Funny Work Stories

Funny Work Stories accumulated from years in the painting business. These customers and situations all had a unique twist to make my life interesting.

I began painting with my Dad when I was fourteen. Every summer all the way through graduate school I worked with a painting contractor.

An hourly part-time employee I was until I started my own company 15 years ago. I have a great partner, which allows me to work at our church half of the week.

These stories are real and 100% true. If you think they're funny to read, imagine how funny they are when I tell them. "LAUGH WITH DAVE" is coming soon as a DVD.

The names of the people have been changed to protect their identity. Many of these call on me regularly to handle all their painting needs.

It was hot and muggy on this summer day when we were wrapping things up for the day. The homeowner asked me a question I get alot. "Why does the paint seem to fade and fail quicker on this side of the house?" I gave her my usual answer which is true. Here, in N.C. the South, Southwest sides of the house will fade and require maintenance sooner than the other sides of the house. As we were looking directly into the afternoon setting sun, she told me that this was the North, Northwest side of the house. I was all ears. "How do you figure that?", I asked her. She ran into the house and returned with her Boyscout compass. As she pointed it directly toward the sun the needle was pointing North in the face of the compass. I didn't even attempt to win this argument!

I was running the baseboard in the house of a very picky customer. She saw me dusting the baseboard at the carpet line and yelled at me,
“You better not get any paint on my carpet!” I put her totally at ease. I explained that I was only wiping all the dead roaches away from the baseboard to get a better job.

Only 1 window left and the living room was totally finished. As I picked up my can of trim paint, the metal handle separated from the can, turning it upside down pouring ½ of a gallon of oil trim paint straight down……into the owner’s photo albums that had been left non-covered and standing on end. Paint went through each and every page. My wife was close by and helped me spend 3 hours with paint thinner, rags, and surgical neatness to return the photo albums as they were. The owners never knew what had happened since there was no evidence of a mishap. Thanks to my wife on that one.

The next job following this one, I was not so fortunate. You see, all that paint that spilled finishing that window was wrapped up in a dropcloth and thrown into the trunk of my car. I forgot about the oil paint in the cloth. The next house we were in that cloth had gotten thrown face down on the floor and walked on for a week. As the job ended and we were cleaning up…for some reason that dropcloth was stuck to the floor. I remembered the paint spill. I just knew I had bought new carpet, when the owner came in asking us if we were finished. She was thrilled.
“Now I”ll call the store and tell them to install all my new carpeting. We wanted to have the painting finished before they came over.” I must have been living right.

My partner had finished the day off pressure cleaning this porch we were to trim out. He not only cleaned all the mildew off the porch ceiling and trim, but threw in the cleaning of the back side of the house for free. I got a call the next day from the owner telling me we had a big problem. So, I gave him a call and found out what the big problem was. “My vinyl siding tastes salty now that you’ve cleaned”, he said. When he was asked how he knew it tasted salty, his response was,
“I always lick my siding after cleaning. It never tasted salty before.”
Needless to say that porch was not painted by us.

I was bidding a large restoration of a Convent. As I was walking around the building measuring and counting, a Nun walked over to me asking me just what I was doing. I explained to her that the church had asked me to prepare a proposal to restore their convent. Her next question was,
“Are you good at what you do, or half-ass and available?” I assured her we were one of the more credible Better Business Bureau Members.

Later on that job, we had to remove all the hardware on the front door to the convent. For some reason, the Grounds Superintendent, took all the hardware with him to the shop for some polishing I guess. We were not even aware it was gone. This same Nun approached me on the pediment one morning with a very stern question.
“Have you seen my knockers?” I kept a straight face and told her I had not seen them. The painters had all walked around to the other side of the building at this point and laughed all through morning break.

The administrator of this church needed to see me about something, so I went over to enjoy some of the air-conditioning on this very hot day. He had not returned from the bank yet, so I sat in the office and waited on him. Here is the phone call that I overheard. The main secretary says to the person calling: “We’re so sorry…..He is…..He’s still alive…..We were told that life support would be removed at 5:00…..That’s why Father came at 3:00 to perform the Last Rites and the Sacrament of Holy Communion…..We thought he would have been dead at 5:00…..No, Father does this one time only…..No, he was there at 3:00 yesterday afternoon…..No he will not be coming back again today…..No you don’t need to ask him yourself…..
Look, from our end HE’S GOOD TO GO!!

A nice Jewish lady asked one of our painters to move his tuckus. She said, “Let me put that in a sentence for you. Move your tuckus so I can get around you.” The painter responded,
My boss puts that in a sentence almost everyday. He says it took us too long to finish this job.”

We were preparing to start the exterior of this brand new house. I asked the owner what his colors were. He said black trim with rose taupe siding. He was getting ready to leave for the week, so I called his wife to confirm these colors. They just did not sound right to me. She was in a hurry and said that sounded great to her. I read them back to her one last time fishing for some disagreement. Again, she thought they were perfect. So, we finished the house in those colors. When they drove up after their trip, they were shocked. “What have you done to our house?” I showed both of them the colors I had written down and confirmed with them. Their response was,
Well, we’ll be the only house in the neighborhood like this! I kind of like it. It’s beginning to grow on me.” Another happy customer in our book of referrals.

A fellow had some cement deer in his front yard. He asked me if we could paint the deer a medium brown and add some black spots to them. I said sure thing. I had never painted any deer before. When I had them to the best of my ability, he said,
“Oh no, they don’t look like real deer anymore.” I’ve never seen many solid, cement gray deer have you. I believe this was the first deer I had ever pressure cleaned as well to turn them back to their gray color.

We were doing a major restoration on an attorney’s home on an elite country club. The removal of 50 years worth of paint on the siding required using butane torches. You bubble the paint and scrape it off right down to the bare wood. Things were going great until one of the workers came over to me and asked, “How do you know if you’ve set something on fire?” I explained to him you would then have smoke. He said,
“We got smoke.” We sure did. He had gotten the roof vent too hot and it was smouldering. With quick reaction and a little water, everything was under control. He probably wouldn’t make it on the TV game shows.

I was painting the interior of a girl’s dormitory on a college campus. I put out “Wet Paint” signs, visible as you entered the building. A student came up to me asking if I had any chemical that would remove paint from her dress. I said yes and dropped everything to fix her dress. When I asked her if she had seen the “Wet Paint” signs, her response was
“Yes, I read that, but didn’t know what it meant.” She must have been in political science and she wasn’t even blonde.

We painted the front porch of an older home fire engine red on a late Friday afternoon. I got a call that night from the owner asking how to remove his two Golden Retrievers from the floor since they had dried into the porch floor. I told him to gently shave them and they would come up. Needless to say, that section of the floor had to be sanded and refinished.

Two NC State Patrolmen pulled up one afternoon asking me for some identification. No problem, I gave them my driver's license and credit card. I wanted to know if there was a problem. They had been asked by some neighbors to check on us to make sure we were not vandalizing the house. We were painting it the colors chosen by the owners: Pink siding with Red Shutters and trim. The owners were getting ready to put the house on the market.

We were cleaning up after finishing some ceilings in this house. The lady of the house accused us of letting overspray from the ceilings get onto her chair rail. I got her to acknowledge seeing plastic from the crown moulding to the floor as a protective barrier. When I asked her with that in place, how could any overspray have gotten on the chair rail. Her response was classic,
"Well, the overspray fell down and bounced off the carpet, going underneath the plastic barrier getting on the chair rail." How could I argue with that eye-witness account?

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