It’s interesting what motivates people to buy pest control service. In the spring homeowners can’t get to their check books fast enough to stop the swarm of termites coming out of their walls. When large yellow spots on brand new sod appear there is little hesitation to call anybody with a spray gun and when mice droppings by the hundreds are left behind marking a trail of where a furry little critter was all last night the housewife forgets all about her budget and frantically paces back and forth, check in hand, waiting for the bug man to pull in the drive.
Just this week I had such an encounter and oddly enough it came from a current client; a restaurant that we already service twice per month called our office and asked if it would be alright to start having weekly service and could we just add that to the bill. “Whoa, slow down say that again” I told my secretary when I first heard the news. Normally when we get a call like that it’s because things have gotten out of control or a breakdown in communication has occurred. No one wants extra service unless there is a problem and the extra service they want, they want for free.
For a little background we had just taken this account over and they had a moderate roach problem but nothing to severe I thought. I guess for a food establishment even one is to much especially if you’re the one with a menu in your hand. I priced it according to my normal standards and we were about 1/3 higher than what they were paying but they still signed on. Since then they have been very happy and more cooperative than many of our other restaurants. About 3 weeks ago they had a mouse sneak in and we went out and got 3 of them on sticky pads and thought that was the end of that. The manager however continued to find a few droppings here and there but each time we went out there was absolutely no signs of mouse activity. The cleaning crew of course swept up what they found but a good bug guy knows where to look to find other evidence but there was none. Things got quiet for about a week and I thought the mouse might have died but lo and behold the manager found more droppings. This time when he called is when he said he wanted to increase their service like I mentioned above.
Now we did try to talk them out of this decision albeit not real convincingly, in this economy I’m not turning much away. He assured us he was very happy with the program and the pest service is the best they’ve ever had. It’s just that this mouse that won’t go away has reminded them of where they were and they don’t want to fall into that disarray ever again. Weekly treatments they decided would be their best bet to maintain the highest level of control.
The very next morning I headed out but I had to make it much earlier than normal to fit my schedule. I let myself in with the key (I told you they were cooperative) and the place was dead quiet. A couple of roaches in the dishwashing area and a few in a drain on the receiving line but that was about it. No mouse, no droppings and not so much as a gnaw mark on the fallen dinner rolls I found underneath a prep table. Knowing that this mouse so concerned my customer I just had to find something, anything that I could report that would give us all a little hope especially since it added about $3000.00 to the annual contract. Almost ready to give up I came across a few odd looking droppings under a steam table. It wasn’t like any mouse dropping I’d seen and not really like a rat although it was about the same size. Not mentally on all cylinders yet so early in the morning I didn’t recognize the fecal matter until I found the culprit. There he was clinging to a oven rack stored between two tables. A very large, tannish colored frog staring back at me and blinking profusely trying to keep my flashlight beam out of his eyes.
It was about this time when employees started showing up to begin their day and the manager who almost never comes in that early was there as well eager to hear of my findings. I was somewhat relieved that I could tell him I found the answer but I worried he might just want to go back to regular visits and take with him my little bonus for the year. To my surprise he got a huge look of relief on his face when I told him the news. In a kind of ‘duh’ moment he realized that I was right and told me he sees those same droppings at his house all the time and he knows they come from frogs. Add to that, the waitresses said they had been seeing a frog all that time. We both chuckled and I guess the frog used the diversion to his advantage and escaped to some unknown hiding place.
Still waiting for the words of demotion I headed toward the back door and the manager called out, “see you next week,” smiled and waved. Like I said, it’s interesting what motivates the buying decision in people and in this case it turned out to be one very expensive frog.