Monday, May 21, 2007


Finally I can exhale! After working 12 to 19 hours days since Sunday before last through last Friday, we passed every required inspections from city and county. The shop is officially good to start business.

Last week was quite brutal. After failing inspection 3 Fridays ago, I demanded an other inspection last Tuesday. The contractor did not show up for 4 days although promised me to be working on Sunday (mother's day), of course I didn't find any body at the shop. I had it with Marco, my generosity and patience were taken for granted. I called Sunday and Monday, no answers no return calls. I gave up. To me that's a termination of contract. Chris (works for Marco) later informed Tim the plumber Marco is working on another project and would not be showing up on Wednesday. I really don't care at that point. My priority is to pass inspection and open my door. Obviously his priority is another project which might bring him more money. I can understand how that can be his priority, but it's conflicting with mine, which he's not delivering results according to our contract on time. Friday (9 days later) was the first time I spoke to him, he told me he couldn't get in touch with me. What a bunch of bull! I told him I stopped payments of the extra $6500 he asked for and the contract is terminated. I changed the locks the same day. Chris called and threaten to file petition to keep me from opening. First of all, I did not sign the contract with Chris, he's not a partner legally on paper yet. Why the hell he has a saying in this other than trying to intimidate me like a bullie?! Second, if they try anything at all legally or illegally, I make sure they'll loose their pants, not only they won't be able to keep the money I paid in full (including works they did not complete), they will be responsible for loss of revenue, all expense incurred during the 1.5 months delay, money now I chipped out of my own pocket for the remaining works done by Tim and legal fees. I would also file complain at the Better business bureau, they will be audited and possibly lose their license. I would leave comments on line warning others about their services. I do not hesitate to take out my claws when I have to.

I feel I am more than generous with Marco, checks were made ahead of scheduled payments. I even gave him a free Los Cabos vacation package as a personal gratitude. Despite common sense of not to pay contractors until everything's done, I naively believe in good nature of human, believing others will treat me the same as I treat them, that I will not be taken advantage of if I don't take advantage of others. Especially I had a decent relationship with Marco. Every body needs money some time in their lives, if I can open my door, I really don't mind paying. Money has no value for mere accumulation of money. That's my philosophy. It took Marco 2 months to earn my trust, and took him only 2 days to loose it. There is a bottom line, my patience can only go so far, and to be honest, it's been far more than the norm. The livelihood of my business is my responsibility, when the people I rely on to work for me is no longer reliable, it's up to me to make things happen without them. I am not even a bit sorry. No one deserves pay for works they didn't do!

As a result of this, I told my mall manager about this incident, Marco will not be hired to build a restroom in the mall. I am not sorry, in fact it's my obligation to inform her, so she can keep her job rather than getting F@#$ by Marco's lack of work ethic. I tried helping him obtain as many jobs as possible through my connection previously. He's the one who turned away the opportunities.

Tim the plumber came to rescue, he showed up at 4:30 pm on Mother's day and we started working non-stop till Thursday afternoon (the day we passed health inspection). Building inspection was passed the very next day. He will be rewarded for what he had done for me. So far Tim is the most reliable person I had worked with.

The sign guy who took my money paid me back only portions of the deposit. When I asked him for the rest, he said I am tight with money right now, won't be able to pay me back for a while. It has been 1.5 months! Why why why???? Why men do not live up to their words? Why men make promises that they can't keep??? That's my retirement money I worked hard for, which he took advantage of and now he won't pay up!!!!!! DA F%$#!!!! All the bull shit about him being brought up in South Africa with good integrity, good ethic, good moral, good value, his behavior is the opposite of them all. Just like Marco, bsing about how responsible he is, for his clients, his family, his oversea family and blah blah blah... I have no one to blame but myself for believing them. Shame on me?


MarshalN said...

Hmmm, congrats!

I hope all will go well :)

Imen said...

thanks Marshaln... :)

Nikhil said...

Sorry to hear of your troubles with contractors. Seems they are all the same no matter where you are.

Btw, where is your tea shop? I gathered it's in a mall? I used to work in Sherman Oaks a few years ago and know that part of LA well - is it somewhere around there? I'll have to drop by next time I'm in LA.

Keep the faith!

~ Phyll said...

Are there female contractors out there??? In this day and age, there must be.

Nikhil -- Imen's shop is probably about, oh, 30 to 40 miles South of Sherman Oaks, where (you know) I live.

Davelcorp said...

Imen, I've been following your tale of abuse with incredible sympathy for you. I'm so glad you have survived the process.

Congratulations on getting through all of the bureaucratic crap! I look forward to visiting your shop next time I'm down south.

Imen said...


It has been a roller coaster ride.

My shop is in Palos Verdes, in the south bay area. I look forward to sipping a cuppa when you are in town. :)


Imen said...


I have heard of such phenomenon, but hard to come by. If you know some one, please send her my way. :)

Imen said...


Thanks for reading my whining and complains. I am grateful for your support and kindness. You are welcome here any time, and I look forward to sipping a cup of tea with you when you are in town. :)

MarshalN said...

What's the shop going to be called?

Imen said...


Tea Habitat, a place for tea only.

Chinese name is ζŸ’ζœˆθŒΆθ»’.