Cheap Work With A High Price Tag [Daily Game]

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I live in a building whose construction was completed less than three years ago. That’s pretty close to new. No one had lived in the unit before we moved in. This is the second “new” place I’d ever moved into; I like new places as there’s no previous-person dust and dirt to deal with (the move-out cleaners aren’t to be trusted). Anna is a clean freak though; moving in here was much less cleaning work (I think) than our previous move-in. But you’d have to ask her.

Anyway, with a new place, you’d half-expect stuff to last longer and be sturdier than something lived-in and used.


Lightbulbs, assumed to be new, shouldn’t blow out as quickly. All screws, nuts and bolts should be tight. Repeated-use items, like door handles and sink faucets, should have plenty of life in them.

At our last place, for example, the under-the-kitchen-sink area had to be completely replaced; we luckily knew someone who could fix it (for a price). The malfunctioning balcony door, though was a $700 job. The owner paid for it, but was unhappy that I’d made the executive decision on who would fix it without consulting them first (I paid them and charged it against the rent). Not being able to close your door during the summer in Miami when you live next to water is not a pleasant situation (unless you enjoy mosquitos). The owner didn’t give a damn who fixed the door; what they really wanted was to go as cheap as possible on the repair.

Oh well.

Coming home to my current place last week, I put my key in the lock… and the key would not turn. It didn’t make sense; I had just used the lock earlier that day with no problem. Lucky for me, someone was home and I could get inside, where I tried again to get my key to turn.


I googled and YouTubed fixes for the lock. Bought a new can of WD-40 to spray into the key space.

Still nothing.

I tried taking the lock apart and stalled relatively early in the process, lacking lock-dismantling tools.

Finally, a locksmith was called (who charged twice what the receptionist quoted, for what it’s worth). He explained and showed to me how the pieces that made up the lock didn’t even match, and how the installation of the lock never engaged the deadbolt (which it’s supposed to). I asked the locksmith how this was possible, given that the place was new construction.

“Cheap labor, man.”

For Your Game

  1. The locksmith explained to me how builders of tall condominiums hire “$10/hour construction workers” who are highly unskilled and don’t know what they’re doing, who subsequently do a shitty job of installing things. While this ends up costing owners more money in the long run, the builders and owners are much more concerned with “finishing” the job and opening/selling/renting their spaces than they are with doing a solid job.

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