A couple of months ago I went on an appointment with someone. He'd called the previous week and had passed my phone test. When I get a phone call I think I do a pretty good job of explaining who I am and what I do. I usually throw some budget numbers around in that initial contact to let people know that I'm a value proposition, not necessarily a low-cost one. If you want a cheap renovation, I'm not your guy. If you want a great one, then please please please call me.
Anyhow, I walked into his home and was immediately assaulted by an odor so foul I nearly turned around and left on the spot. However, I'd driven a half hour to get there and I'd at least hear the man out. It smelled like a land fill in there. A landfill with under tones of an unwashed body and an end note of a wet golden retriever. Welcome to my nightmare.
In addition to living in a pig sty, the man was unpleasant and demanding. He asked me for a ball park number on the spot. I never play that game but I had to get out of there pronto. I looked at him and just told him I wasn't interested.
Strangely, the whole interaction was exhausting, all ten minutes of it. I was mortified by how the guy lived but at the same time, it was so clearly the result of some kind of pathology. Some small part of me wanted to fix up his place for him and by extension, fix up his life. But I learned a long time ago that I can't do that with the people I care about, let alone with total strangers.
So I drove home, took a shower and wiped out my refrigerator. I figured I'd clean up after myself since I can't clean up after strangers. I'm not a real sensitive guy, but that guy's mess took a toll on me.
I don't know, I am in and out of other people's houses all the time. I have seen it all and I really do keep a nearly clinical detachment. People who call me want my help so I usually don't pay a whole lot of attention to their housekeeping. But this one was beyond anything I'd ever come across though. What would you do?