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Thread: Lawn maintenance/moral dilemma

  1. #1
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    Lawn maintenance/moral dilemma

    I have a friend from another forum who posted this, what do ya'll think?


    "So today i planned on mowing my lawn, weed-eating, and general yard maintenance. A few minutes before I was getting ready to go out and start working, this little boy (around 12) and his mom knock on my door. The mom gives a spiel about trying to teach her son the value of a dollar and how he needs to work for his money.

    So the boy asks me if he can mow/weed-eat my lawn for $20 (my lawns not small but not huge). I say yes because it both saves me the work and teaches the kid a lesson. So after hes done, i pay him and they leave. i go out and look at my lawn and he did a completely ****** job. there were a few missed spots, tons of clumps of grass, the lines were super crooked, etc...

    So ST, should i do it myself from now on and have it pretty much perfectly how i like it, or should i keep paying this kid to do it, and give him some pointers along the way on how to do a better job? I cant knock a kid for earning his money in stead of being a spoiled brat, but i really dont want my lawn to look ****** either.

    tl;dr (too long; didn't read) young kid mowed my lawn, did ****** job. let him do it again or do it myself?"

  2. #2
    Regular Member VW_Factor's Avatar
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    If he did a ****** job, lesson learned here is.. He won't continue doing work for you.

    What is the moral dilemma?

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    I see two reasonable options:

    1. Tell him that his job was substandard and that you will not hire him again. (Hopefully, he offers to do it again for free to establish his value to you.)

    2. Tell him that his job was substandard, but that you will allow him to cut your grass next week and that you will pay him once the job is done to your satisfaction.

    In either case, be as clear and objective as to what standards he needs to (or failed to) meet. He probably has not a lot of experience and has no idea what would constitute a "good job." If he has any sense of responsibility to others, he will still be somewhat incompetent, but, at least, will continually improve.

    I would see this as an opportunity to help build a man--and jump all over that chance. Someday, I will have to depend on that man--or on another one similarly built by another patient adult. I hope he is there and has been built.

    Be prepared. Despite your best efforts, this kid may remain one who can only see self. You may have to turn your efforts to another project (and cut your own grass).

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    Regular Member HKcarrier's Avatar
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    I think it should be pointed out what your expectations are. YOu don't expect him to read your mind do you?

    Also, he's 12.

    I would bring up that the last time you thought his job could have been better. Then tell him you would like to give him another chance but you hope that he will take your pointers and you will pay him when you're satisfied.

    Don't beat him up or dishearten him.. he probably doesn't know any better... just tell him there's certain ways of doing things, and there's a right way and a wrong way.... etc..

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95
    2. Tell him that his job was substandard, but that you will allow him to cut your grass next week and that you will pay him once the job is done to your satisfaction.
    In either case, be as clear and objective as to what standards he needs to (or failed to) meet. He probably has not a lot of experience and has no idea what would constitute a "good job."
    Quote Originally Posted by HKcarrier
    I think it should be pointed out what your expectations are. YOu don't expect him to read your mind do you?
    I would bring up that the last time you thought his job could have been better. Then tell him you would like to give him another chance but you hope that he will take your pointers and you will pay him when you're satisfied.
    What they said. Give him another chance, and be very clear about expectations.
    If he comes reasonably close, give him another chance.
    If he keeps coming closer to your ideal, keep giving him chances.
    Last edited by MKEgal; 05-10-2011 at 05:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    What they said. Give him another chance, and be very clear about expectations.
    If he comes reasonably close, give him another chance.
    If he keeps coming closer to your ideal, keep giving him chances.
    Yep. That's how you turn a child into a man.

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    Regular Member KYKevin's Avatar
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    I was mowing lawns at that age. And I can tell you people would tell me if there was something not to their liking or if they wanted something done differently. This is a good time to help teach him.

    Now if I can find some 12 year old sucker to mow my yard and get rid of this poison ivy I got. Bloody vines on the trees out back are the size of quarters and growing up the trees like trees themselves. And brush killer just makes them angry.
    Last edited by KYKevin; 05-10-2011 at 06:39 PM.

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    If mom wants to teach him, then ethic is part iof that. Get together with mom, discuss it with her, and the two of you can teach the kid. If she doesnt go for it, dont have him back.

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    Regular Member bom1911's Avatar
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    It's good to hear that there are parents who still give a crap what there kids do. I agree with the others. Give him another shot, and make your expectations clear. Then it's up to the kid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stainless1911 View Post
    If mom wants to teach him, then ethic is part iof that. Get together with mom, discuss it with her, and the two of you can teach the kid. If she doesnt go for it, dont have him back.
    Ethics. And, quality control. Customer expectation, etc. And, their effect on being hired the next time.

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    I'd give him another shot. I learned to mow grass when I was 7 and was weedeating by age 10. A 12-year-old is more than capable of doing an acceptable lawn mowing job. Age is certainly not a limitation, but it's great that he's able to have the opportunity to learn the value of a dollar.

  12. #12
    Regular Member sharkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Yep. That's how you turn a child into a man.
    inch by inch

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot2A View Post
    I have a friend from another forum who posted this, what do ya'll think?


    "So today i planned on mowing my lawn, weed-eating, and general yard maintenance. A few minutes before I was getting ready to go out and start working, this little boy (around 12) and his mom knock on my door. The mom gives a spiel about trying to teach her son the value of a dollar and how he needs to work for his money.

    So the boy asks me if he can mow/weed-eat my lawn for $20 (my lawns not small but not huge). I say yes because it both saves me the work and teaches the kid a lesson. So after hes done, i pay him and they leave. i go out and look at my lawn and he did a completely ****** job. there were a few missed spots, tons of clumps of grass, the lines were super crooked, etc...

    So ST, should i do it myself from now on and have it pretty much perfectly how i like it, or should i keep paying this kid to do it, and give him some pointers along the way on how to do a better job? I cant knock a kid for earning his money in stead of being a spoiled brat, but i really dont want my lawn to look ****** either.

    tl;dr (too long; didn't read) young kid mowed my lawn, did ****** job. let him do it again or do it myself?"
    I would have checked the results before paying him. Then, have him correct the parts that weren't done satisfactorily, keeping in mind he's only 12, not some lawn care service. If he does a reasonable job, now he knows what you expect, I'd hire him again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KYKevin View Post
    Now if I can find some 12 year old sucker to mow my yard and get rid of this poison ivy I got. Bloody vines on the trees out back are the size of quarters and growing up the trees like trees themselves. And brush killer just makes them angry.
    Get a goat; they'll clear out poison ivy lickety-split! We had a pygmy goat in Oklahoma that cleared all the poison ivy off about 10 acres. I don't know why they like it so much, but it was her favorite snack.

  15. #15
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    $20

    Send him to me! I have a similar yard and I've been quoted by adults for over $300! Even a lousy job at $20 I could deal with. Maybe in the future supervise him and give some pointers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavalryman View Post
    Get a goat; they'll clear out poison ivy lickety-split! We had a pygmy goat in Oklahoma that cleared all the poison ivy off about 10 acres. I don't know why they like it so much, but it was her favorite snack.
    lol I would love that but here in the city I think they might frown on me having a goat. I am sure someone would complain. I have also heard they love the stuff.

  17. #17
    Regular Member jbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VW_Factor View Post
    ...What is the moral dilemma?
    Maybe it was do play father figure and use the kid to get mom in the sack?

  18. #18
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    When I was a teenager, I mowed a LOT of yards. I bought my first computer (and Apple II+) in 1986 with money saved up from mowing yards for two summers...

    And even though I was fastidious with my work, bordering on OCD, and always got lots of compliments, tips, and recommendations, and had a steady stable of repeat customers for 4 years, I never had a single customer pay me in advance. Even the old family friends who knew and trusted me implicitly with their yardwork would pay me AFTER the work was done and they looked over the yard and edging.

    And I never once felt insulted or untrusted. In fact, knowing that the money was contingent on my performance drove me to be such a perfectionist. I always got paid the quoted amount--and OFTEN got tips, and in most cases of long-term customers, I got a "bonus" at the end of the summer too.

    My dad taught me how to mow and preen a yard. And he was a BIG proponent of the "do it again until it looks right" school....

    Give the kid another shot--but give him some pointers, and discuss it with his mom first. Let her know you really admire what she's doing--teaching him the value of good work--but also let her know that the first job was not up to spec. Offer to give him some pointers and guidance. You will be passing on valuable knowledge, the kid will learn some VERY valuable skills (basic geometry and mathematics, and attention to detail) and the mother will hopefully appreciate your positive feedback on her involvement in her son's life.

    More parents need to do this sort of thing. Kids who work all summer mowing yards, painting houses, and other physical things like that don't have the time or the energy to get into trouble, and THAT is perhaps the most valuable lesson this kid will learn--that being productive with your time pays TWICE--once with a paycheck, and second by keeping you out of trouble...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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  19. #19
    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by jbone View Post
    Maybe it was do play father figure and use the kid to get mom in the sack?
    You, sir, are a dog...

    But ya know, we were ALL thinking that...
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

  20. #20
    Regular Member Jack House's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KYKevin View Post
    Now if I can find some 12 year old sucker to mow my yard and get rid of this poison ivy I got. Bloody vines on the trees out back are the size of quarters and growing up the trees like trees themselves. And brush killer just makes them angry.
    I'm immune to poison ivy/oak. I'll get rid of it for you, will cost. I'll take payment in either USD or 9mm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KYKevin View Post
    I was mowing lawns at that age. And I can tell you people would tell me if there was something not to their liking or if they wanted something done differently. This is a good time to help teach him.

    Now if I can find some 12 year old sucker to mow my yard and get rid of this poison ivy I got. Bloody vines on the trees out back are the size of quarters and growing up the trees like trees themselves. And brush killer just makes them angry.
    Try using bullets or a hatchet. What we always did was to chop out an inch of the offending vine and wait for it to dry up/out and start falling off. All the same, the oils that itch in poison ivy are essential oils of the wood, and will remain. Use care to prevent inhalation during shredding or burning.

    I've learned a few things over the years the hard way. Two of those are poison ivy and battery acid. Modern battery acid is dilute, but I have learned to notice when my hands start itching after handling batteries or other possibly contaminated materials and respond with washing my hands immediately in a basic solution and/or water. Poison ivy is something that I become aware of in the same fashion, so my response is to watch my hands with a degreasing soap, like GoJo or Dawn or a degreaser (TCE, Brake Cleaner, Alcohol), then follow with ordinary soap.

    The smart thing to do after that is to apply some hand lotion, because your hands are extremely dry after a wash in alcohol or TCE.
    Last edited by Kirbinator; 05-15-2011 at 11:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patriot2A View Post
    So ST, should i do it myself from now on and have it pretty much perfectly how i like it, or should i keep paying this kid to do it, and give him some pointers along the way on how to do a better job? I cant knock a kid for earning his money in stead of being a spoiled brat, but i really dont want my lawn to look ****** either.
    Kids don't enter the work force at any age knowing or being capable of doing a perfect job. I didn't back when I mowed lawns, and I did have a few customers who'd do an inspection and give me points.

    I got better.

    I suspect if I'd simply been terminated, I'd have become discouraged, so help a kid out, and give him some points. Graciousness goes a long way towards helping build future workers and leaders.

    tl;dr (too long; didn't read) young kid mowed my lawn, did ****** job. let him do it again or do it myself?"[/QUOTE]
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  23. #23
    Regular Member Felix's Avatar
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    I take it there's not a dad in this boy's life?

    If you've got the time and motivation, you might actually have run across the one kid in ten you could get started on being a productive member of society...if you'll work with him, show him what needs to be done and how to do it, encourage him, motivate him and reward him (monetarily and emotionally) for a job well done. Do the right thing and give this leadership/mentorship concept a whirl.
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    C'mon dude= we were ALL that kid once. That level of frustration I could see if maybe you'd paid some experienced older kid-16,17 for knowingly doing a crap job but..
    Nah, cut the kid some slack-ask him to come back over,show him what he missed,give him a pointer or two and another shot at it.

    At the least the kid will be trying to earn something-rather than so many of these kids today who expect everything to be handed out. Or-at the other extreme, showing up with a pistol in hand demanding your stuff.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post

    I would see this as an opportunity to help build a man--and jump all over that chance. Someday, I will have to depend on that man--or on another one similarly built by another patient adult. I hope he is there and has been built.
    This sir is VERY wise advice.

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