I like doing renos. In a perfect world, I’d do a mix of writing, scripting…and renos. I like them. I like seeing my progress. I’ve flipped three houses (two successfully…yeah, the third not so much) and I’ve reno’d several bathrooms independently. But in some areas, I’m still too slow. Wouldn’t it be nice to brush up on some of the skills…speed that up…maybe, if I could update my knowledge base, take some courses — spend around 2K, I should consider it.

So emailed North American Trade Schools…just wondering what it’s about. They have a year-long Renovation program. I just wanted a price. How much? No sooner had I hit send on my email that my phone rings: they want me to come in for a tour.

“I just want a price.”
“We can’t give that information out over the phone.” Damn, that means the price has just gone up $1000.

Fine, fine, I’ll come in.

The receptionist hands me a clipboard. I look at the questions. The first are basic. The next batch are ‘describe yourself in three words’ or ‘choose your personality type from the list below’. Add another $1000 to the total. Me being me, I decided to ignore those. I just want a price. I see some of the students milling around. Hmmm, I think I’m in a penal colony (what, me being judgmental?). I’ve never understood why dumb people go in the trades. The trades require just as much knowledge as IT, and just as much problem solving. Anyway, I sit for five minutes, annoyed that they’re making me wait.

I’m handed off to someone else. We shake hands. His hand is baby smooth. So he’s never actually touched a tool…thus…salesman. I give that an immediate $2000 increase.  Someone has to pay his salary.  Damn it!  I’m up to $6000 already.

He says I have to complete a test. What? Test? I just want information?

To get that information, you have to take a test. At this point, I knew that they were doing a hard sell. But I was willing to play along because of ego. A me-versus-them mentality.  Fine, I’ll take your damned test, and when I ACE it you’ll…wait, is there any benefit whatsoever for me taking this test?  Damn it!  My ego has defeated me again.

The test…I have 15 minutes. It has some basic questions (you have 32 pieces of apples and bananas, and 4 more apples than bananas…how many do you have of each?). There were 50 of these questions. I finish the test and now I’m playing with my iPhone because I’m bored.  A woman pokes her head in.

“You’re not allowed outside help?”  Like call a friend?

“I just want a price,” I say.  They make me wait.  The price has pretty much climbed every minute I’m there.  Say…$50 a minute according to my calculations.  I’m been there 20 minutes, so another $1000.

Finally, they let me out of my cubicle and I’m  handed off to someone ELSE.  Is this a timeshare?  It must be.  Soon, they’ll try to take my car keys and ruin my vacation.

Oh, we’ve entered the interview portion of this ‘I-just-want-a-price’ session. Every question they ask, I state: I just want information. Now, they are polite.  So polite that they explain the words they are using.  Such as: do you procrastinate? Then they’d follow that with ‘procrastinate means…’.

This is when I wanted to say ‘You are being condescending…what that means…’ but their politeness over rides my ability to be caustic.  Damn you, manners!

Someone comes in to tell me that I did extremely well on their test…then they consult.  God, there’s another $2000.

We get back to our…interview?  “Please tell me why we should consider you for NA Trade Schools?”

“No, I say, please tell me why I should consider your school?”

Finally, I could take no more.  “I’ve gotta go.”  He regards me, then finally nods and says “You know, I think I can forgo the rest of the interview.  Congratulations, we’re formally accepting you.”

He reaches out to shake my hand.

“I just want a price.”

I shake his (baby-soft) because it’s hanging there.

Tuition, for one year: $16,000. Yes, $16,000. The same price as Harvard (I have no idea really, but for the purpose of this blog, it is).

And yes, I know I was saying that I just wanted a price…but once I hit $6000 (which was pretty damned quick) I knew this was no longer a viable option.  You know how smart I am?  I went through the whole process  simply so I could tell them no. Yes, I wasted a half hour of my life, just so I could have that 5-second ego stroke to say ‘I don’t think so’.

Yup, I declare this a full victory.