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BOTD 8/12/17 "The Subcontractor" A DMK Production

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
THE SUBCONTRACTOR
A DMK Production

You have two sons.  Tom is thirteen and Mark is eight.

Tom asked you for some money for a video game he has been wanting.  Instead of just handing him fifty dollars you told Tom he could earn the money by painting the shed in your back yard.  The shed has been needing a fresh coat and you haven't been able to get to it.  Tom has helped you on similar projects and he has the ability to do this. You were going to need to hire this done anyway and so you and Tom strike the deal - he paints the shed and you pay him the fifty dollars.

You needed to go out and purchase the paint and so you went ahead and advanced Tom the money and he purchased his game. Two days later you had the paint and informed Tom he needed to paint the shed. Tom agreed but wandered off with a friend to go bike riding instead. Two more days passed and, even with reminders, Tom seemed to always find something else to do.

Today, Tom still has not fulfilled his side of the bargain and so you tell him the shed is to be painted today under penalty of spanking. Tom gives you his best grunt and eye roll but heads outside to begin work.  Mark follows out after Tom to watch and to play in the back yard. You settle in to work in your home office.

You head out right before lunch to check on the boys and on the progress of the paint job.  Tom is no where to be seen but you do see Mark.


MARK - 8
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You ask Mark what is going on and you get the following story:

Mark was watching Tom paint and it looked fun and he asked to help and so Tom let him help.  Mark says that Tom's friend came by right after that and asked Tom to go riding.  Mark says Tom said he would pay him five dollars to finish painting the shed for him. Mark says he would have done it for free because it is fun.


Tom - 13 (Away with his friend)
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Mark has not done the best of jobs and what one would expect when an eight year-old is left alone with a bucket of paint and a brush has happened.

You send Mark in to get ready for lunch and then Tom rolls up in the yard.

You ask Tom for an explanation and he shrugs it off.  Tom says, "You just said you wanted it done today.  You didn't say I had to be the one to do it so I hired Mark. He wanted to do it anyway."

When you point out the sloppy job and the mess, Tom answers, "It's just a shed."

Well?


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AFinch

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Sherrif
First, I'm going to commend him for paying attention in English class.

Next, I'm going to explain to him that the reason to put "finish" (AKA paint) on siding has even more to do with preserving the material than it does appearance. That being the case, it doesn't matter whether it's "just a shed"--it will still cost money to replace if the siding rots as a result of being improperly painted.

Third, I'm going to point out to him we had a contract. That contract exchanged money for services properly rendered. Had Mark done a great job, I wouldn't care--but he didn't, and it's Tom's responsibility to make it right.

It's only lunch time. He has time to make it right. He can do so, or he can return the wages he was prepaid, lose his game, and get a spanking. The choice is his.

Jack

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Admin
I'm going to explain to Tom that, as the person I hired and paid to do the job, he's responsible for turning out acceptable work, and this isn't.

To be honest, I'm very tempted to do this myself, with Mark, showing him the proper way to do things. As it is, I'm probably going to explain to Mark that it's Tom's job, Tom promised to do it, and so Tom needs to do it. I'll try to find something else Mark and I can do.

I am very tempted to make Tom do the job after wearing his butt out. Yes, I did just say that the shed needed to be painted today, but i paid HIM to do it, not to pass the work on to someone else.

What I am going to do is let him know that I'm very disappointed with him and his attitude, and that he won't be paid for work ahead of time anymore. He's proven to me that he's not trustworthy. Hopefully that will hurt him more than a sore butt would, as well as motivating him to do the job and do it correctly. If not, maybe both of us will be using a brush today.


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18Smacked

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Cowboy
I am with Kier on this one; I think his approach is logical and reasonable to use, particularly with a teenager. Hopefuluuy, he'll listen to the logic and get his act together to paint the shed properly. But, if not, he will suffer the consequences.

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Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
The value of carefully written contracts is to prevent such problems as these.  It is totally unreasonable to assume that a thirteen-year-old boy would know/understand the implied norms that might be expected from a much older and experienced lad.  Almost all of the things previous mentioned have to be explained and what a proper job and time frame are.

Now, one just has to back up, accept the cost of extra paint and restart the project.

Actually, one of the first things to do is give Mark a bath because the soon that it done the easier it will be.  I am not worried about the toxicity unless he drank it.

Destroying the game is, to put it simply, essentially a war crime for it is destruction of something just to prevent the use of it by another.  That is the most unacceptable thing on this entire page.  Holding the game until the paint job is properly done is the proper approach.  Destruction will also cause extreme negative feelings which are highly undesirable.

Y.

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Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
I'm with Jack on this. I made a deal with Tom -- a gentleman's agreement. Tom has shown an attitude I dislike. I don't want to raise an asshole who thinks sharp practice is clever.

Kat

ivor

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Marshall
Tom is about to find out that a paintbrush can also be used to apply color to a butt.

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db105

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Trailboss
Kier and Jack's answers work for me. I don't think this is quite a spanking situation, but Tom needs to know that I'm disappointed by his attitude, and that right now I feel I can't trust him to keep his end of a bargain, so he won't be paid in advance again until he does something to regain that trust.

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MemoryMan

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Sherrif
Contract made, paid and unfulfilled.

Remedy.
Confiscate game until either payment is refunded or work is completed to a satisfactory standard.  If extra paint is required that is the contactor's responsibility.

In Tom's case it may be wise to provide extra incentive by agreeing a set number of bed time licks of the strap each day until the contract is completed to my satisfaction.

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Adric

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Cowboy
I'm with Memory Man on this one.  Any future "contracts" I make with Tom will be all fleshed out, including the important penalty clause for delays and substandard performance.
Kat wrote:Tom has shown an attitude I dislike. I don't want to raise an asshole who thinks sharp practice is clever.
And that raises another important point.  $50 to the prime contractor and $5 to the sub-contractor sounds pretty one-sided to me.  What did I get for the $45 that Tom kept?  I could have hired Mark directly to do the work if I thought he were qualified, which he wasn't.  I have worked with prime contractors before who were worth their share of the money because they made sure the job was done on time and well.  Tom could have sub-contracted the job and I would have been satisfied if it were well done, on time, and his business practices were up to my ethical standards.  And by the way, while Tom is fixing the job right and cleaning up the mess, I'll make sure he knows he will do that work himself and not try to drag Mark back into the job.

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Peter_Z

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Wrangler
I like MemoryMan's approach on this one too

Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
Adric wrote: $50 to the prime contractor and $5 to the sub-contractor sounds pretty one-sided to me.  What did I get for the $45 that Tom kept?

You paid for his expertise in knowing about cheap labor that you did not know about.

It not what one does but knowing what to do that is the valuable item.

Y.

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David M. Katz

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Marshall
My response would be similar to Jack's.


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Adric

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Cowboy
Y Lee Coyote wrote:You paid for his expertise in knowing about cheap labor that you did not know about.

It not what one does but knowing what to do that is the valuable item.

No, I didn't.  Assuming he is going to sub-contract the work, I paid for his expertise in knowing about qualified labor.  If the job were done right this issue would never have come up.  I certainly knew about Mark, my own son, and I knew he was unqualified.  His "expertise" in identifying my son is not worth any money, and certainly not worth 90% of the payment.  (Having the prime contractor pay himself 90% is almost a guarantee that the work will be substandard since the sub only got 10%.)

I had one prime contractor that I used over and over because he had many loyal and qualified subs with different specialties and they always produced excellent results.  I knew about his share because he spelled it out in the contracts, and I never doubted that it was worth the extra money to have him engage and schedule the subs and supervise the job.

So I'm having a long and serious talk with Tom about what I think of his performance.  Those are all things that would make me not want to hire him again.  He gets a spanking today for his bad attitude and predatory business practices, and another spanking on every additional day that he has not completed the work himself.

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