Tuesday, February 6, 2018

TruGreen, The Mob

I'm pretty sure I got a call from the mob today. Like, The Mob.

A few years ago I called TruGreen, the lawn care company, and asked them if I could pay one million dollars every five weeks to have them come and sprinkle fairy dust on my property. They said these terms were acceptable and then immediately started taking money from my bank account at random for the next three summers.

The plan, as I understood it, was that TruGreen would show up about every four weeks and fertilize my lawn. I thought I was being a responsible homeowner by asking them to do this because I have no idea how to keep grass alive apart from pouring water on it and prayin' to Jesus.

TruGreen has a robot woman call and scream into my ear that someone is coming to do the treatment a day or two before the scheduled visit. Robot woman reminds me to make sure the TruGreen person will be able to access all parts of the property. Then she says something about how my pets are going to die if I let them anywhere outside for the next few days.

There's really no way for me to know for sure that the treatment was done because they always come to do it when I'm at work. So for a couple of years I just hoped that I wasn't being scammed whenever I saw one million dollars get taken from my bank account.

Then one day at the end of the summer in 2016 the robot woman called and screamed at me that someone would be coming to aerate my lawn the next day.

The next day one million dollars was taken from my bank account. Then I got home and saw that someone definitely did not come and aerate the lawn.

I called the company and told them this. A very annoyed woman on the phone told me that I was wrong and that her records "proved" that someone had, in fact, been there that day to aerate my lawn. I told her that her records were inaccurate, that there was no evidence of aeration, and that I was now starting to wonder if anyone had ever actually fertilized the lawn the two dozen times the company took one million dollars from my bank account.

For those unfamiliar, aeration is where someone goes over the grass with a machine that pops holes all over your yard and leaves dirt clods that look like poop everywhere and you're supposed to do it every year or two and nobody knows why and if you think you do know why, you're definitely wrong because I'm telling you, no one knows why we are supposed to do this. We just know that we are.

The annoyed woman on the phone eventually told me that she would send someone out to verify that aeration happened. That person came out, verified what I already told them, and reported back to the annoyed woman, who called me and said she would send someone out to get it done the next day. And she said it in a tone like this whole thing was my fault.

Two weeks went by. I finally called and got a hold of annoyed woman's supervisor and just demanded a refund and I canceled the entire service.

By the time spring rolled around I was recovering from a work-induced nervous breakdown, I had completely stopped caring about the TruGreen scam, and I was in a very vulnerable state when a man called to try to sell me on TruGreen.

I declined all of his offers and explained my history with the company but then he was like "I'm going to give you my personal phone number so you can call me if you are ever unhappy," and "what if I offer you an eleventy billion percent discount," and "satisfaction guarantee!" and after about ten minutes of this I was all like "here's my social security number and credit card number and I've just listed TruGreen as the sole beneficiary on my life insurance policy do you need anything else?"

So they came back.

And they apparently fertilized all summer in 2017. And when aeration time came around, robot woman called, they charged me one million dollars, and when I got home, NO POOP DIRT CLODS.

I called BYU Summer Sales, the guy who gave me his direct phone number, and he acted annoyed that I was bothering him on his cell phone, gave me some song and dance about "why don't you call the customer service line if you have a problem," and then hung up on me.

I indignantly worked my way through the process like I did the last time, sounding slightly less polite than I had the year before, and vowing to never again hire this company to do anything.

Then The Mob called me this morning.

There was a man on the other end of the phone, straight from central casting, asking me in a mobster accent if I was "prepared for the coming season" and specifically whether I was going to have my lawn aerated.

Because I was curious, I asked him how much aeration would cost.

He told me that to aerate my tiny lawn, TruGreen would charge me $180.

For reference, I just checked and found that you can buy an aeration machine for $110 at Home Depot and just do it your damn self.

I told him that I had "a guy" who was going to come do it for far less and then I started making the "goodbye" noises to end the call.

Then he said, remember, mobster voice here, "that's great. You already got a guy. But it'd be shame if something happened while he was working your property. Would be better if you had a company with some . . . insurance."

I swear to you. I did that thing where I pulled the phone away from my face and looked at it like there would be something on the phone to help me process what I was hearing from the person on the other end.

I tried to tell the guy that I wasn't interested in TruGreen because I had had repeated bad experiences with the company and because I thought they charged way too much for service that I wasn't even sure I had received. But he just kept talking over me about how I needed to hire the company back because the company would have my back and finally I got so overwhelmed by the whole situation that I just hung up and now I think I'm going to go home to find TWO horse heads in my bed.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. We have also gone down the TruGreen road of terror! Now anxiously waiting to see if the mob will call me... checking my pillows for horse heads... how can we fight back? There’s more of us than them, right? Isn’t that how it works in these scenarios?

  2. Dude, Eli, I work for a pest control & lawn care company...and we don't have contracts...and if you have a problem you can call and scream at me. Seriously, I can hook you up...and we service all the way to Provo. We'll protect you from Trugreen, and even if you don't use us don't use the chemical soup mix, it's not awesome, use a granular fertilizer...safer for pets and people and it lasts longer.

  3. My son made my husband promise not to fertilize and weed kill our lawn because it's bad for bees - that's what my son says anyhow - he's 11 so he knows, right???? Anyhow - I figure we'll just have a dandelion patch here soon and since no one in our house gives a damn about what our lawn looks like we're all okay with that. I'm more than okay with that in fact since I manage the budget and this means we're not spending any $$ on making our lawn look good!

    1. Fertilizer and broadleaf weed control shouldn't kill bees. It may reduce the amount of early spring pollen they have access to, but it won't kill them.

    2. I think the pollen reduction is the issue -m

    3. Baby dandelion leaves make tasty salads... :)

  4. Exact. Same. Experience.
    If I wanted to kill my yard, I could do it for a lot less money.

  5. No...you know what'll happen now? They'll come EVERY WEEK for the entire summer and aerate your fecking yard! And when you call to complain? They'll swear to be damned no one aerated your yard, you have no account, and it says right here in their notes that you're a jerk.

    By the way, aerating your yard? What the hell? Go buy some golf shoes and walk around.

  6. We had a similar experience except I work from home so I knew they never showed up. They tried to threaten me that I had a CONTRACT but I said "you broke it by not showing up". Then she cried because the guy has cancer or his wife left him or his truck broke down. I have moles galore but no dandelions. And the dogs like to chase the moles and sometimes bring them in the house for me to chase. So I guess I should thank TruGreen for helping me with my cardio.

    1. Thank you for this comment! I am cracking up (at your expense of course!).

  7. I think the Suzzzzzz should share with all of us! We could use the help as well in South Jordan. Do you also have pest control?

    1. I hate to advertise here, but yes we do lawn & pest control between Provo, UT and Burley, ID. If you're interested call us, 435.563.2643 and we'll get you set up for a free estimate or answer any questions you have.

    2. The Suzzzzzzzz, this means your company is now an official advertiser on Stranger so I'm legally obligated to send you a bill for eleventy million dollars.

      I called them today and a nice lady named Ann answered and as I was setting up an appointment to have someone come out to my house she said "someone just passed me a note and asked me to tell you 'twice up the barrel, once down the side.' I don't know what that means."

    3. I should tell the owner to sponsor the podcast, but then he might listen to it and I'm not sure I want my coworkers listening to my horrible dating stories. Yeah she was a bit confused when I handed her that note, but hey it made me laugh. I thought about putting the fear of god in the tech and telling him "Watch out for this guy, he's a really tough customer, you better take dog treats for his dog." but I didn't want to scare him too bad.

    4. hehehe I love this so much! If it wasn't our code phrase before, it is now.

    5. I hope the next post is not titled “The Suzzzzzz Done Me Wrong”. Ha ha

  8. I just wait until I see the local aeration dude next door then I go grab him and beg him to come aerate my lawn for whatever the going rate is. Then just as he starts working my lawn the neighbor in the other side comes and begs him to aerate his lawn, even though it is twice the going rate for his small patch of grass. Well after dark the dude leaves our cul-de-sac with pockets stuffed full of cash

  9. Our neighborhood rents an aerator for a weekend and the dads schedule times to use it. It's about $15 per lawn. Since you have such a good relationship with your neighbors, maybe try this!

  10. I'm sooo far behind and back log reading so forgive this belated comment. My dad refers to himself and the consumer terrorist because in his retirement years he now uses his lawyer skills to take companies like Southwest and T-Mobile to small claims court for just this type of infraction. I feel like your lawyer skills could also be used to do some good in this way toward TruGreen. My mom used them, and if they treated your lawn, there would have been a small trugreen flag stuck in the corner of your front lawn. So if you never saw flags, you likely were never treated.