Talkin' Shop

Tourists: The jobsite wild card

Contributed by Joseph C.

There are plenty of extreme conditions at the beach. Sun, wind, water and sand are just some of the elements that must be endured at the ocean. For one plumber in the vacation hot-spot of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, the most extreme beach condition by far was working around tourists on service calls.

“I plumbed all over the Outer Banks for about 5 years, and I loved every day of it. I moved up to Virginia about a year ago, but I often go back to visit. It’s very rewarding to drive by a house and know that the people inside have water because of my work.

When I lived there I did both new construction and some service calls. There’s a lot of service call work down there because of the large number of rental houses in the area. New construction is my favorite, but the service calls were always exciting because I never knew what to expect.

A side effect from doing service calls at rental homes is that I figured out how to program just about any kind of TV. Tourists would check into their rental house and find an issue with a faucet or a toilet, so they’d call me to come fix it. I’d show up and would get “hey, while you’re here, could you help us with our TV?” After a while you’d find the right button and get it to work. The customers would be even happier because not only do they have working plumbing, but now they can watch all their favorite shows.

I also had to cope with tourists who had partied a little too hard on the beach. They’d try to help me by offering to hand me tools or help me lift something, but I’d have to politely turn down the offer. I regularly got calls to replace broken toilet tanks. It would be very clear to me when I got there that the tank was broken because a guest was intoxicated and fell into the toilet.

The lesson I learned from plumbing around vacationers is to be patient with people and be willing to go the extra mile. It’s always good to put in a little extra effort to help people. It’s also a great way to improve your reputation and ensure repeat business.”

Folks submitting stories featured in Talkin’ Shop were sent an incentive gift in exchange for the use of their stories which may have been edited at the discretion of Ferguson.

Joseph C.

Plumber – North Carolina