The Chimney Guy was at Sotheby’s Auction House in London, and so excited he could hardly contain himself.He was about to bid on a rare postage stamp from the UK, one of Wallace and Gromit singing Christmas Carols, except the profile of the Queen had inexplicably failed to be printed on the stamp. He glanced over at his arch-rival, the Earl of South Sussex, who was lounging back in his chair, sipping on a cognac, apparently without a care in the world.
Ah, the auctioneer was about ready to call out the details on the stamp and open the bidding. The Chimney Guy sat up straighter and leaned forward slightly, all aquiver with anticipation, and the phone rang. It kept ringing. He opened his eyes and looked at the clock on the bedstand.
He didn’t need to look at the caller ID on the phone. He picked up the phone.
“Good evening, Eloise.”
“That’s what I like about you, Mr. Guy, you’re always available. I don’t know why I think about chimneys at night,One of our rebuilds. Part is natural stone and part is cultured stone veneer. Please do not attempt at home.but I do, and you’re always there for me.”
“Glad to be of service. What can I do for you?”
“Well, I have this house and the chimney needs some work. Do you do anything besides the inspections?”
“Well, the main thing I do is inspections, of course. And then I have a kind of a hobby, educating real estate agents on how important it is to get the chimney inspected, even if the home inspector never even mentions the chimney.”
“Oh, you don’t have
o sell me on that. I’m a true believer.”
“I know. You’re one of the good ones. Then I also save escrows.”
What do you mean?
How can you save an escrow?”
“Well, for example, I had an agent call me to inspect a chimney. They had a bid from some other chimney fellow to rebuild the chimney, for a five- figure price tag; he said the chimney was broken.
I did my usual video inspection, and poked and prodded and found no broken chimney. I did find it needed a new lining system, so we installed a new stainless steel liner, and a few other things, for about one-fourth of the rebuild price. Everybody was happy. Escrow saved.”
“Another time I got a call from an owner after the sale. He had a chimney that needed to be rebuilt, and this one actually did need to be rebuilt. It was a fairly tricky rebuild, with stone veneer that he wanted on the rebuilt part, to match the original stone lower down on the chimney.
That wasn’t easy, to find a cultured stone veneer that matched pretty closely to the original natural stone, but we did, and he saved over a third on the “usual” rebuild price. No escrow saved on that one, but the customer was very happy with the finished product and saving all that loot.”
“Wow, I had no idea.”
“Yeah, and of course I also do minor repairs, like install spark arrester caps, and dampers and crown repairs. I also repair prefab chimneys.”
“Butthemainthingischimneyinspections. Andmostotherchimney repair companies should be able to bid off of my report.”
“Well, that’s great. I’ll call you in the morning. Good night Mr. Guy.” “Good night, Eloise.”
The Chimney guy returned to his auction, only to find the auction closed for the night. He heard a mocking laugh from around the corner. Drat it.