Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Doing Business Kosovo Style

This weekend, my landlady brought over a plumber/electrician/jack-of-all-trades to fix some problems in the bathroom of my flat.  But there was something wrong with the picture when he arrived with the landlady and they began to work in the bathroom.  Then when the landlady asked me if I had any screws and a screwdriver, I figured out what was wrong.  The guy came without any tools or equipment!  How on earth did he expect to be able to fix anything without tools?  Luckily I had the screwdriver he needed and the landlady was able to scrounge up the screws from her flat.  This is not my first experience with workers showing up to a job without the necessary tools.  In fact, slowly but surely my collection of tools has disappeared into the back pockets of all the workers that have shown up at my flat to do something and failed to bring anything with them other than their wallets :P 
Probably my most interesting experience was back when I lived in Gracanica.  Basically, I decided that the hot water tank needed to come out of the shower because I didn't feel like electrocuting myself while bathing.  The hot water tank is located inside the shower area of many a flat in Kosovo and most are probably safe enough but in my old place in Gracanica, the power cord was not contained in the wall but was hanging outside the wall.  So I asked the landlord to bring an electrician or plumber to move the tank into the storeroom next to the bathroom.  Naturally the guy showed up without tools!  I was able to find the variety of different sockets and screwdrivers the guy needed to complete the job.  Unfortunately, I didn't have the necessary brackets or screws however to mount the tank on the wall of the storeroom (silly me!) so the guy decided to leave the hot water tank sitting on the floor of the storeroom upside down!

Now, most elementary children know that heat rises so I'm not exactly sure what the worker expected to happen when he set up the tank upside down...maybe the hot water would magically sink to the bottom of the tank and the freezing cold water would float to the top to heat up??? Yeah, didn't happen...So for a couple of days (before really giving it to the landlord and demanding that the worker or someone else come back to fix the so-called installation) I had warm water for about two minutes into the shower before the heated water was exhausted and the bone chilling water came shooting out of the faucet.