumtree/, supermarket ads? There must be loads of people who need your expertise if you advertise widely enough , best of luck.. Anna

Anonymous said...

anna thanks for show some understanding of the plight geniune working people face.Dakota my anger was not missdirected i was objecting to the quotes above which were taking delight in the problems facing working people and lumping eyeryone of them in with mary harneys lovechildren ie soliceters,building subcontractors and other scumbags.bye the way i was one of the people who worked in london in the 80s while my wife and 3 small kids stayed here in dublin.i thought those days were behind behind us but now im going back to london this month to take up a job but at least my wife will probably come to as our kids are grown up.I say all this just to point out that i know the score and i know who is responsible for the state our country is in.just thought it a bit sad that a website i would have thought a bit left wing would be sneering at working class people.anyway take it easy.

Dakota said...

Anonymous@13:38 I wish you well (and thats genuine, I really do). But, with all due respect, I dont think you really got what I was saying, at all. Again thats a pity. You and your fellow workers who earned average weekly wages are not in the same bracket as subcontractors etc. (Obiously). Okay? I think thats important. Now on the issue of shoddy working practices among "some" in the building industry, I think thats a separate issue all together.

Really I don't think you could deny that there was firstly, the aforementioned shoddy practices and secondly, that you, as, a dedicated worker, could not say your industry is better with such individuals not causing mayhem?

I don't think anyone here is against your industry per se and nobody gets any pleasure out of someone losing their job! Some here did mention that the downturn has a couple of very obvious benefits as; (1) its easier - and cheaper - to get a trades person and (2) theres not as many rouge trades people around. Thats it essentially.

Just to say you seem to be surprised that emigration has come back to these shores. Unfortunately thats something I really dont understand. Even at the height of the celtic tiger I was never convinced. A very telling and very obvious symptom of a disfunctional economy is one where you pay top money for a house or apartment in the middle of nowhere, with not even the bare public infrastrucre to accomodate it. Speaking of infrastructure not being able to get around the capital city with relative ease, after 15 years of economic expansion is also enough to set off major alarm bells - to anyone who wanted to see it (of course not alluding to you specifically in any way). At a very basic level, there is no effective public transport in the capital city (STILL) so any growth at the moment - or since 1994!- will be as shakey as the last.

The Gombeen Man said...

Dakota said: "Really I don't think you could deny that there was firstly, the aforementioned shoddy practices and secondly, that you, as, a dedicated worker, could not say your industry is better with such individuals not causing mayhem?"


Danny said...

You tell that oike where to go, well done. That's the working class for you.

Honestly your own prejudices and patronizing attitude are as repellent to the working class and many others as the pronouncements of a PD blog. Is it any wonder that the left in Ireland is so weak, when there are people like you on the wagon as well.

The Gombeen Man said...

What gives you the authority to speak on behalf of the whole "working class".

IMO, and that's all it is, the thing that puts many working people off the "the left" in Ireland is "the left", with their heads up their collective doctrinaire student arses. Them and nationalists dressing up their patriotism as left-wing radicalism.

I'm not sure if your "there's the working class for you" is directed at the blog, or at the race-card playing plumber.

If the former, working class people - and I am one - have every right to be indignant about being ripped off by piss-taking tradesmen/professionals (I include lawyers, if you read the post).

If the latter, are you implying all working class people are racist, and that Mick the Plumber should be tolerated?

I don't think he should.

sprk electrical said...

As a electrical contracting company , firstly i agree with some of your points of the celtic boom.Prices were over inflated, shoddy work, cheap materials etc but to blame the man at the top is not always right.All of us were glad to take our union rates which even today i am still legally obliged to pay(25.00 per hour+perks) every body wanted work done now not tomorrow,and if you priced to cheap people had the attitude that something must be wrong.
sadly we are now in the opposite end where people expect work for nothing, the price is never cheap enough , always somebody cheaper.
cheaper isnt always best there are people pricing jobs for less than you can buy materials never mind labour.this whole country is stuck in a backwords attitude and its only when something goes wrong that we shout and argue ie, when work is underpriced ,rushed and fails. finally as for the comment of(just a screwdriver, knowledge and about five minutes required),its ten years of experience, four years of training,diesel tax insurance to get there, phone bills to take your call, industry certs(ecssa), public liability,employers liability,advertising, and still have to buy screwdriver.
For the record we never charged excessivly, tried to meet our customers needs, and worked as fair as possible while working within the boundries set by the unions and state along with paying all contributions and dues