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Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Hole Lot Of Trouble

A Hole Lot Of Trouble

My son won a few dollars with a third place finish in an entry to the TV show “America’s Funniest Home Video.”  He used the money to splurge on a fancy basketball hoop for his kids…and, mostly for himself.  He got the best heavy duty adjustable backboard set he could find.

This backboard of thick heavy glass attaches to a large steel post which needs to be bolted to a slab of concrete in a four foot hole 21 inches square.  The lad did not want to waste a full Saturday day off from work digging a hole and he wanted to be sure it was done right; so flush with “AFV” prize money he contracted with a local company that specializes in just such basketball pole installation.

They came and in one half day dug the hole, filled it with concrete and prepared it for pole attachment.  Labor done, money well spent.


When Matt calculated the amount of dirt they left from digging the hole he realized the hole was not dug deep enough and wide enough.  It turns out they dug to the specifications of lighter basket installation.

He called and questioned the contractor on the hole.

“Oh it will be fine; those specs are always over the top.  That hole is fine, and that pole won’t budge come hell or high water.”

My son said, “That’s just great, but I did contract for the larger hole that the directions specified.”

“That pole ain’t goin no wheres, I guarantee it!”

“That’s great, as long as you guarantee it.”

“I do.”

“Could you just put that in writing?”

“You don’t trust me?”

“Well, I have known you for twenty minutes, but I would like it in writing.  You know, just in case it topples over and crushes a car, or a kid.”

“I’ll have to check with the office.”

Today, two weeks later, they came back to dig out the concrete and dig a new larger, up to specifications hole.  My son was expecting it to be done on this Wednesday so he could erect the pole and backboard on the weekend when he could gather several neighbors to help.  The backboard is very heavy and very cumbersome.

As it was Grandpa Joe Wednesday, I was at his home to supervise.

They dug out the old hole and started a new hole (my son asked for a slightly different location.)  They got down about two feet of the required four feet and then filled the hole with water.

“We’ll be back on Saturday.  The dirt is too dry and hard to dig; the water will soften it up.”

So now the basket cannot be put up for another nine days when there will be available help.

Not surprisingly, my son is a bit miffed. 

I must admit I’d never heard of people who dig holes for a living taking multiple days to dig a four foot hole regardless of how dry the dirt is.  I installed sprinkler systems for three summers when I was home from college.  Ninety percent of the job was digging holes.  We ran into rocks, and sometimes had to tunnel under walks.  We never found a hole we couldn’t dig.

Matt thinks these guys are screwing with him in retaliation for his complaining about their specifications error. 

I’m inclined to agree.

It’s a hole.  It really is not that hard for people whose job it is to dig a hole, to dig a hole!


  1. Well at least he got them to replace the original wrong depth hole.

  2. Damn, I meant to say the original half-a-hole.

  3. Workmen aren't what they used to be, it seems.

  4. Say what you want about "foreign born" workers, but I promise you they can work rings around just about anyone else. I was in Michigan once visiting my daughter and had an opportunity to watch a full city street repair crew. They screwed off an entire morning, getting less done than than 2 laborers would here in half the time. It was obvious they didn't want to work. That sounds like your hole digging crew. It's a sign of our times. *sigh*

  5. I agree with you. My husband and I once dug enough four foot holes (and set all the uprights in place) along close to two hundred feet of fence line--in a weekend.

  6. I think its cool your son's video won 3rd place. I hope eventually the hole is dug right and they get to enjoy the basketball hoop!


  7. Yep, they are pissed at him and are going to make it take as long as it possible can take. They should have done the job right in the first place. Next the city will come out and say he can't have the hoop there. I've seen that happen too, but I live in California. Weirdness is essential here.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  8. sounds like they were shirking all the way around.

  9. That story reminds me of my grandparents.
    They told me if I didn't pay attention and get good grades in school, I'd grow up to be a ditch digger.
    The implication was ditch diggers are ignorant @$$holes.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Whoops! Don't know how that happened.

    2. It's a good thing he can calculate the size of the hole based on the amount of dirt, i wouldn't have known the difference. Then, if it crashed, i'd have been on the hook!

      As for them taking as long as possible to do it, that is just in line with doing it wrong in the first place. No pride in their work.
      Posted by messymimi to Cranky old man at May 28, 2015 at 10:25 AM

  11. Think he is being snookered and hope he gets satisfaction eventually. Be firm. Hey, how about a link to his winning video. I watch that show all the time.

  12. Everyone goes to college around here. Nobody even knows how to dig a hole.

  13. Sounds like what my husband refers to as a "government job." Taking way too long and still not doing it right.

  14. That's just wrong from start to finish. Grrr.

    Congrats to your son on the video win! I'm with Patti - might we be able to see the video? I used to watch a lot with my kids, haven't done so in years now.

  15. That's a nice neighborhood hoop and court! And I once had a contractor repairing a drainage like dig a 6 deep 12 long pit in my yard, then leave for a week.


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