It's been a long week and I just was too pooped to pop, other than update the status widget on the sidebar. Some of us ran into something that got under my skin. Interesting that it involved a crane service, considering the praise I had for them last week.
Most crane services, when they find out what it is they are doing, bring the appropriate equipment. Setting thirty five feet tall tanks means having the means to unhook their equipment at the top. There are several ways to do this, and the simplest, easiest and most economical is to use a stick equipped with two lines. The inner line has a set of pulleys near the end of the boom, and a "block" hook with more pulleys is attached. When the line is run through the pulleys, it becomes a block and tackle, giving the crane more but slower lifting power. The second line, sometimes called a pilot line, is slightly out further on the boom. It only has one pulley and the hook is on a weighted ball. This setup allows the crane to lift and set the tank with the heavier setup, then let the line go slack, move the boom over, drop the single line and pick up a man basket to lift to the top and unhook the lines. The heavier built cranes can pick up our tanks with both lines, and twist the tank from the horizontal to the vertical without the tank touching the ground. Others can take the tank off the trailer, set it down, hook to the top and stand in "in the dirt."
However, when we have a knuckle boom crane with us, we can help "tail" the tank. The crane hooks to the top of the tank, we hook to the side near the bottom (but on the top while it's on it's side), and both lift while the trailer is pulled from beneath the tank. We gradually drop the tank while the crane gradually lifts, and they'll roll over us while we roll under them. We unhook, they set the tank, lift someone up to unhook, lather, rinse and repeat.
Our customer informed us that he had two cranes scheduled, which, after talking to me, canceled the second one. One would handle the top, and the other would have tailed. I told him we could tail those tanks. I should have said we couldn't unhook the big crane - we don't quite reach forty feet, so lifting someone up just to the edge would be fairly unsafe. I didn't think it would be necessary, because EVERY CRANE SERVICE I'VE EVER RUN INTO BEFORE would inform the customer if they could unhook from the top or not, and whether they had the necessary rigging and so on. They've all - up to this point - recognized that their services are expensive, and that if the customer can save some money, they'd sure like to help out. If the crane they had planned to bring couldn't do that job, they'll say so, or recommend using a large manlift - which, since they are a well equipped crane service, they have available at a lower rental rate that another full sized crane and they'd be happy to bring it.
Not this assclown. He showed up with a single line crane. This in and of itself was not a disaster - he could hook up with thirty or forty foot straps, set the tank, give himself some slack to move the boom over, lower the hook (with a ten or twenty foot strap attached loose), pick up the man basket and haul someone up to unhook him. He could then place the man basket where he needed it for the next tank, lather, rinse and repeat.
Except he refused to hook up to the tank with anything but his ten foot cables. He'd been doing this for forty years, and it was unsafe to use anything else (on tanks weighing under 7k lbs). He also conveniently did not bring a man basket. I mentioned the other alternatives, and I was dismissed as someone who didn't know what I was talking about, and my knuckle boom crane was about as useless as a short dick. Nothing would do but to have him go ahead and bring in his originally scheduled crane ($300/hr two hour min plus mileage), which had the man basket on it. Anything else would be unsafe, and he wasn't doing it. Faced with this, our customer capitulated.
While we were there, I was treated to a discussion about how he had hemorrhoids older than me. I just turned fifty two yesterday. I kept my mouth shut, but what I wanted to say was if his 'roids were that old, maybe it was time to retire, particularly since he was into ripping off his customers. A change of scenery would do him good. I thought it, but kept myself in professional mode. There were several other disparaging remarks made regarding my experience and decision making process that I let slide.
So, the other crane got there with the man basket and away we went. In all fairness, they did a good job - they weren't sloppy. One thing struck me right away - they were SO CONCERNED WITH SAFETY that they neglected to bring a safety harness THAT IS REQUIRED for the person riding the man basket to wear. We loaned our customer one of ours.
I'd better not run into this asshole again, or I might not remain quite so professional. Once with his crap was enough.