Expert stealing


Expert stealing

By Joanie Buettgen
Copyright 2010

It’s a sad day when you can’t trust anyone, let alone a local driveway contractor.

Recently, my neighbor, Charlotte, who is 91-years old, was having her driveway seal-coated. A July heat wave had struck and was stalling over Minnesota. The temperature on Wednesday morning was 80 degrees and climbing. The humidity index was 85 percent. This extreme heat condition made an excellent day to lay coats of black, tar sealant.

My experiences with contractors have always been trouble free. Today, it was a pain in the neck.

This driveway crew of three included two guys and a college girl. They showed up bright and early. At first, I heard a brand new, red truck, pull up at my neighbor’s house. Then, I noticed it was parked illegally on the side of the street. The owner of this vehicle had the logo “Expert” plastered on both sides of his truck. This man stepped out onto the pavement. I noticed he sported a red t-shirt with his company name “Expert” proudly printed on the front and back. Then he slipped off his bright, white tennis shoes, and replaced them with his black tar working shoes.

The other crew member was a guy who was scruffy and had a five-o’clock shadow. His t-shirt was dark blue. I noticed many tar blobs on his shirt. His work shoes were black and well worn. He was definitely an older man, and had a large pot belly.

The youngest crew member was a young female, in her mid 20s. She wore a white t-shirt and metal studded flip-flops to her dad’s job site.

I was inside surfing the Internet, trying to find some summer sales for an upcoming birthday party. That’s when I noticed the “red shirt guy” next to my house. He had a big smile on his face. Then he stepped away, and carried a five-gallon bucket filled with water from my hose.

A minute later, the” scruffy guy” was seen carrying his five-gallon bucket away from my hose.

The flip-flop daughter was leaning against the house, doing nothing.

My neighbor has a water supply, complete with a long hose. This was her driveway project, not mine. I thought to myself, “Why on earth were they stealing my water?”

That’s when I got mad.

As I get older, I get braver.

I decided to confront the water robbers. I quietly walked over, “Good morning!”

The three didn’t respond.

“Were you guys just over at my house, taking buckets of water?” I asked.

The “scruffy guy” just pointed to the owner, and said nothing. The “red shirt guy” was on his cell, and walked away. The “flip-flop girl” just stood there, with no expression on her face, half asleep.

“You could have asked.” I stated.

There was still no response from all three.

I walked back to my house-furious.

What propels people to walk onto someone’s property and then steal from them?

After their job was completed they cleaned up. At the end of the driveway they put a yellow, plastic “Do not cross sign” to keep people off until the driveway was dry.

Maybe the red shirt guy should change his business to Expert Thief.

Just another columnist trying out this new stuff.
Published:, Minnesota Moments Magazine,, County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.
Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.
Social Networking: Blog:,, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.


7 responses »

  1. This leaves me wondering about the quality of this crew’s work. Did they “steal” more than just water? This might be worth checking with your neighbor given her age.

  2. How rude! I can’t believe how completely ignorant some folks are these days. I call it the Simon Cowell syndrome. At least you got a blog out of it! Loved it!

  3. So frustrating. Well written. Good that you expressed your anger here than by chasing them down the street with a broom. My mom did that once.

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