Once upon a time in Dixieland, there lived 2 red heads ladies. When they went out in public, most waiters or sales people thought they were sisters. They both laughed at the same things – and had a very close body type. Both were very ”curvy”, or what is now called “apple shaped”. So even finding simple things, like a button down shirt became a long project. Hours and hours could pass, as they tried on clothes, looked in the unforgiving store mirror, and took them off in haste,always blaming those stick Asian women for the error in design. The excuses were many, does not cover the “girls”, color is wrong, but the most common, was “makes me look fat & frumpy”. The ladies found, a alliance in clothes shopping- it was “normal size ladies” against “ those non eating models types”. This endless battle, did not deter our brave redheads- they marched on ..to JC Penny, then Belk’s…
Both of these ladies had nicknames; Rebel, and Reluctant. From these 2 names, it would seem clear to most, they may view things differently, but with friendship being the tie – both ladies should have benefited from the balance of each other. Sadly, this was not to be the case, for Reluctant was missing one quality that Rebel possessed- it was called ‘trust’.
One day- in the kitchen, both of them sat, discussing how difficult it was, to be a woman, and a home owner. The amount of men in the contracting business that took advantage of women was staggering. It was like the “Wild, Wild West “ , only with a checkbook, instead of a gun. Both contractor & female home owner would meet – and the battle would start..all over the checkbook money. Later on the women would wish she had a gun ..
When Rebel said, she was starting the difficult process of finding a new, trustful contractor. Rebel used to rely on her ex husband, who was a sub contractor to ensure the work was done correctly and not get ripped off. Since this was no longer a possibility, Rebel found herself without an ally in this war zone. Rebel needed a roof, which was an expensive replacement. The only thing she remembered, was getting 3 quotes from different contractors. And to make sure, they were licensed to work in the business. Reluctant thought of a man-“Wolf”, who acted very trustful & and spoke very nice, and assured the ladies that he “was different” . Yes, he was different …he was a new kind of contractor- neither of them ever saw before.
Rebel meet Wolf, and discussed the repairs on her home. He was just as Reluctant said, he listened and told her, not to worry, that he can get a roof on, he could be trusted. He smiled as he poured on his southern charm. Knowing that both ladies has no idea of what was needed to repair a roof. He tested the ladies knowledge, by talking about a product called ‘ Gorilla Guard’ , nether of the ladies knew what that was for. Wolf smiled, and looked at his future prey, and accepted another cup of coffee. Rebel trusted Reluctant’s opinion of him, even though, there were some warning signs. One warning sign, – was Wolf’s refusal to write a quote for the pending work to be done. Rebel always trusted the 3-Quote–Rule. Rebel knew, somewhere in the middle of the 3 quotes, would be the true cost of the work. After repeated request to Wolf for this, Rebel grew wary. She did not want to insult anyone, but did express her concerns to Reluctant .
(no she did not look like this – but i thought, this is typical of a man’s view of the role)
The day finally arrived, after one week of waiting for the insurance lady (Nelly) to visit the home to inspect the damage. She drove up, in a mini van, and looked a bit off. Rebel greeted her, and invited her into the home. At once, you could see the rain damage that occurred in the living room, due to the roof leaking into the home. She sat on the brown wicker loveseat, with her notebook opened up. Her name was ‘Nelly”, and she was a medium built woman, with thin glasses rimmed in gold. She stood at 5’6”, with brown hair pulled back in a clip, and had a job, to do. Wearing jeans and simple blouse and heavy duty sneakers, which allowed her to walk in unusual places to inspect, no navy pumps for this lady!
Wolf & his knowledgeable assistant, and showed up an hour & half later. This is where the kill zone would take place- not with blood, but with words and money. Wolf & his asst. spoke to her in length, constantly, all the time – trying to gage the amount of the final check dollar. Up and up, went the dollars, all the while Rebel was left in the dark. Not understanding what was taking place. Nelly finally gave the men what they wanted – the total of the check would be 17,000 dollars. The men smiled and were very happy, for this was what they wanted, the drool dripped from their mouths. The assistant then turned his laptop around, and showed to Rebel, a figure of the repairs to Rebel. She would have to pay an additional 3,000 to them, to achieve the end result of fixing the problems.
The men left quickly, in their big shinny truck. On to the next sheep,or customer, for them to hoax. What happened was so quick – and so smooth, to give the impression that everything was legal. It was only when Rebel called Wolf again, to ask for a written quote, that the truth was finally spoken; Wolf snapped his response; “ I don’t have to give you a quote because all the insurance check is now MY Money”. Her heart sank- he informed her, that she signed a paper, which said on top it was a “Free quote”, but on the bottom, in section 10- there was a clause that gave Wolf all the money approved by the insurance company. She was upset, she borrowed money in advance to patch, prime & paint the damage, and now was going to be unable to pay any of that money back.
It looked like the game was over, except that Rebel attended church and had several ‘ Old Southern Guards ‘ ladies that took sympathy on Rebel. They came to her support, and scanned the contract and sent it to a lawyer member. Within 24 hours of this scan – the lawyer responded – the contract was FRAUD! I was to not speak to the Wolf anymore – and if he continued to contact me, I should tell Wolf to contact him. Rebel felt a huge weight lift off of her heart – Thank God – once again.
She recalls how her grandmother always told her ‘ God loves the Simple and the Stupid’ , membership in this group, was sealed – Rebel just never knew which one her grandmother was placing her in. It may have been both – depending on the day.
Rebel, moved forward – working with the new roofer- and slowly got her roof replaced. The grey tin roof looks great – it’s a very light grey , almost a white ! this is very helpful in reflecting back the sun – in the Charleston summer sun- where the temperatures reach over 115 degrees.
One night, Rebel received a call, from the President of ‘ABC Roof’, and he informed me, that Wolf is being charged in a class action suit. Wolf stole over 300,000 dollars worth of contacts using fraud methods. Mr. President, asked me to share my story- which I did, and I informed him, that I consulted a lawyer about the contract & contacted the South Carolina State License Office, and confirmed with them. Wolf is NOT a licensed contractor in the State. Mr. Smith in the SC office, was conducting the investigation in Columbia, and planned on fining him, with an order to cease acting as a contractor.
Mr. President asked me, if I could send him all documents I had, to help him with the class action against Wolf. He also asked me, if I would be willing to be a witness in this case. The amount of the money was growing & growing..and may reach a million dollars. I told him, if he paid for me to come back to Charleston, I would testify in this case. Wow – Rebel did not know, she was close to becoming a victim in Wolf’s fraud scam.
The ending of this story should be a happy one – Rebel was saved from the Wolf. She got her roof on, with a licensed & insured roofer, and is happy with the tin color. The insurance company is paying for most of the damage. Rebel found a good roommate, to help with the bills…BUT one part is not ending happy. It seems that Reluctant is upset with Rebel, and no longer speaks to her. The reasons are unknown, because the communication between the two has stopped. Rebel does not understand this behavior, and sent to Reluctant her Christmas gift in the mail- with a note- that Wolf is not a licensed or insured roofer, and not to use him. Rebel thought, that she would share this information with her, to save her the ‘fears & tears’, that she had.
Sadly, this is how the story is ending –Rebel is happy with her roof, & roommate BUT the future for Wolf – may be in a cage…