Doofus Of The Day #961

‘Trust, but verify’ is an old Russian proverb often used by the late President Ronald Reagan.  It’s a motto that a couple in Modesto, CA, who are today’s award winners, might now be wishing they’d adopted.

A couple paid $100 to have a dead tree removed from their north Modesto front yard on Memorial Day. They now expect the botched job to cost them a few thousand.

Because the itinerant tree trimmer who came by Monday – proffering a business card that reads “Integrity Tree Service, owner and operator Miguel Morales” – apparently didn’t know much about the work he was doing. The man “offered to fell our dead tree. He did … onto our house and car,” Fernview Drive resident Jack Styer posted on Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods.

. . .

But even when the job went awry and a house gutter and the Mercedes ML350 SUV sitting in the driveway were damaged, the Styers paid Morales the $100 he’d asked.

“We told him we trusted him. We said we knew he’d come back to follow through,” said Mitzi Styer, looking over the damage Thursday morning. “… He was supposed to come back to repair the roof, but we haven’t seen or heard from him.”

In his Nextdoor post Wednesday night, Jack Styer wrote, “He said his friend would come by today and make arrangements to fix the house and he would pay for car damage. Right. Checked him out on DOJ website today. No license, no record. Called the number on his card – disconnected.”

There’s more at the link.

The credulity, the naivety, boggle the mind.  Not only do they not check up on the guy’s credentials, they actually pay him after he’d damaged their car and home, and take him at his word that he’ll come back to fix everything!

P. T. Barnum is alleged to have said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  This couple are a living demonstration of that theory in practice!



  1. Occasionally someone will post an add on CL offering free firewood. The catch of course is its a tree they want cut down and hauled off without paying a tree service to do it.

  2. Having just paid a man and his crew $3500 plus $20 tip handed to each man on completion of a satisfactory job removing seven large poplar and oak trees around/over my house, I can report that there are still good, hard-working crews out there. My wife and I marveled at how every man in the crew remained constantly busy during the day?-and a half job: carrying cut limbs, raking debris, helping each other as needed, but above all, supporting the boss in the 100-ft boom above. Not a penny changed hands until the job was completed to my satisfaction.of course, this is the Northern Neck.


  3. Leatherneck:

    Your description of a "good, hard-working crew" can be equally applied to an incompetent one.
    Last year, I observed the same thing while watching a tree service crew. However, the results showed that they were lacking in knowledge of how to do a good job. The trees were unbalanced and funny looking, and the topper was the unintended but foreseeable damage done to a large fig tree.
    A very long, heavy branch of the evergreen next to it had grown through the middle of the fig. They cut it at the trunk, dropping it on the fig, and then dragged it out of the fig before cutting it up. Several days later, a limb that constituted 1/3 of the fig, broke off. This is what took the brunt of the dropped evergreen branch. The homeowner couldn't even get them to return and remove the fallen section. Both trees are near fifty feet tall.

  4. If you've got a bucket truck, a modicum of common sense and the ability to operate a chainsaw you can remove almost any tree without too much trouble. Topping or trimming a tree properly is another matter entirely. Most of the tree trimming services I've seen working or had personal contact with have no clue how to trim a tree. Someone on my commute route just had their trees trimmed and they're basically bare trunks with the odd denuded limb here and there. Bet they paid handsomely for the butchery too.

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