ECN Forum

Useful catch phrases

Posted By: Bill39

Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 05:47 PM

Let’s get a topic going about phrases that are used when someone is trying to make you exceed the specifications, do extra work for free, or are useful to deflect some criticism, etc. Some examples of what I’m talking about are:

This is a trade standard.
We had to remobilize……
It was installed in a neat and workmanlike manner
The customer cannot be unduly enriched (meaning they cannot get something for free)
There are now differing site conditions
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 06:58 PM

There is always "you must not have the latest change orders"

How about the tried and true favorite, slipping the lead man a few bucks on the side. "nobody needs to know"
Posted By: gfretwell

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 07:22 PM

Of course the old
"well that's the way we did it up north"

Usually answered by directions to the interstate, sometimes "pointing" with the wrong finger.
Posted By: Ryan_J

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 08:51 PM

No other inspector makes me do that.
Posted By: Dnkldorf

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 10:34 PM

Print. what print?

I never got that message.

You must of called the wrong number.

I said Tuesday.

That's gonna change when the new codes come out.

License, we don't don't need no stinkin' license.

No officer, it wasn't me.

Duh......( goes well with "oh sh**")
Posted By: Dnkldorf

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 10:40 PM

Hurry up, put that in the truck.

That wasn't us, plumbers must of broke that.

We had to "reverse engineer" that one.
Posted By: LK

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/29/05 11:21 PM

1) Oh darn! my wife took off with the checkbook.

2) We accept credit cards, Answer from customer: Oh i don't belive in them. Translation: He is a dead beat, and has no credit.

3) You did a real nice job, but what about my scratched floor.

4) If you trim that price, i can give you cash. Better take that cash, better then nothing.

5) No one will be home, but i will bring the check to you later, later meaning sometime in the next century.

6) I really don't think those lights are bright eniough, let me ask my wife what she thinks when she comes home, then i will send you a check. Ya, his wife is not comming home she left the jerk years ago.

7) You just finished installing 4 phone lines, when the customer says, I decided to go wireless, I really don't need these lines, so how about cutting the price.

8) You changed the big box at my house a few years ago, i need you to come over and fix it one of the breakers keeps tripping, i sure hope your not going to charge me.

9) My tiolet will not flush, you must have done something to it, it worked before you were here.

10) I mailed you a check each time you called, you better check with your post office.

What is not funny is, these are real excuses given by unreal customers.

[This message has been edited by LK (edited 06-29-2005).]
Posted By: u2slow

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 01:00 AM

To the cabling technician after he asked to have more supports/hangers on the cable tray...

"You realize the warranty expired right when you cut the side out of the tray with your sawsall."
Posted By: e57

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 01:13 AM

Clear the dance floor! = Get the framers and thier debris out of my way.

I'll be back tomorrow. (Unless I get scheduled for 8 service calls.)

Back-charge for Trade Damage... = Painters/GC want you to pay for thier Punch-list.
Answer to that, "FYI - Our rate schedule will be going up soon. This will effect your change orders..." Or, "@^*& THAT!"

It's the law! = Breaktime, lunch time, breaktime again.

Guys - Lets have a safety meeting. = Get crew out of area for meeting with GC and Arch, so he can be told they build walls with wrong dimensions, and have to start over.
Posted By: livetoride

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 02:45 AM

After completion, My friend would do that for $1000 less.
Why so much?
Posted By: Electric Eagle

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 02:52 AM

I have a guy that will do it for half your price.

Me= "Let him do it"
Posted By: pauluk

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 10:11 AM

"It was fine yesterday and just suddenly stopped working today." (Said of wiring which could not possibly have worked unless it was defying the laws of physics. [Linked Image] )
Posted By: LearJet9

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 02:36 PM

Q. How come that took you so long?

A. Why, how long does it normally take you to do that?
Posted By: Tom

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 09:46 PM

Sorry to tell you this, but this equipment is FUBAR.

If you want a lower price, what would you like me to leave out?
Posted By: derater

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 09:53 PM

Wife / hubby has the checkbook got to be the all time leader.What part of "I expect payment upon completion" is so hard to understand?
Posted By: Tiger

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 10:09 PM

I need you to come RIGHT NOW, but I don't want any kind of emergency charge.

Posted By: Wireless

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 11:34 PM

Give me a good deal I'll give you lots of work
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 11:50 PM

CUSTOMER SAYS: Right now all I need is someone to come over here and do this crappy little job real quick...but I'm re-doing the whole place soon and will need an electrician for that. Gonna need a lotta work done then!

CUSTOMER MEANS: All I need is someone to come over here and do this crappy little job real quick.
Posted By: hbiss

Re: Useful catch phrases - 06/30/05 11:53 PM

All the others are half your price! Can't you do better?

Posted By: renosteinke

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 12:19 AM

I once did a job for a religious organisation....and it was simply amazing how many members of the congregation just had to tell me that their uncle was an electricla engineer or an inspector- as if to warn me that my betters were watching (my laughter was suppressed!!!)

Then there are the guy whoafter you refuse to hill-billy rig something for them, try to get you to do it incrementally. Can't wire the dryer by drawing off two standard receptacles...well, can you extend each circuit to here?....put them in same double box?.....will dryer recep fit in box?....! The hard part in this case is deciding when to stop being polite, and just telling him off! This is always accompanied by assurances that no inspector will ever see the job (after you explain code violation), assurances the it'll work (they see it done 'all the time'), Oh, those engineers overdesign, there's a 'safety factor used', etc.

Now, the statements that scare me are:
1) I used to be an electrician...
2) An electrician friend of mine was here...
3) Electricity don't know the difference;
4) It works, don't it?; and,
5) It ain't rocket science.
Posted By: trollog

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 12:23 AM

"I don't understand resi, I just do commerical"= no, I can't tell you specifically what you need to put in your breaker panel at your 1950's-vintage home so you can run your arcwelder (usually to steel guys who ask the eternal "what do I need to run an arc welder in my garage" question). Alternate response: "you really should call an electrician"

"our day starts at 6am"= answer to "you guys are leaving? its only 2:30"

I don't do sidework="no I don't want to come over and look at your panel to see if it can handle an arcwelder, no matter how good a cook your wife is..."

"alright if I borrow your lift for a while/in a little bit?"= answer to drywall guys asking for ANYTHING at all, but especially about maybe having temp power on any floor above the ground floor

Honorable mention: "the white wire is the neutral, the black wire is the hot"
Posted By: Tiger

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 01:06 AM

I need you to sharpen your pencil on this one....

Posted By: luckyshadow

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 01:56 AM

" go ahead and do it - I'll have the office fax the paperwork out to you , Trust Me " --> means " go ahead do it- I ain't gonna pay you for it and once it's done it's too late "
Posted By: Fred

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 11:33 AM

"I want to add this on and I don't care what it costs." Translation- I'm not going to pay for it anyway.
Heard on countless church jobs:" You're not going to charge us for all those extras, are you? We're doing the Lord's work here." Standard reply: " I'm one of the Lord's sheep, feed me."
Posted By: Trumpy

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 02:51 PM

Here's a few for the record:

  • Oh!!, so that's how you guys do it?!, I must tell my mates about that one, you Electricians are way over-paid for the work you do.
  • Let me see!!
  • Do you mind if I help?, will it make the bill cheaper?.
  • You must have installed that GFCI(RCD) there, I've never seen that before.
  • (In NZ only)Does the Lines Co pay for the third blown Pole fuse?
  • There's no need to be nasty like that, It's not my fault you found my Rat traps after I unplugged your light.
  • Hang on, I've got a torch here, just wait while I light it.

And a couple more:
  • So I can't put that flex through the wall into the next room, why not?, I don't like your advice young man!.
  • My nieghbour tells me ........
  • Just where did you serve your time young man?, do you even know what you're talking about??!.
  • Is there any way that you can get rid of that nasty meterbox? and the meters if possible.

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 07-01-2005).]
Posted By: wa2ise

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/01/05 07:49 PM

3) Electricity don't know the difference;

"Well, that's why we have to do things to code, so that that stupid electricity won't do something undesirable, like start a fire."....
Posted By: luckyshadow

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/02/05 07:39 PM

Heres one I hear every now and again

Oh , Your an Electrician ?
You must be rich !!

[This message has been edited by luckyshadow (edited 07-02-2005).]
Posted By: Alan Belson

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/02/05 11:56 PM

"Ha! It's not in the contract!" I can still see his smug face grinning like a Cheshire Cat. So, I was to pay for the foundations to be dug on his house-extension. Later, I found another omission: I'd also not quoted for fitting over 100 double-glazed units in the windows and doors-(he'd chosen a Georgian small-pane design). "Ah! I'm afraid it's not in the contract!" Job ground to a halt- you can't do second-fix in rainy Old England without glass. He had to accept my quote of £1200,(over $2200), or wait months for another chippie, (middle of a boom). Did the job in 2 days flat, with Denise cutting the beads like a maniac on the 'Nobex Champion' saw, and my boys Ed & Colin drilling the tiny pin holes so the brass sprags didn't split the timber. The irony is, when I went to pay Mr. Powles, the digger driver, he said; "Oi dursen't want a penny, Al-un." in his soft Gloucester-burr. A return of a good deed I'd long forgotten, done for him and his wife years earlier when he was out of work in a previous recession.
"HA! IT'S NOT IN THE CONTRACT!" became a catch phrase, (accompanied by peals of laughter), in our house for years after, as a response to any chore we didn't want to do- and our family spent 2 weeks in Bordeaux in a rented villa, as we frittered his money away in the sun!
Posted By: ShockMe77

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 02:04 AM

It's better to be a mile too long than an inch too short, but not two miles...
Posted By: poorboy

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 10:55 AM

One of Trumpy's reminded me of this one:

Why can't you get a new wire to the ceiling box? Can't you just hook onto the old ones and pull it thru?

From customers or other trades on jobs:

How do you know where all those wires go?

My answer:

I don't. I'm just the guy who runs 'em. Someone else hooks 'em up.

When running MC cable I often hear(really!):

Must be hard to get the wires in that stuff later.
Posted By: electure

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 11:47 AM

By hack electricians:

"That's the way we always do it".

You can also drive around at 100 mph, but that's not a good thing to tell the officer when you finally get pulled over

"We aren't concerned with the Code here. We work to the industry standards"

Trying to discuss a simple switching arrangement with the guy that drew the plans:

"Oh, I'm not THAT kind of engineer"

[This message has been edited by electure (edited 07-03-2005).]
Posted By: Trumpy

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 01:02 PM

Old lady nearly killed me one day up in a roof.
She turned a CB back on so that she could see Days Of Our Lives.
Sure my fault for not locking the thing out.
"Are you all right up there dear?, I thought I heard some coarse language".
I can tell you she did!!. [Linked Image]
Posted By: mxslick

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 06:02 PM


You must have the patience of a saint, the last person who turned on a breaker on me got a pair of linemans thrown at them! [Linked Image] (They actually CUT the lock off! I now use better grade locks.)

My favorite:

"Can't you change the bulb now? It already blew up."

To explain: Most cinema projectors use Xenon short-arc bulbs rated from 2,000 to 7,000 watts (operating on DC, high-current,low voltage).

The bulbs are under high pressure and have heavy Tungsten electrodes. They operate at extremely high temperature (around 2,000 degrees!!) and the electrodes glow from the heat for at least a few minutes, too hot to touch for ten minutes.

This comment came from a manager right after a bulb exploded while I was there on an unrelated service call. Of course, it was in the largest theater which was sold out. After it cooled for ten minutes I changed the bulb, and the electrodes were still warm enough to discolor the workbench top!!


"Why should we change the bulb? It still works."

Xenon bulbs are expensive ($400 and up) but now tend to last well past rated life (around 2,000 hours in the 2k and 4k sizes, about 1,000 hours for the larger bulbs.) I have seen some 4k bulbs run well past 6,000 hours!!

But the risk of violent failure increases dramatically as the bulb ages. (See above.) And when a bulb explodes, it usually damages or shatters the reflector surrounding it. (The reflector on most lamphouses now runs $800 - $1500!)

And finally all cinema equipment follows Murphy's Law: "An equipment breakdown will always happen when the theatre is full on a Saturday night, never on Wednesday afternoon when only the roaches are watching the show." [Linked Image]
Posted By: trollog

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 07:49 PM

>Heres one I hear every now and again
>Oh , Your an Electrician ?
>You must be rich !!

Haha, yes immediately followed by a vague anecdote about the mythical electrician that their friend knows "who makes $120.00/hr."... Hehe, wonder if he's hiring?
Posted By: Alan Belson

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/03/05 08:25 PM

At a vehicle breaker's yard:

"Hello, I'm looking for a starter motor for a 1991 Ford Orion saloon."
"Got one, 80 quid."
"They only want 25 pounds at ****'s !"
"Buy the bloody thing there then!" (Returns to reading his comic).
"They haven't any right now."
"Ours are 25 quid when we ain't got any!"
Posted By: mvpmaintman

Re: Useful catch phrases - 07/04/05 12:26 AM

Do we really have to replace that xfmr?,(the one with the burnt off paint that got overfused)
Wont the load just balance itself out?

Does that really need to be grounded?

Why can't we use a control xfmr to power a 15 amp outlet?

Are you done yet?, we really can't afford to have this machine down any longer?


My favorite reply to any and all: "Must have been an imbalance in the homotrons.
© 2020 ECN Electrical Forums