How I Almost Got Ripped Off

Last week, I somehow managed to knock a sizable hole in a friend’s wall who was away on business.

So I did what any sensible person in my position would do, I set out to cover up my mistake.

Immediately, I raced to the nearest home improvement store to find a quick fix. Unfortunately, the patch I picked up was insufficient for the job.


Note: This guy is NOT Roberto. (Image Credit: Tony Alter)

Within minutes of applying the product, I realized the damage required a more extensive and thus, more expensive solution.

With my friend scheduled to return home in a few days, I desperately looked for ways to restore the wall to its former glory. I didn’t want to explain the idiot move that resulted in a 10 x 4 inch opening in the center of perfectly good drywall.

I called three handymen, left voice messages with two of them, and actually spoke with one, Roberto. Aaah, dear, sweet, unsavory Roberto.

Upon arrival, I greeted Roberto and led him to what we shall refer to from now on as The Hole.

Roberto stopped in front of the wall, took a step back, carefully studied the minor destruction, mumbled a few words in broken English, then paused. I blurted out, “How much will it cost to fix the damage?”

Shockingly, Roberto told me he couldn’t repair the hole, that he had to replace the entire wall. Why? Because there weren’t any screws that would hold the patch. And get this, his rate was $250. *Gasp!*

That’s five times more than the price tag I had in mind!

After I hemmed and hawed about the price, Roberto agreed to do the job for $225. Okay, that’s mildly better, but still, that’s INSANE!

I looked Roberto square in the eyes and asked, “Is that the best price you can offer?” He said the project would take him four hours to complete, that he’d lose a whole day’s work.

Sadly, Roberto refused to lower the price any further. With this guy as my only professional option, and three days remaining until my friend came home, I grudgingly agreed. Roberto told me he’d return at 11:00 the next morning to finish the job. Upon completion, I’d pay him $225 in cash.

On the way home, I felt angry at myself but okay about possibly getting ripped off. After all, I was desperate. I just wanted the matter taken care of. And I was willing to overpay for peace of mind.

But something inside me led to a change of heart. Actually, it wasn’t something inside of me. It was right in front of me. So what is this “it” I’m referring to? It’s called cash.

At home, I pulled out every bill in my wallet. I laid them on the desk, smoothed them out, turned them right side up, and stacked them neatly by dollar value. I counted out $170.

With the cash in my hand, I said to myself, “I can’t do this. Hell, I’ll tell the truth before I pay this [jerk] all the money in my wallet plus an extra $55.”

There had to be another way. As usual, I found the way on the internet. I typed how to repair a large hole in drywall in YouTube’s search box and up popped a simple, step-by-step, 5-minute video tutorial on how to do just that.

I jumped back into my vehicle, and headed to the home improvement store. Practically, everything I needed was in one section of the warehouse. Including a gallon of paint, all the materials cost about $60. By the way, any decent handyman would’ve already had most of these items.

I went back to my friend’s house that afternoon. I spent an hour and a half–me, an untrained, do-it-yourselfer, first time drywall repairer–fixing The Hole. Presumably, Roberto could’ve done the job quicker and better IF he weren’t so busy trying to rip me off.

Granted, the spot where The Hole used to be isn’t perfect, but it will be . . . when I hang a picture over it. 😉

Drywall Repaired

You can barely tell the wall was repaired, right?

About the Author

Shawanda Greene is a free thinking, frugal gal whose only vices are boxed wine, lip balm and money grubbing. You can find more of Shawanda's musings at You Have More Than You Think – a productivity focused guide to maximizing the money you have to obtain more of what you want.