People in the drivers seat

power linesI was sitting here one day two weeks ago and a big white truck pulled into the driveway. I thought it was my sister-in-law and wondered why she was here. As I glanced at her getting out of the truck I just thought she must have been in the neighborhood so I waited for her to get to the door. When I went to the door I discovered, it wasn’t her. It was a woman “representing” our power company.

She started telling me, TELLING ME and not “talking” to me that a lot of our trees needed to be cut down. I about had a stroke. She pretty much told me that a path of a good 20 feet wide and a good 50 feet long, needed to be removed from our front yard. Keep in mind that these tree’s were our privacy from the road.

I asked her why they couldn’t just be trimmed and she informed me that the power company can’t afford to come out and “trim” these box-elder tree’s that I didn’t plant there in the first place. She said the birds ate the seeds and took a crap and that’s the only reason the tree’s were there and they were “garbage” trees anyway!!! I’m NOT kidding you. She really said that. Well, I just didn’t quite know what to say to that other than we’ve been watching these tree’s grow for years now and that’s one of the nice things about living on 80 acres in the country. We have privacy and I didn’t want all those tree’s cut down the way she described it. I also told her that my husband would have a stroke when I told him. I asked her to come back when he was home. I knew Paul would flip out.

I even told her I’d be willing to hire my own tree trimming company and pay for it myself and she told me that working that close to power lines, they need a special license. While I know part of that may be true, she was trying to bully me and it really started pissing me off. She told me I had every right to refuse to let them be trimmed but then they’d put some kind of adapter on the pole on the road so if a tree hit any power lines, only our power would go off and if it was the middle of January and we lost our power on a Friday night, nobody would come to help me until Monday!!

This woman was very rude. Sue told me I should have called the power company and tell them this woman was very pushy and a big bully but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. They don’t “really” care do they? I know it had to be done but I don’t like the way I was treated. She also argued with me that she was out here 2 years ago when they trimmed. I called her on that one. I asked her if she ever saw me before and she said no so then I asked her who she talked to as we’ve lived here since 95. She couldn’t answer me so I knew I had her. I also told her if she’d told me 2 years ago I’d lose all these tree’s, I’d have kept them trimmed and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It turns out they trimmed the tree’s on the road and they don’t need permission to trim those.

I asked her if I had to give her an answer right this minute and she said no, that she’d come back the following week. I told her I had to talk to Paul and he would NOT be very happy to have a path like that through our trees. I did give her the okay but she really backed off the next time she came out here and the path they cut down was nothing like she told me it was going to be.

It just makes me wonder if any of you have had experiences like this? Why do people “in the driver’s seat” seem to think they can come and just bully you this way? Obviously I didn’t want to lose power in the winter or any other time but couldn’t she have been a little kinder and talked to me like we were equals and not like she was the Queen Of The World? What makes people act like this?

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28 Responses to People in the drivers seat

  1. SKL says:

    Sounds like she’s incompetent and she knows it.

    I am a mild-mannered person (in real life), but when I encounter someone like that, it brings out the bitty in me, big-time. I might have let her do it in the end, but she would not have had a warm, fuzzy feeling at the end of the day.

    I’m glad they didn’t really chop down all your privacy trees. That would upset me too. I too find it very hard to part with trees.

    I had a recent run-in regarding my health insurance (of all things). I was basically told that I was going to be stuck with 100% of a $3,000 bill even though I was told prior to the procedure that it would be mostly covered. (Apparently in her book, you can’t get a diagnostic test unless you first prove you have the disease! Huh?) She was not nice about it and acted like I was thick-skulled. When I told her I’d talked to someone before, she wouldn’t acknowledge it because I couldn’t find that person’s name (even though they log these calls into their computer). Then when I asked her her own name, she didn’t want to give it to me! Finally I found someone else to talk to, someone who would actually listen and try to sympathize a little. I managed to get the matter resolved. I just hope someone, someday, gives that woman a good lesson in customer service, if you know what I mean.

    • DM says:

      skl- I read this one and thought- good for you- way to stand your ground and ask for her name and expect better treatment.

      • SKL says:

        I don’t do it as often as I should, DM. Even when I was young, my mom always told me, “always ask for the person’s name and write it down,” but I usually don’t think of it until after I hang up.

        But it is so weird nowadays, as I’ve asked people’s names several times and they don’t want to give them out. If you ask twice, they will give you a first name, ask three times and you might get a last initial. I wonder if they think we’re going to attack them in their homes or something.

  2. Oh, Joy, this sounds like it was a horrible experience. I feel like people like this simply enjoy power way too much – they feel that having power of any sort over other people is somehow making them better. The thing is that usually these pushy people don’t even have any real power, they just make themselves seem bigger and more important than they really are. It’s what makes them feel good about themselves I guess…

    I really hope you still have privacy and that enough of those tress are left there now to make it still feel cozy!

    By the way – that book you’re reading [“Will to Murder”] has an intriguing cover. Is it good?

    • Joy says:

      Hi Ilana, it’s so good to see you. I hope all is well with you. We have a lot of tree’s left and I’m thinking she “rethunk” things when she left here because it’s not that bad. I think she was just being extreme for the heck of it. It did really get to me though. I was upset FOR DAYS.

      I’ve loved reading that book. It’s a true story and it was very publicized in the 70’s when it happened here in Minnesota. It was a murder of a very wealthy woman and her daughter and son in law were tried for committing. A lot of people may have heard of this.

      I’m giving you a couple of links. I can’t get into explaining it. If you are interested in stories like this, I’d be more than happy to send you the book. I wish I could get rid of more of my books this way. Really, check out these links and let me know if it’s your cup of tea to read a book like this. It had me mesmerized.

      • nikki says:

        Have you even been inside the mansion? We should plan that some time. The last time we went I wanted to do that but it was closed!

        • Joy says:

          I never have. Can you believe how many times I’ve been up there and haven’t ever gone through it? Darryl has and he said it was awesome. I checked out that site while reading the book. I was curious and wanted better photo’s and they have scrap-booking/craft days offered and brunches and all kinds of things. I will for sure go there. We should all go up there together. Toby wants to see it too now.

          When they built that mansion in 1905 (don’t quote me on any of these numbers, the books upstairs and I’m to lazy to go get it but they are rounded off), it took 4 years to build. The average “lake-home” building price was $11,000. Glensheen cost almost 9 hundred thousand and if you were to build it today just the way it is it would cost 30 million. They were also very normal people and not snooty in any way. They left it to the University of Minnesota at Duluth.

          The history of the family and the mansion was part of the fun of the book. It was very good but very long and at times, tedious. It was mostly about the murder trials.

  3. Vicki says:

    the same lady was to my place, although she was polite and said they would be cutting a a 10 foot radius around the highline wires. i didnt have a problem with it cause they were all small scrub trees.
    they used to just trim the have decided to take them down all the way and it is true @ what she said in regards to how some of those trees got the bird droppings etc… i do understand why you wouldnt want these large trees chopped down, i myself probably wouldve had a problem with it.

    • Joy says:

      I realize she had a job to do but she just acted very bossy and like she was telling me what they could do whether we liked it or not and to threaten to leave me sitting here with no power in the middle of winter really made me mad.

      They wanted to cut down all the trees at the end of the barn almost to the middle of that field coming towards our house. We would have been able to see your whole property where now we only really see J&J’s house in the winter.

      I know we didn’t plant those tree’s but had they not been there and growing, we would have planted some there. It’s so nice not to see all those trucks going by all day long and the boats during the summer.

      I might add that she was really only like this the first time she came. Who knows, she may have been having a bad day or maybe she didn’t like the fact that we like our trees but that day, she certainly lacked any bedside manner.

  4. DM says:

    you handled it with a lot of self control and grace- she was pushing buttons that if I would have been in your shoes, I would probably went more ballistic than you.

  5. Laura says:

    “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~John Dalbert Acton

    • Laura says:

      Now that I have The Boy off to school, I can answer more fully…

      First thing that came to mind was that this woman works for the government, and she has a big stick to wield. I’ve had the same problem – a couple of summers ago, I noticed people IN MY DITCH swinging chainsaws and shovels. I went hiking down there and asked just what the heck they thought they were doing?

      The reply was similar to yours… a woman smaller than me gets up in my face and starts off with, “I have the authority of the county behind me and you can’t do a damn thing to me. This is a junk tree, and we WILL be removing it. You can’t throw me out, because this is county property, and if you try, I can have you arrested.”

      Amazingly enough, I had my wits about me that day. Usually something like this just totally throws me off my stride, but that day, I just looked at her and said, “I can see your truck, I know you’re from the county. Why are you in my ditch, cutting down my tree? And before you get all belligerent, I’d like you to remember that I never said a word about throwing you off the property. I just asked what you were doing, which is a perfectly reasonable question.”

      That calmed her down a bit, and she explained that it was her job to maintain the ditches, and they do a lot of mowing, silt removal, and occasionally, the removal of saplings, trees and bushes that may get in the way of drainage. I told her, “then it’s fine that you do the work. But let me leave you with this piece of advice… perhaps next time, you should send out a notice that you’re doing this, or somehow notify the landowners. Because the next guy might not be as nice as me… HE might be carrying a shotgun.”

      WE need to learn that if we don’t stand up to the government – and it’s just a bunch of people, when it comes down to it – they will continue to grow and run roughshod over us. That’s what this woman was doing to you… “I’m from the government, and therefore I’m right.” It’s power. People get high on that power, especially when they realize that just those four words can strike fear into the hearts of most people… “I’m from the government…”

  6. javajunkee says:

    oohh I cant’ stand this kind of shit!!

    my nephew and his wife had a house fire…thank God there wasn’t a LOT of damage..what caused it..the power wires were laying on their roof. It had been like this for years and nobody really thought anything about it. You naturally assume that your power company knows what can happen and so they aren’t concerned and you aren’t either. Well years and years of rubbing on the roof finally ignited a spark. Now GUESS whose job it is to bury the wires. Not the power company they are saying it’s my nephews job to pay to bury the wires???? WTF??? Oh he’s fighting it. Right away as soon as the fire department let them in the electric company went and put pads on the other neighbors houses who have the same wire on their roof thing going on. Now tell me how does this fall on my nephew…. yeah he’s not taking it so well and I feel sorry for anybody that gets to talk to him. A lawyer has already been contacted…he ran into a lot of “driver seat” people too..and like you he didn’t let them bully him.
    I think what happens is that they think EVERYBODY they talk to will just let them bully them and then when they run into somebody who won’t it throws them for a loop.

    • Joy says:

      Oh she also told me jj that we could have the lines buried AT OUR EXPENSE if we insisted on keeping the trees!

      I’m so sorry for your nephew.

  7. mssc54 says:

    In 1970 I planted an oak tree in our back yard (now my widowed mother is the only one who lives there). Now it would take at least four adults to hold hands to encircle the tree. Power lines run right through the back-side of the tree. Last year mom caught the power company’s subcontractors backing their big truck through the side yard (over her rose bushes too!) to “trim” the tree.

    Sufice it to say that mom got that big ol oak tree “manicured” and some new rose bushes too!

  8. kweenmama says:

    I’ve run into people like that too (one guy at the DMV comes to mind). They can be bullies, it is best to not take their guff, but do it in a way that still makes them feel “important” because that is what they obviously need. I’m glad the path cut wasn’t as bad as it originally seemed.

  9. Gary says:

    Some people just LOVE to throw their weight around like that. I would have got her name and made a few phone calls at minimum!

    I have a pretty bad temper when it comes to things like that and I think if someone came to MY property and talked to me like that she would find a size 11 shoe up her ass.

  10. nikki says:

    That makes me mad…that she treated you like that! I’ve never understood how people can act in such a holier than tho way. Like they have the upper hand, try to intimadate others with their “power.” It may be because they’ve dealt with such BS in the line of work that that has made them like this. Either way it’s not fair, especially to you! I cannot believe she said the trees were “garbage trees” anyway…since when is any tree a garbage tree!? I don’t know what if anything would happen if you were to call her supervisior, I’d lean towards nothing that would ever make her change her attitiude. So save your breath. I’m glad you didn’t lose your privacy…that’s the main reason you live there!

  11. javajunkee says:

    hey let’s think this out…how old are the trees and how old are the power lines? We could have them on fault of technicality here if the the trees were there BEFORE the power lines.

    • Joy says:

      Power lines were there first. It’s not as bad as she said it would be nor as bad as I thought it would be. If you didn’t know it was done, you probably couldn’t tell. I think she had a stick up her butt the first time she was here. She was a lot nicer the second time she came and wrote up the work order.

  12. javajunkee says:

    birds eat seeds and take’s an unperfect world…..they need to get over it and start burying all of their lines. Isn’t that what they get the big bucks to do? I know people in our town are in an uproar about the salary of those if they make an ungodly amount of money then they need to be doing their job..aka trimming trees.

  13. SKL says:

    I agree with Nikki, who is she to call them “garbage trees”? I’m offended on God’s behalf.

  14. Laura says:

    I think “garbage trees” are the ones that are either non-native or those that grow very quickly, propagate quickly, and therefore, tend to squeeze out the “good” trees, like oak, birch, and sugar maple, that grow much more slowly.

    I think box elders, some elm, and silver maple are all thrown into this category. There are a bunch of others, too, I just don’t know what they are.

    • SKL says:

      When they are “my” trees, I might be a little bit fond of them even if they did get their start in bird poop. Makes me wanna go to that lady’s house and inform her of everything I see there that I would consider “garbage.”

      If you’ve ever read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, maybe they are talking about that kind of tree. Still, any tree is better than no tree. Phooey on that garbage bag lady.

  15. Sue says:

    I still can’t believe you didn’t call or write to the power company to complain about their subcontractors! Ok, I can believe you didn’t, but you should have! How does a company know that their subcontractors are rude and inpolite to their customers if no one ever speaks up? Anyway, I’m glad you didn’t loose the trees like the stick up the butt lady said! They don’t look bad and you wouldn’t be able to tell it was done if you’d never seen them before.

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