There’s a couple phenomena’s in your pest control route that we seldom talk about and that’s probably for a good reason. There’s really nothing you or I can ever do to change em. What’s more, I don’t know if anyone has ever been willing to try.
Oh sure it might not be as important as figuring out where on your truck to store your glue boards so they don’t melt. It’s not as excruciating as your coffee taking a tumble and the steaming hot brew seeps into your lap. It’s not a shoes on shoes off decision or even that classic mind battle of do I tell them that their last services check was a dollar light? No, in the grand scheme of things, this doozy is pretty much a non event. BUT, as seldom as it happens, if you couple this occurrence with another certain situation. Now you can have a whole other affair & this one can have long lasting effects.
In pest control it just seems that every route is going to have its fair share of key accounts. If not homes then apartments are often the source of empty places where service must be rendered. In my route, (in fact just today) I might do 10 or more key accounts. I either have the key or they’ll leave it in just the most cleverest of places where no robber would ever look. hahahhahah hohohohohohoho eeehheeeeheheh–eh, em, excuse me–anyway. The thing is, I never really know if the owner is home or not so each and every time I enter I find myself shouting out… “BUG DOCTOR–PEST CONTROL.” With no answer I’m temporarily satisfied but as I round each corner or come to a shut door I again announce.. “BUG DOCTOR–PEST CONTROL.” Like I said, kind of mundane & I do get bored not only with no one to talk to but also shouting out the same thing over and over. but wait, the 2nd phenomenon cometh.
Back when Saturday Night Live was funny, they did a skit where the city was being terrorized by a ‘land shark’. This shark always knocked on the door and announced himself. Just like you announce yourself he’d say “Land Shark,” and then when the people opened up– he ate them. Well, warnings were broadcast on the radio and TV for folks not to answer their door when they heard it was him. But the land shark was pretty smart and he began changing his announcement to fool the people and get them to open the door. Now to get in he’d cry out, “Pizza, Cable, Telegram” or just anything to get his meal..(dumb people always fell for it)…
So in the spirit of land sharks everywhere and to try and liven up my day, I too, occasionally change up what I say when I service a key account. Do you? I say “Bug man, Pest Tech, Associate Certified Entomologist, Pest Detective, Spray Man and many other things. And once in a great while- when I know I’m all by myself- I might yell- “Telegram, Pizza, Process Server, Land Shark.” But that’s very few and far between and only when I’m really bored.
Well, like I said, this phenomena is about as exciting as reading a MSDS for Terro, BUT!
This second happenstance doesn’t occur all the time but enough where I’m always wary of the possibility. Your going through the empty abode and announcing yourself as you always do. “Bug Doctor, Pest Control,” as you make your way from the front door towards the kitchen. Again you announce “Bug Man” as you shine your light through the dining and living rooms. You call out “Pest Control” and you make your way around the fireplace toward the hall. Coming to the first bedroom door you tap lightly and say once again, “Pest Control.”
So far it’s just been a routine service but the cat seems annoyed that you’re breaking the afternoons silence. You check the cabinets in the hall bathroom, treat what little you can in the sons room because of the mess. You take a minute to look at his risqué posters on the wall and remember not so long ago he had Spongebob up there. (my how time has flown) Down the hall but by now you’re satisfied you’re all alone (if you don’t count the cat), you push open the master bedroom door and BAAAAAAM! Right In Front Of You! Someone’s in that bed and SLEEPING! Nothing could’ve prepared you for this and you are immediately filled with shock and your brain goes from dull and mundane into overdrive. You quickly, quietly, shut the door and now your routine slow paced service is suddenly a rush for the door. You still have the garage to do, the lanai and ‘dammit’ you have a note on your route sheet to fog the attic. So now you have to go back out to your truck, get the ladder and fire up that loud fogging machine.
You start to worry if he/she will wake up and if they do what might happen. Will they think you’re an intruder? Will they be mad? Will you see more of your customers physique then you ever wanted? So now, like a ninja, you move with utmost quiet. You don’t call out anymore and you hurry through as fast as you can trying not to make a sound. You even pull the perforated service ticket apart slowly so the ripping sound won’t echo through the house- the cat’s now wondering what you’re doing and gives you a look as if you were a crazy person. Finally you pull the door shut for the final time, turn the key and breathe a sigh of relief. Try getting that out of your head before the day’s end!
Just how can people sleep through that? I mean I don’t yell at the top of my lungs but I’m loud enough I’m sure where there’s no mistake- I’m in that house. Plus I talk to the animals (cats hate that), whistle, open and shut cabinets, pull out couches, etc. etc., and all the while announce myself at every turn. Still, every once in a blue moon, with all that. I just get to feeling comfortable and barge into a room and there someone is! Sawing logs to high heaven and they are blissfully oblivious I’m inside their home. For me it ruins the next two months of key accounts as my paranoia gets the best of me with every stop. I’m just sure someone inside and I’ll come across them and bad things might happen. Now it really rattles me when I spook them and THEY DO WAKE UP. Now after that happens I’m even knocking on pantry doors to make sure they’re vacant. Nothing worse than a 1/2 (or whole) naked person springing out of bed, their hair looks like Charles Manson’s and they either scream or shriek as they reach for their glasses and I’m thinking gun or bat and I could be in trouble.
So far in my almost 30 years nothing too terrible has ever come upon me with these two phenomena’s. After the shock and the paranoia wears off- it’s great fodder for the water cooler at the shop. That may change however one of these days. The day I let my guard down and just for fun, push open a door saying…………. “Land Shark”— and then I get eaten.