My kitchen sink sprung a leak. Nothing major, but it had to be fixed.

I did what you would probably do, in the absence of personal referrals: I googled. I came across a good-looking website in English (rare for Thailand) and it looked good! The guy was a former Army man and there were good testimonials on his website. Bingo! Got my match.

He arrived, looking very dapper and drove a brand-new truck. Okaaaay. He sauntered in and looked under the kitchen sink knowledgeably. He fiddled around a bit and told me that he had fixed the problem. I wasn’t confident in him, but what could I do? I didn’t know enough about plumbing.

A few hours later, the whole house was flooded.

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Water was gushing out and went downstairs. Several of my books which were on the floor were ruined, and the wooden bookcase’s base was soaked. I was furious. I dragged Mr Glamorous Plumber back. He was annoyed at me, all because I did not warn him that the floor was wet and consequently, he got his nice socks wet. My, I was furious. So was he.

“Okay, done!” He said crossly. He turned on the taps to max to demonstrate that he had fixed the leak. Indeed, no water came gushing out. Hmmm, there was something about him that I didn’t quite trust, but yes, no more leaks. Then I looked under the kitchen sink.  He had simply cut and reattached the pipe to the water heater! So though there was no more leak, there was no hot water either! I couldn’t believe he was going to walk away with such shoddy work, which belied his good advertising and smart appearance.

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But I had enough of him and marched him to the door.

Next choice: I went to a well-known chain of DIY stores and ordered a water heater. The deal came with a plumber to attach it. And so, 24 hours later, two men from the DIY store, in their orange uniforms, came to attach the heater.  All was fine, until the day later, when my helper was washing up in the kitchen sink, she suddenly yelped. She had received mild electric shock!!!!

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I couldn’t believe it! First, the sophisticated plumber with good PR, then the two seemingly solid ones from a large chain store. I was at a total loss.

I walked out in the street where I lived and randomly asked one of the workmen for a recommendation. I don’t think they understood me. I led one into my house and showed him what I meant.  He beamed and nodded.  A couple of hours later, he came back with three men. Oh Lord. They looked like random guys you would pick off the streets. Worryingly, they did not even have a torch -they had to use their phone! And then, one of them began drilling the wall…..

These simple boys did know what they were doing. They actually earthed the pipes and the wires, and did a good job.

So ask yourself this, how many times have you bee suckered by a man in a smart suit who talks the talk (but is really full of bullshit), or was lulled into a false sense of security by a well-known brand (which in reality is not as good as the advertising), when the best really is to be found in unlikely lads.