1. I dealt with many contractors in my days an insurance adjuster. Some great people and some would come out with some hilarious stuff, but I don’t know any that would talk like this to a client. Not a good choice when people are emotional, as they usually are in an insurance repair.

    Ted, or whoever he is, asked a reasonable and straightforward question. The answer seems like a deliberate evasion, though it could be we are to see it as “Well, duh, of course I am, you moron.” The problem is that the answer to Ted’s question isn’t obvious. They may have other jobs scheduled. They may need to order materials. Maybe he needs to wait for his foreman to get back from his honeymoon. Maybe they’re still waiting on a permit. His answer is not a witty retort to a stupid question, though that is what the writer intended.

    Also, given there is still snow (see the fence(?) in the background), it might be best to wait, especially if they have to pour any concrete for the footings on the deck.

  2. I really wonder whether this storyline is based on something that recently happened in Ces’s life — but if it is, then going forward he should probably put more thought into choosing his insurance company and general contractor.

    Based on my experience, at least — and our damage seems to be eerily similar to the Forths’ — I think it’s unlikely concrete will be a factor.

  3. If it weren’t for the snow, I’d assume they’re in Florida, and Arlo would never see this contractor – or his down payment – again.

  4. If it weren’t for the snow, they wouldn’t need the contractor in the first place.

    (pssst… “Ted”, not “Arlo”.)

  5. SingaporeBill: I don’t think this is intended as a witty retort to a stupid question. I think it’s actually intended as you read it: the contractor is responding to a reasonable question by being difficult.

    From earlier strips, the contractor had said he was going to start today, but he showed up late, and now apparently isn’t going to actually do anything today. So I anticipate a story arc with a generally difficult contractor.

  6. I don’t get it.

    The response “the elves come out and fix it” is usually a response to people taking things for granted or not appreciating work that goes into things. I see absolutely no connection between the question Ted is asking (reasonable or stupid) and the contractors answer (defensive; snarky; reasonable or unreasonable).

    The elves comment would make sense if Ted was expecting this to be done without pay, or if Ted asked if the work is going to inconvenience him in any way but simply asking when the project will start it makes no sense.

  7. Without knowing the rest of this particular strip’s storyline, I took him as one of those shady contractors your local news warns you about every year:

    “Yeah, elves will come out at night and magically rebuild your patio. Now give me your check.”
    Contractor then magically disappears, never to be heard from again. No elves come out at night.

  8. This story arc has been a long one. The damage happened because of heavy snow that weighed down some even heavier prop werewolf heads mounted to the wall above the porch that the daughter’s band built months ago for a backyard concert. The contractors that came to bid had comments on them as did Ted’s insurance company. The neighborhood HOA also put their two cents in and wanted them down. Ted’s been dealing with a lot of flack over them. With this panel, this probably isn’t gonna end well.

  9. I really hated soap opera strips as a kid, and I still do now. The serials were bad enough on TV, but I never understood why the newspapers should waste so much space and ink on something that was clearly a waste of time to read. The only thing worse than soap opera strips is when a good, entertaining comic strip morphs into a soap opera serial. The classic (and most hideous) example is of course “Funky Winkerbean”, but “Sally Forth”, “Luanne”, and “Crankshaft” are suffering from the same disease, and “Doonesbury” hasn’t been immune to it, either.
    P.S. Then there’s “Spiderman”, which was never funny (except in the sense of becoming “laughably bad”). When the writers decided to drop action and adventure in favor of soap opera dramatics, I quit reading the strip.

  10. I followed For Better For Worse (for the most part) until the end. Once it rebooted I stopped reading it.

  11. I follow Comics Curmudgeon, just ’cause he mocks the soap opera strips so well, esp. ‘Mary Worth’, ‘Dick Tracy’, ‘Mark Trail’ & ‘Spiderman’. Other than that, I, too, dislike SOStrips.

  12. @ Andréa – I actually quit reading Josh’s “Curmudgeon” precisely because he spent so much time raking the soap opera strips over the coals. His “Humor to Text Density” ratio was approaching levels that just didn’t make it worth the effort.

  13. I’ve like Comic Curmudgeon for a long time, but I find that I need to read it erratically. If I read it regularly, the jokes are too repetitive in style after a while. (Which is really true of most humor blogs.)

    I don’t read Sally Forth regularly, but I’ve read it for the last few weeks, and it doesn’t seem to me that the ongoing story arc is preventing it from having passable one-a-day jokes in conjunction.

  14. Andréa, I read Mary Worth just to see if I can tell which strips will show up in Comics Curmudgeon and whether what he says is funnier than what I thought. It usually is. 🙂

  15. SingaporeBill: Not arguing, honestly curious. In 1980 I was working in Ottawa and watched them building a building next door in a blizzard, pouring concrete. Always wondered if that was a good idea; you seem to be suggesting it is not. Can you elaborate? Thanks.

  16. The advantage of morphing into a soap-opera strip is that one or two ideas can be stretched out over a week or more.

    Similarly, “list” sequences like “10 Things Customers Do That Make Us Retail Workers Pissy.”

  17. @ Phil Smith III Concrete can be poured during cold weather but it is more difficult, takes more time, and therefore, is more expensive. A few considerations:
    -you shouldn’t pour concrete on frozen ground. Either you have to heat it to thaw it, or dig below the frost line. Both take extra resources and take time.
    -concrete contains water and must be prevented from freezing. There are several options. All take time and money.
    -the mix must either be heated or use more cement to ensure proper strength if you’re pouring in the cold.
    -more care must be taken during curing and it can take longer.

    For a large project, the extra costs involved can be worth it as the project as a whole can move more quickly. For something small, like this job at Ted’s place, adding extra costs to the bill when I’m betting Ted is already very price-sensitive seems a non-starter when you can just wait three weeks for the weather to improve.

  18. Thanks, SBill! I knew I could google this but you clearly knew offhand. Yes, this project must have been important, since it was at night in a blizzard: I was watching some poor bastard smoothing the new floor (which was not at ground level, so being cooled pretty fast from above AND below) and thinking that he must be freezing and miserable. And the building was still there a few years later, so I guess it cured OK 🙂

  19. @ Phil Smith III

    I thought you might enjoy this video. It allows faster finishing of concrete slabs. There are hand-held machines that look like floor polishers too, for smaller work, but these are more interesting to watch.

  20. Andréa: that’s “Zamboni”. An American invention, amazingly enough. I bet most Canadians don’t know that! (Or don’t want to admit it.)
    SBill: Nice. I believe the guy I was watching (this WAS 39 years ago) was using a broom-type thing.

  21. In his later years Schulz kept repeating a number of themes so often in Peanuts that it got a little tiresome, including Snoopy’s fixation on chocolate chip cookies, wartime re-enactments (The WWI Sopwith Camel bits, among too many other scenes), and of course innumerable Zamboni jokes.

  22. ” of course innumerable Zamboni jokes”

    I kind of thought that became an in-joke. In the days before internet and social media we had to rely on columnists to get our memes, and I remember Herb Caen once wrote about a slew of people calling in to the San Francisco Chronicle asking what the heck a Zamboni was when it occurred in a Peanuts cartoon. Apparently the editors contacted Schultz and his reply was he just assumed it was a common word and it didn’t occur to him anyone wouldn’t know what it was, but he acknowledged he could understand that perhaps if a person weren’t a hockey fan it could be confusing.

    That was the first time I had ever heard of a Zamboni. And almost immediately after there were Zamboni jokes every couple of months for the next 20 years.

    “Snoopy’s fixation on chocolate chip cookies”

    Don’t really remember those…..

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