Bo T. from Pasadena

Bo T. from Yelp

Location: Pasadena, CA

Review Date: June 11, 2013

Customer Review: When reading any Yelp review, one should consider the sample size; how many times has the reviewer had contact with the reviewee? While first impressions matter (see Malcolm Gladwell’s, “Blink”), a single instance is not likely a sufficient basis upon which to form a complete impression of a service provider. Competent and respected food writers might visit a restaurant three or more times before putting pen to paper. All of that having been said, I used Western Rooter once and they rock.

Sunday morning of Memorial Day weekend, the Indy 500 was just getting started. Before my wife left for work (or the mall), she thought to grab a bottle of water from the basement. I received her, “Uh, could you come down here,” loudly and clearly as “There is water all over the basement floor.” And there was. Water. All over the basement floor.

Without speaking for other husbands, significant others, shacker-uppers, etc., though there are two people in this relationship, when something well beyond my control goes wrong, somehow the duty to make it right nonetheless lands squarely with me. How this happens, I don’t know. It’s not my wife and there is no time to conference-in a therapist right now. Suffice it to say, what is not my fault when it breaks, to me, becomes my fault if I don’t fix it before my wife gets home.

I called our not-to-be-identified home warranty company who whined, “Oh jeez, it’s a Sunday, so, we might have to breach our duty to timely provide services that you’ve already paid for. If you don’t hear from us in three hours, well, you might not hear back from us at all.” [All quotations are designed to provide my impression, if not the content, of what was said.] “Wait painfully by the phone and we might get back to you.”

Morning pressed into afternoon. The odds of relief narrowed with every passing minute. Indy cars swirled counter-clockwise around the track over and over and over exaggerating with speed the slowing passage of time in my living room. Can’t wash my hands, can’t take a shower, can’t use the bathroom. Looking at the phone, I wondered if I just looked at the phone a minute ago or did I ever stop looking at the phone? Maybe time itself would grind to a halt on this very Sunday and the water leaking from my pipes was one of an infinite series of sighs from the universe as it simply gave up. C’mon phone, ring. Ring. RING!

I’d already booked a hotel for two days when – five hours after they were first alerted (now close to 2:00 p.m.) – the home warranty company called to say that from their national network of providers, not one single plumber answered the phone. Abandoning their charge, they generously authorized me to expend a full $125.00 to resolve the matter but warned I would need additional authorization to spend anything more.

I felt better knowing what I suspected from the outset, the home warranty company could not help us. Vindication and a sense of control offset the burden of having to find a plumber myself. I pulled up Yelp, sorted by distance, and called the first two names off the list. The first company did not pick up but called back while I was on the line with the second. The second guy tipped me off to Western Rooter.

It took two phone calls and five minutes to accomplish what our home warranty company could not do in five hours.

My mid-afternoon call to Western Rooter was answered immediately by a friendly woman who advised that they could have a technician out between three and five that afternoon. Fantastic! Better, their guy, Said, showed up around 2:50. Wow! A plumber, in under an hour, on a Sunday afternoon.

Said is a clean-cut, tall, friendly guy; a plumber and a people-person. He took a look at the issue, and got to work. And he worked. And he worked. But, due to some quirks of our older plumbing, he needed back-up.

While we waited for reinforcement to arrive, we shared a delightful conversation that ranged from plumbing to our relative experiences with various gyms in Los Angeles. He repeatedly suggested alternative ideas for solving our present plumbing issues as well as ways that we might prevent future, more expensive trouble.

When back-up, Mike, arrived , Said climbed up on the roof and ran the snake down a four-inch vent. While Said worked, Mike shared his thoughts about Monsanto and its march toward world domination. Two interesting guys from one company. Ten minutes later, they were packing up their gear in the glow of a job well done.

The charge? Reasonable.

Should it happen that you need a plumber, call Western Rooter.