November 25, 2021

Sewer Pipe vs Roots

The sewer pipe from our house to the street is almost a hundred years old.

It’s made out of clay so roots have been able to break through it in a few places and take up residence inside.

There’s a foam product that I’m supposed to flush down the toilet every six months to keep the roots from completely blocking the pipe but I always forget to do it.

So every few years - usually right before Thanksgiving - all the drains in the house (dishwasher, washing machine, sinks, shower, and yes, toilets) start backing up into the sink in the basement.

This is just as delightful as it sounds.

Located conveniently right next to the basement sink is a sticker with the phone number of the local sewer guy we always use.

And yesterday, I had to call that number.

Fortunately for me they were able to come out within the hour. This was a big relief considering it was mid-afternoon the day before Thanksgiving.

The repair was... eventful, but that’s a tale for another day. Long story short, they were able to get everything flowing smoothly. Phew!

Once they were done, we walked over to the van. The owner wrote me an invoice for $525 and I made out a check for that amount.

As we exchanged invoice for check, we both said "thanks!" and after a few more pleasantries, they rode off into the sunset.

Here’s the thing...

There are a few details about this story that I could call attention to:

But since today is Thanksgiving, I want to focus on the “double thank you” we exchanged when I paid them.

A double thank you is evidence that both parties profited from a transaction.

In our case, the owner wanted the $525 more than doing whatever it was he was doing when I called, and I wanted to be able to flush our toilets more than I wanted to keep my $525.

It’s critical to note that even though the money flows in only one direction (from buyer to seller), both parties profit from the exchange.

In other words...

You don’t take money from your clients.

They trade it with you for something they want more.