It’s just a piece of pipe…

13 Jun 2018 Plumbing

I heard a story the other day that made me stop and think about why we do some of the things we do.  It was one of those days where all the technicians were out in the field, busy with calls and the phones were quiet for the moment.  With a little rare downtime a few of the office staff were shooting the breeze.  One of the guys mentioned something about having to replace a showerhead for a customer and he started to laugh to himself.  I asked what was so funny and he said he was just remembering the time when he and his Dad had an argument about a shower head.  I was curious and asked to hear the rest of the story.  Here’s what he related:

About 35 years ago he hired a contractor to build his first house.  The deal was that from the outside, the house would be complete, right down to the trim and final paint.  The inside was to be left wide open with only bare stud walls.  The plan was that he and his Dad were going to finish the inside.  Dad was a pretty good carpenter and an excellent cabinet maker and he saw this as a great way to not only have some quality Father/Son time but also to learn some valuable life lessons about building and maintaining a home.

Well it seems everything went along great for weeks as the inside of the house came together.  When they got to the bathroom however, that’s where Father and Son butted heads.  The reason for the conflict was the height of the shower head.  You see, Dad was about 5’-9” and Son was a good 6’-3”.  The conversation went something like this:

Son:  “OK Dad, I want the shower head to be about right here.” (pointing to a spot over his head that would be at about 6’-10”

Dad: “Nope, that won’t work.  It needs to be right here.” (pointing to a spot at about 6’-0”)

Son: “No, I want it up here.  I don’t want to bend over in my own house to wash my face and hair.  I want the shower head high enough that I can stand up straight and take a shower.”

Dad: “Well that’s not going to work.  It needs to be where I showed you.  That’s where it always goes”

Apparently the discussion went back and forth for a period of time with neither one giving in to the other until finally Son blurted out: “Dad, it’s just a piece of pipe.”  With that, Dad’s eyes lit up and he started to smile.  You see Dad was from the old school where you did things the way they had always been done.  A time when you did not question why, you just got the job done.  And, with the difference in their height, Dad never had the showering experiences that Son had so the old way worked just fine for him.

When he finished his story I starting thinking to myself how many times during the day do I do things just because that’s the way they’ve always been done?  I think the next new shower we install I’m going to be aware of how tall my customer is and ask him just where would he like his shower head located?  After all, it’s just a piece of pipe.


Plumbing – The “Rodney Dangerfield” Profession

10 Jan 2018 Plumbing

Try this word association test; what’s the first picture that comes to mind when you read these words: Doctor…. Lawyer… School Teacher… now Plumber?

So when you read the word Plumber, how many of you had this picture just pop into you mind?  Come on, be truthful.  Here’s a hard working guy doing his best to stop the flood in your kitchen, working really hard to do his job, and just because his t-shirt is just a bit short, the whole profession gets labeled with this mental image.  Why do plumbers “get no respect?”

But seriously, there are more things in common with the professions listed above than you may realize.  For instance, did you know that to work in Texas, just like the other professions, plumbers have to be licensed by the State?  That’s right, even a helper has to have a license to work in the plumbing industry.  Texas issues 4 different licenses in the plumbing profession.

The first license is the Apprentice license.  There are no requirements other than you must be at least 16 years of age, sponsored by an employer and pay the license fee to be ready to go to work with a Texas plumbing company.  It all starts here, the ground floor of plumbing.

The second license is a Tradesman license.  A Tradesman can be the lead plumber on residential applications only.  He must have at least 4,000 hours (approx. 2 years) on the job training, complete at least 24 hours approved classroom training and pass a license exam.

The third license is the Journeyman license.  A Journeyman must be at least 18 year old, have completed at least 8,000 hours (approx. 4 years) on the job, complete at least 48 hours approved classroom training and pass a license exam.  A Journeyman is licensed to be the lead plumber on any job, residential or commercial.  Beginning at this level, a high school diploma or a GED is required.

And the fourth license is the Master Plumber’s license.  At this level, the requirements and testing are through and intense.  You must be a licensed Journeyman for typically 4 years before testing for a Master license.  That works out to about 16,000 hours (approx. 8 years) on the job training.

Your Plumber does not have thousands of dollars of debt due to student loans nor did he spend years in a classroom listening to lectures to become a plumber.  Instead, he earned his degree on the job in real time.  His education is in the real world.  So the next time you pick up the phone due to a plumbing emergency, know that the professional who shows up at your home or business is 100% qualified for the task at hand.  And we beg your pardon in advance for any unintentional wardrobe malfunctions.

For you youngsters out there, Rodney Dangerfield was a comedian best known for his line, “I don’t get no respect. No respect at all.”