Heber from Cummings Moving is a large and doughy man with a north-Irish floating brogue. He sits on the grassy stoop in front of my house, shuffling and marking papers on his clipboard. Heber taps the clipboard. “Nine hours for the move out to storage, one hundred fifty per hour, you want the full replacement value, five storage cubes for two hundred fifty, two sixty-five for packing materials — looks like it will come out to eight thousand eight hundred seventy-five dollars exactly.”
“Now wait a minute,” I sputter. “Your quote told me it wouldn’t exceed seven thousand?”
“Yes,” Heber interrupts, “but that quote assumed you wouldn’t be moving anything into storage. Here, we’re moving these items into storage for two weeks. That’s equivalent to two moves. We have to move everything here into storage in addition to everything there, and then move everything together down to Newport Beach.”
Frank, one of the three movers, has a thick head of unkempt hair and the same north-Irish lilt. He scruffles through the garbage bags we’ve placed on the sidewalk, and he finds an unopened bottle of Bass Ale. “Real shame here, to waste perfectly good beer,” says Frank.
“I called you two weeks ago,” I mutter angrily. “I explained two weeks ago to your receptionist that I wanted to move these items into storage. Why didn’t you tell me it’d be an extra fifteen hundred then?”
“But you didn’t talk to me, did you?” says Heber, turning red. “No. I’m honoring the quote exactly here. I?m delivering exactly what I promised. You told me that you were going to be moving everything directly down to Newport Beach. Not to storage. Right?”
Frank takes a rock and gently chips away at the bottlecap. He hits it at a crafty angle and the cap flies off. “One won’t hurt,” he says.
“Yes, that’s what I said,” I say meekly.
“Just charging you for additional time and materials. We’re not making any money on this, believe me. And I’ll need a personal check for the full amount,” says Heber.
“I’ll give you a credit card,” I say. “Same as I told you before.”
“Ah, well,” says Heber. “I suppose you?re good for it. We have all your stuff now.”