Hardly Any Civility, In Primitive Dickinson, North Dakota

About one month ago, I was ready to leave Dickinson.  The economy is not doing very well in Dickinson, work at my current job is slow, there are very few job openings, and there are very few good jobs.  The owner of the house where I live in Dickinson was behaving like he needed to have an involuntary medical and mental evaluation.  It appeared that it was time for me to go.

It was going to take me about three trips to drive my trucks, trailers, equipment, and personal belongings back to Idaho.  I moved one truck, and about half of my equipment back to Idaho in early March.  While I was back in Idaho, though the people were surprisingly friendly in comparison to North Dakota, and I wanted to stay, I realized that I could not stay.  Job openings and good jobs are still scarce in Idaho, and the wages are low.  I don’t really understand how everyone that I dealt with during my trip back to Idaho was so pleasant, helpful, and cordial, when they make barely enough or less than enough to get by.  The convenience store cashiers, fast food workers, restaurant workers, hotel clerks, hardware store employees, and the employees of other businesses were all friendly and helpful.  (This is civility, even though these people were just barely getting by financially, or making less than enough to get by, they were still pleasant, friendly, helpful, and cordial.)

Idaho was a little better and nicer than how I remembered it, so settled down and pleasant.  I began to think, and I became more and more convinced, that the hoodlums, dirt bags, drug addicts, and white trash must have mostly left Idaho and moved to North Dakota for the oil boom, and stayed there.

I did some work on my house in Idaho for a few days.  I knew that I had to drive back to Dickinson, North Dakota to either get more trucks, trailers, and equipment to bring back to Idaho, or stay in Dickinson and find another job.  My neighbors to the north of me in Idaho, they had left their home in Idaho in 2011 to go to work in Texas, because the wages were so low in Idaho.  They were still gone, leaving their home sitting there vacant, like I had been doing since 2011 also.

When I arrived back in Dickinson, North Dakota after being gone for about a week, the owner of the house where I live in Dickinson was on his best behavior.  Once it got to be about 9:00 p.m., he went to his bedroom and stayed there for the rest of the night, instead of yelling, screaming, and talking to himself in the living room all night.  I had worked with developmentally disabled people, mentally disabled people, and terminally ill people for about three years in the past.  These people can have hallucinations and delerium all night, for all kinds of reasons, and then be O.K. during daylight hours.  I don’t know many people that could have put up with this yelling, screaming, and talking to no one all night, for very long.  When it became too much for me, I tried to find someone that would let me park my two extra trucks and two equipment trailers on their farm property in Dickinson, so that I could move into an apartment. But not even people with 300 acres or 3,000 acres would let me park two trucks and two trailers on their property in Dickinson.  (This is a lack of civility.  In Idaho, people with a 1/4 acre lot would have tried to find a place for me to park one of my trucks and one of my trailers.)

After I was back in Dickinson for two weeks, a man called me to ask me if I could do some work for him.  I said to him that I had taken about half of my equipment back to Idaho, but I would look at what he had, and see what I could do.  I had been thinking to myself that I did not want to do any more self employment contracting work in Dickinson, North Dakota because I believed that the money was gone from here.  Though most of my customers in Dickinson had been nice to me, overall, I have a terrible opinion of the people in Dickinson because of so many bad experiences with the people here, and I did not want to do any more contracting work in Dickinson.  This is one reason why the first thing that I took back to my home in Idaho was my equipment, I did not want to do any work for the people in Dickinson any more.

I looked at what work the man needed done.  Though I wouldn’t have to spend all day at his house, the job would take up a whole day for me due to the amount of equipment that I would need to load, bring, unload, re-load, take home, and unload.  A lot of trouble, a lot of responsibility, a lot of liability, for not much money.  I did not want to do this job, but I gave him a price that would pay for my labor, with no profit.  I knew from the first time that I worked for him, that he was tight.

As we stood there beside his nice home, and his brand new car, I handed him my estimate.  He did not like my estimate, it was too high.  Keep in mind, as I have just explained, I did not want this job, it was too much trouble, responsibility, and liability for just a small amount of money, that was just for my labor, with no profit.  When you do contracting work, when you don’t wan to do a job, you double your estimate so that you don’t have to do the job, but I didn’t want to be rude or be an asshole.  (This is civility, trying to help and be polite to a customer, even though the job pays very little and you don’t want the job.)

When you do contracting work, you are never supposed to break down your work estimate into all the details, because it is not good business practice to show and explain all of your costs and expenses.  Explaining the details would allow someone else to start the same business, it leads to someone trying to do the work themselves when all of the details are explained, and it leads to the customer questioning and debating costs, including what you pay yourself for labor.  In this case, because I knew that this customer was so tight, I wrote out what all the costs were. I gave this customer the previous receipts so he could verify these costs, possibly try to do the work himself, or possibly try to get someone else to do the work.  As he could see, what was left over for labor was not very much.  He said that he had to think about this and get back to me, which meant he had to call some other people to get estimates.

What I did not tell this customer, was that in order to do this job, I was going to have to go buy $300 to $800 worth of equipment to replace the equipment that I had just taken back to Idaho.  The cost of this equipment was more than I would make on this job.  I would have to use this equipment on many more jobs in order to pay for it and actually make money with this new equipment, which would be speculating and taking a chance that I would have more contracting work in Dickinson.

Not wanting this contracting job, and not wanting to go buy equipment to replace the equipment that I had just taken back to Idaho, I went to a local equipment dealer in Dickinson where I had bought this same equipment for $800 last year.  The dealer had one piece of equipment that I needed the most, in stock for $350.  The second $450 piece of equipment was less critical for this job and he had several of these.  I explained to the equipment dealer that I had taken half of my equipment back to Idaho, that is why I needed to buy this same equipment again from him.  I said that I was waiting on the go ahead from the customer.  I asked the equipment dealer if he was likely to sell this piece of equipment in the next week, and he said no.  I asked him if he did sell it, how long would it take him to re-order it and get one here, he said three days.

I had been to this equipment dealer in Dickinson about five or six times in the past three years concerning equipment repair and replacement.  He had always been kind of rude to me. I thought that his attitude would change and be more positive after I began buying equipment from him, which I did on three occasions  Just in case the piece of equipment that I needed got sold, I went to other equipment dealers in Dickinson to see what else I could get that might work, though it wouldn’t be exactly what I wanted.

After about a week had passed since I gave the customer my estimate, which he thought was too high, he called me to tell me to go ahead and do the work.  I thought that he had had enough time to get other work estimates, which I believe he did, and mine was probably the lowest.  I had to arrange for a time when the homeowner would be home for me to do the work.

I went to the equipment dealer in Dickinson to buy the piece of equipment that I had looked at, and it was gone.  It had been sold.  I was frustrated because I had agreed to do this job, which I did not want, which would pay very little, and I had to buy new equipment, which I already had in Idaho, and this equipment cost more than I would make on this job, and now this equipment was not even available.  I was not rude, but I was upset, and I asked the equipment dealer how long would it take to order this equipment and get it to Dickinson.  The equipment dealer was rude, shitty, and hostile acting to me, so I told him I was sorry he no longer had the equipment, and I left.  (This is the primitive lack of civility in Dickinson.  I was there to buy equipment that the dealer had in stock, but he had sold it, so I wanted to order it.  This is completely backwards that a business owner would become rude, shitty, and hostile when you are trying to buy expensive equipment from him.)

I went to a few other businesses in Dickinson to see what I could get.  One equipment dealer in Dickinson had something that I could make work, but it was not what I wanted.  I bought two pieces of equipment, and took them back to the house where I live in Dickinson to start working on them.  I was working on these two pieces of equipment in the side yard, when I saw and heard a new Ford F250 diesel extended cab 4×4 try to drive as fast as they possibly could go, down the residential street in front of the house.

The speed limit in this neighborhood is 25 mph.  There are infants that were just born whose mothers push them down the street in strollers, toddlers that are just learning to walk that walk down to the end of their driveways, children that are just learning to ride their bicycles that ride in the street, high school kids that are just learning to drive, and elderly people in their 80s that slowly back out of their driveways that can’t see and can’t hear like they used to.  This was just the icing on the cake in Dickinson, some worthless, ignorant, uneducated, white trash, piece of shit oil field worker that has to drive his 7,000 lb truck up to 60 mph so that there is no way he could possibly stop in time to keep from hitting someone’s toddler, young child, high schooler, or elderly grandparents.  There is no civility here, the people are so ignorant and primitive.

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