Saturday, June 12, 2010

Crack in my asphalt (Daily Photo 6.11.10)

Like it? 

On the day I finally got my plumbing fixed (more or less, I mean, it's still not perfect because the kitchen sink doesn't have a—aaah, fuck it, let's move on) I also received a strange visit at my front door from some rough-looking guy. He spoke in strings of short phrases somewhat connected to each other.

"I was driving by, saw your driveway here, I'm working right around the corner on Taft Street, got a load of hot asphalt, there's a lot left over, I could come by, give it to you for half price, lay down a new driveway, 4 inches thick, I wouldn't charge you to dig it up or nothing, my guys can bring it by, dig it up, lay it down, we can be here in an hour, you'll have it nice and brand new, 4-inch thick asphalt, $2.50 a foot, you could park on it tomorrow, just like the highway."

"Right," I said.  Parked in front of my house was some other guy in the driver's seat of a truck, not watching.

He handed me a business card (printed on paper) with a website, phone number and email address. I said I'd think about it to get rid of him and he went back to his truck and I went back inside and on the Internet.

It seemed shady, but who doesn't like half-price hot asphalt? I realized, talking to him, that something was wrong for a couple of reasons: One, there's no Taft Street around the corner.  Don't give me that — I run or walk around my neighborhood every day. Taft Street is down the South End of Fall River. I'm in the North End. Two, the guy only drove by my driveway yet somehow knew he had enough asphalt left over to cover the whole thing 4 inches deep?

So I tweeted about it and immediately got several replies (thanks @ZenRunner and @NigelRunner et al.) warning me that it was the old half-price asphalt scam. I figured the guy was trying to screw me somehow. Full disclosure: I think everyone who offers to fix things in my house is trying to screw me somehow. But it was the first I'd heard that asphalt scams were, like, a common thing.

Apparently so — I looked it up. The scam is that they either do a shitty job on your driveway that will break easily and won't be guaranteed so you've paid a lot of money for nothing, or they do a shitty job on your driveway and then force you to pay a lot more than you were originally quoted, and since they work without contracts it's either pay or get fucked.

I did very light digging on the Internet and found the following. I'm not going to use his name because I don't want his name coming up in a Google search on my site.

1. The guy's website is very badly designed and has very blurry photos that could've been taken from anywhere. No, I'm not linking to it, because again, I don't want this site connected to that one. But I will steal a typical photo and post it here. What a beautiful whatever-that-is! And look, he's trained kangaroos to operate the machines! Impressive! Wait, those may be humans. It's hard to tell. They're blobbish.

2. The company is from New Hampshire, yet they're working in Fall River. What fuckwit would hire a New Hampshire paving company to do work in southeastern Massachusetts, more than two hours away?

3. According to, the guy's website was registered by VistaPrint, a company based in the Bahamas that prints business cards, not him. I don't know what the hell that's about, but it's wrong all the same.

4. The phone number on the business card and the phone number on the website were not the same.

5. Google search the address of his asphalt paving company and you get a private residence. Seems unlikely you could run a legit paving company out of a ranch home -- the average kitchen pantry can hold, what? At most 3 metric tons of asphalt?

6. The guy used his real name on the business card and the website. He's on MySpace. Who the fuck is still on MySpace? I'm suspicious right there. (I don't mind linking to his MySpace page because I don't think he could track visitors back to this site.)

7. Among his interests on MySpace are "sex and lots of head." Doesn't say anything about asphalt.

8. He's got multiple arrests for drunken driving and motor vehicle violations, the most recent of which was just a few weeks ago. That explains why there was some other guy driving, I suppose.

The shame of it is, I really do need my driveway repaved. Look at that goddam mess up there in the main photo.  Maybe later this year, by someone who's legit. Maybe I can even get it half-price from a BBB-recommended contractor through the usual means: by batting my eyelashes and showing the guys my legs.


Matt said...

Ahh, the old tarmac scam. Common here in Blighty, as Nigel pointed out.

Personally, I don't buy anything that comes to my door. "Get offa my lawn!" *kaboom*

Qrystal said...

Wow, I'll have to watch out for this, in case anyone drives by my awful driveway and offers me the same thing. No cracks quite like that in ours, but I think we might have a little more foliage. Eventually I'm sure the "mowing the driveway" joke will start getting old, and we'll invest in something else (cue the "green driveway" jokes that aren't really jokes because there really are green driveways, where grass grows through a plastic framework strong enough to park on).

Dan said...

The cracks in my driveway are particularly bad because it hasn't been repaved in years, apparently. And there's one spot with big chunks dislodged -- the contractor who installed our fence drove his truck onto a weak spot and broke it. I didn't notice until much later.

Teechur said...

But on his MySpace page he does say he loves his son, named after the claw of a large bird of prey, and various horror movies guys (allinthesamesentence). I mean how can you NOT hire someone who loves his son and various horror movie guys?

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