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Anecdotal evidence that America is doomed

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7/20/2014 6:39:25 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
For those who live in America, you may be familiar with 811. It is a national phone number to call to locate any public underground utility. This is a legal requirement to call, and these are the reasons:
1. To avoid death, injury, or interrupted service
2. To prevent damages to utility companies' property

Now, most people call for the obvious egotistical reason of not wanting to be electrocuted, blow up from gas leak, or the occasional avoiding of a fine. However, this is why we are doomed: (and this applies to home owners calling, not contractors (i.e. the general public))

1. Few understand that this is a legal document
2. Most don't realize that the contractor they hired is required to call (anyone can call for safety, but for liability, the excavator must call)
3. A sizable chunk get agitated that a call that can save them thousands of dollars, anger, and possibly save their life can take somewhere between 4-7 minutes
4. Or course, some of these calls can take 15-30 minutes....because they can't answer simple questions, like:
i. What county they live in
ii. What township they live in, when they do not live in the city limits of their mailing address, and don't understand the difference
iii. Where they are going to dig on the property
iv. The streets in the immediate vicinity (we use streets to box in the work location when possible)
5. They do not understand the difference the question "who is the work done FOR". Typical response: "Well, I'm doing it"
6. Calling in a cabin with no knowledge about anything other than the address.
7. Not understanding what the difference between public utility and private.
8. Getting upset that the only reason they are calling a free service is to have them locate their well lines (private), then asking "what good are you then".
9. Asking for "legal advice", such as, if they are required to call at all.
10. Being upset that you want to start work this weekend, but you call Friday around noon.
11. Typical American ignorance and lack of critical thinking of how business works and why we do what we do (like use streets, because I have no idea how big your property is)
12. Constant reliance on technology, but laziness to use it. (can't you pull up google maps?.....can't you?)
13. Not understanding that if you want your phone line located because you are digging near it, telling me where you are digging will get the phone line marked. I can't just say "mark the phone line".
14. Not understanding that we locate lines in the area where you are digging, so if "there's nothing in the backyard but the cable line", then the marking instruction of "mark the backyard" will only affect the cable line.
15. I was once called a liar because the caller didn't realize 811 was a national phone number, and he lives 1/4 mile past the state line, so he came to us, but refused to accept the fact he needed to call his state's office, which he wouldn't let me tell him his number, because his friend told him to call us.
16. White people being crazy.
17. People hemming and hawing about giving an email, excited by the word "ticket", and helicopter parents calling on behalf of their adult kids who own property only to get mad at me for not knowing the information I need.
18. General not listening

Contractors, too, are annoying, as they KNOW what we ask, thus know what they need to get from their clients:
1. Breaking the law, taking chances via liability, and causing us more difficulty by telling homeowners they have to make the call to us, sometimes even offering discounts for doing so.
2. Using the excuse "I'm out of state", as a reason to not know basic information, like county and municipality.
3. Government agencies (like cities and department of transportation) that don't know how the process works. (also, why the hell are state dollars given to out of state companies?)
4. Blaming us for their mistakes, their bad planning, and their being upset that they hit a line, but didn't call in a ticket.


people are so self-involved and/or stupid, that they get agitated when people are trying to make sure they don't die.
At least the noble sheep provides us warm sweaters. All your hides would provide are coward pants. - Dick Solomon

"I call albatross!" - seventhprofessor