air-conditioner…heights… no problem

Ok so this happened to a friend of mine, not to me.

He said there was a problem with his air-conditioner, it wasn’t working…or at least wasn’t working properly.

So he called the guy, and when the guy came over he asked my friend “where’s the air-conditioner?”

So my friend pointed to the window.

“uh ok”

Now in Beijing sometimes there’s a special ledge for the air-conditioner, sometimes there’s a special box, but sometimes its just a couple of brackets holding the air-conditioner to the wall.  As was the case for my friend’s apartment.

So this guy just climbs out the window onto the air-conditioner box with his legs dangling over the side, and now leaning downwards to fix the unit whilst sitting on top of it.

Wow, impressive.   Impressively stupid.

Generally, in China things feel like they are made to only-just-work, even though this is slowly changing, and the way the brackets were holding the air-conditioner to the side of the building was definitely done like this.

Even if that wasn’t the case, this guy had no safety harness and what’s more impressive was that he was 22 floors above the ground.

You might think to yourself, ‘ah well this is a guy that has balls’

Nope. He just hasn’t thought about the consequences involved if one thing goes wrong.

Very little thinking here sometimes, especially and ironically when it comes to protecting their own lives.

I think there’s enough driving stories that showcases that pretty well already.

water heater

Sorry this is a long arse article

I have no idea when this happened. But it was sometime in 2015

My water heater in my old apartment had problems.

Basically I would turn the tap on, and I could hear the the gas coming on in the heater system but every time the ignition switch tried to light, it wouldn’t just click.

Now, I now how to say a lot of things in Chinese, but I don’t know everything.

The way I ended up saying it to the agent was “the water heater has problems, it won’t light…I’m pretty sure it is the ‘spark plug’ that’s broken and needs to be replaced”

I know much more about motorbikes in Chinese than water systems… so I used the word for spark plug. 火花塞

So first of all… he goes  ‘oh I don’t know what you’re talking about’

Now this guy is not your normal idiot, he’s a special kind of idiot. He will ask you the same question 3 times expecting to hear a certain answer, and when you give an answer he’s not expecting he will simply ask it again.

I had this when I finally moved out of that terrible place.
Him: ‘ do you have white paint?’

Me: ‘No, I ran out of white paint’

Him: ‘but do you have white paint’
Me: *thinking…. But… you just asked me that question…  oh maybe he didn’t understand it
‘no…I don’t I used the white paint already… now I have NO white paint’

10~15 mins later

Him: ‘oh , do you have white paint?’

Me: NO.

5 mins later

Him: ‘errrr do you have any white paint?’
Me: ‘I’ve already answered that question, I’m not telling you again’

Him: ‘and what was the answer?’

Me:’hheheh  ….i’m not telling you’

Anyway…. So this is a guy who’s stupidity actually gets on your nerves.

So when he said ‘I don’t get what you’re saying’   I literally took the phone away from my ear.. took a big breathe to calm myself down (which meanwhile I can hear ‘Weieiiii weiii’  hello???)

And then say without any grammar, just individual words:
Water heater, fix, doesn’t work, fire, light, shower.

And afterwards he repeated ‘oh you need to fix your water heater’

Yes man, well done.

Me: ‘it’s still under warranty, so when can the guy from the company come?
Shall you call him or me?’

Him: ‘oh we don’t need the guy from the company… I have my guy.’

Me: ‘uh huh, and can your guy fix what is actually wrong with it’

Him: 可以!  (can do)

Me ‘errrrr…….ok’
(in hindsight.. I should have just said ‘ no fuck off.. we’re getting the guy from the company’)

So… the guy comes around with the agent.

And I explain the same stuff to the ‘fixing guy’   “火花塞 –spark plug, not light, not heat…” blah de blah

And he just shakes his head…

So I’m like…errrr… ok…

And then he fiddles with some knobs and tries it, and miraculously it works.

It’s always like that… when you go to fix something, when you’re in front of the fixing guy, miraculously it will work. And from my experience, in chinese fixing logic, if it works on sight they won’t try to fix it, or run any tests to see if there’s something that’s faulty that may prevent it from working in the future….even if it means that they’re getting paid to do so.

So I’m like “but you didn’t change the spark plug, so how did you get it to work?
Can you just change it anyway so that it won’t have any more problems in the future?”

Fixing guy: “no no no, you don’t need that…  hahah [looking towards the agent] silly foreigner thinks he needs to change something inside for it to work”

Me, getting more and more angry: “Soo……what did you do??”

Fixing guy: “oh you see there are 3 dials here?”

Me: “Yes…”  (there are 3 for ‘Temperature’ , ‘fire strength’ & ‘seasons’ )

Fixing guy: “well the temperature one has to be in the middle”

Me: “errrr…, because I like a hot shower… so I’m going to put it on hot”
(oh it was a really shitty old apartment whereby you couldn’t control the temperature at the shower…all temp control would come from the water-heater)

Fixing guy: “hahaha silly foreigner…that one doesn’t control the temperature”
*pointing towards the temperature dial,
“this one does”
* pointing towards the ‘fire strength’ dial

Me: “you know I can read Chinese right?…..   I can see very clearly that this one says 温度调整 (temperature adjustment) & the one you’re pointing to says 火亮调整 (fire strength adjustment), so why is it that ‘temperature adjustment’ doesn’t control the temperature??”

Fixing guy: “hahaha silly foreigner… pointing to the fire strength dial, in China its always like this”

Him and the agent are now chuckling about how foreigners don’t know this.

Me: “no its not, my last apartment just had up & down… why does this have 3 dials, and besides… what does that 3rd dial do, I can see it says ‘Seasons’ or ‘Seasonal adjustment’ “

Fixing guy: “well you see there are 4 seasons”   (holding up his hand to show 4 fingers)

Me thinking: Really?     Wow…you learn something every day…..tell me more…

Saying out loud: “yeah….I know”

Fixing guy: “so when its Summer, its really hot outside, so you may want a cooler shower… and in Winter its really cold outside….so you may want a hotter shower…so you can use this to control that”

Me exasperated: “No…..   that’s what the temperature dial is for”

Fixing guy & Agent:  “hahahah silly foreigner”

Me: “what?  But that’s retarded… are you serious… there’s 3 dials… 2 of them control the temperature… and the only one that doesn’t is the one that’s actually labelled ‘temperature adjustment’ …. that’s stupid”

Fixing guy & Agent:  “hahahah silly foreigner”

Me: “fine, whatever… so…tell me then… if there are 4 seasons… why is it that on the dial there are only 3 settings?” (holding up 3 fingers on MY hand)

Thinking- ‘ah hah! I’ve got him… his idiocy can’t go around this one’

Fixing guy: “hahhaha ….silly foreigner… well because you see Autumn & Spring are pretty much the same …so there’s only 3 settings”

Arrrgghghhhh!  You m**ther  F*** moron… you are both so retarded… how can you??  Argghhh!

It was at this time that my eyesight was beginning to turn red…and I seriously considered just taking off one of the dials (with the little needle attached) and stabbing it in his neck and shouting at him whilst turning the dial… “this doesn’t make any sense either… so is it going to change the water temperature??”

I also envisioned just punching the agent in the head… constantly …just wondering…if he suffered head trauma at a young age which made him so stupid, perhaps I could repeat the process and get him to wizen up by some how punching him in the head until he saw logic.

And then I took a deep breathe and realised no amount of punching… nor logic was going to convince these guys of anything… they immunities were just far too strong.

So I said in English to their faces: “you are both idiots… none of this makes sense, you’ve just completely wasted my Saturday morning, you know that right?”

And in Chinese I said “great… ok time to leave”


3 days later the water heater didn’t work again.   And which point I began hitting it… which of course didn’t do anything, and then I was away enough for some time that I didn’t care if it didn’t work.

But then after I came back … and it didn’t work yet again, I called the actual company of the water heater and said exactly the same description as I did before.

When the guy came around, from the official company, I stated “I’m pretty sure it’s the 火花塞’ the spark plug and he says: “yep you’re right lets change that now. “

But because the stupid agent had left it so long the warranty had expired.   Which is actually what I warned him about before.  And if it was free fixes…why didn’t he just call that guy in the first place??

No logic. I can’t stress that enough.  It’s like going out of your way to think of something stupid to do.

Oh and then of course, and as expected the water heater had no problems going forward.

And explaining this to the agent he was like, “oh but you didn’t confirm this with me.”
And I’m like… “I called you multiple times, messaged you many times about this recurring problem and you just sent a guy that didn’t do anything.  It was the problem I originally told you about and now he fixed it.  If I tell you about a problem and exactly what the problem is, yet you don’t do anything about it and refuse to address it…then of course I’m going to do it by myself.   What you think I’m just going to have cold showers because you didn’t confirm it??”
No that would be stupid.

But honestly I think stupid is the agents normal.  So after rationally explaining this to him in Chinese, I might have added in a few choice insults in English and politely told him that he was a moron.

It’s like I’m asking for something that’s difficult… like I’ve asked for logical thinking… and this agent & his accomplice in idiocy (maintenance man) has achieved thinking… albeit not a lot of it…but its thinking in the wrong direction.

Ok time to calm down….where did that peaceful music go?