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Vendor Chutzpah: Leslie’s loses customer

apr13pool1Here’s a smart move: when 8 to 10 percent of your customer base is out of work, raise your service prices through the roof. And, with gasoline prices under $2.00 a gallon, tack on an exorbitant “trip surcharge.”

That’s exactly what Leslie’s Swimming Pool Service, a national organization, is up to. Apparently management at headquarters has slipped its communal trolley!

Every year as the weather warms (and again at the beginning of winter), I get a routine clean-out of the pool’s diatomaceous earth filter. It’s no job for rocket scientists: all you do is take the shell apart, lift out the innards, haul them out to the alley, drag a hose out there, and wash out all the old used-up DE. Then you put the thing back together and recharge it with another eight pounds of DE. Really, it’s a happy handyman task. Unfortunately, I’m a handyperson and don’t have the physical strength required to drag the heavy stuff around. So I’ve always hired Leslie’s, which last year charged $85 for the privilege.

This year I call and discover they’ve jacked up the price to around $100, and on top of that they’re adding a “trip charge,” bringing the price of a pretty easy, very ordinary job to around $115. 

So I told the dispatcher I’d schedule the guy for next week, but said I would have to look for someone who would do the job for a more affordable price. OK, said she, assuring me Leslie’s is rock-bottom.


Cassie and I walk past a house whose occupant parks his pool-service truck in the driveway. This afternoon, I rang the doorbell, introduced myself to him, his wife, and their three children, and learned that he’d be only toooo happy to do the job for $85. 

He came by a few hours later and did an excellent job, no different from what Bob the Leslie’s Guy always does (Yes: I do watch them). 

What would possess a company to ratchet up their prices when their customers are being laid off right and left? And then add insult to injury with a “trip charge,” when gas prices are barely out of the basement? 

Let’s hope Leslie’s doesn’t ask for a taxpayer bailout, too. 


1 thought on “Vendor Chutzpah: Leslie’s loses customer”

  1. Another bonus of your strategy is you kept your money in your neighborhood, with your neighbors – local economy. Cultivate that guy (we call them rent-a-husbands around roomfarm) because he might be willing to do other handyman type side jobs on the weekend that require dudestrength and since you know where he lives, and his wife and kids, he may be both cheaper and more trustworthy than some random 10 bucks a hour guy working for a company.

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