Saturday, 23 October 2010

Free advice, Freely Given

What is it with people and forums ??

Internet forums are very useful resources for tapping into knowledgeable people and getting advice on a variety of subjects. I use them for a variety of different things.

Asking for an opinion is one thing, but what is it about people who think its quite acceptable to ask experts how to do a job that they would normally be paid for.

Would you phone a car mechanic and say "hello, I have a problem with my car. Its not starting. I don't want to pay you to fix it, as I think its something I could cope with myself and I'm a bit strapped/tight (delete as appropriate) at the moment.
Could you tell me, stage by stage how to fix it, so I don't need to employ the services of a professional like yourself. It will only take you 20 minutes to talk me through it and I know that you've probably got nothing else to do".

The noise of a disconnected line would be deafening.

Actually, it could be the basis for one of those candid camera type programmes.

For example, ring up a professional and see how much you can get him or her to tell you for free before he realises you are taking the proverbial and puts the phone down on you.

Whats really worrying is that this request for advice often revolves around tinkering with mains electricity when the person is barely able to wire a plug.

Recently, one boater wanted me to explain to them how to construct a longer shoreline out of assorted plugs, extension cable and pieces of flex. They weren't prepared to buy the correct connectors and 20m of Arctic mains cable (far too expensive).

The really, really worrying thing is that when I refuse to get drawn in to it, (on safety grounds, let alone any other reason), they seem to be able to find some idiot who will tell them how to do it.

A lot of internet sages are currently advising new boaters to buy a secondhand boat rather than considering new (due to the problems with boatbuilders going bust and the fact that there is a plethora of secondhand tonnage around at the moment).
What they don't say is that in about half of those boats, they were wired by aspiring DIY carpenters, welders or plumbers and the wiring is not always top notch (that's me being polite).

The 12V side should be covered to some degree by the Boat Safety Scheme survey but the AC/Mains wiring is a free for all.

Would you buy a house that was rewired by somebody who can barely wire a plug ??

1 comment:

  1. Interesting point - I do try to encourage people to learn and try to do things themselves, but also realising people should know their limits - especially with mains.

    Interesting point about BSC, and wonder where the new home electrical rules fit in, too. I'm not one for over regulation, but not sure if I want idiots to kill themselves, or indeed the next poor sods who take on their boats...


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