An 88 year old widow's drain was running slow so she called her regular plumber who is actually named "Leaky Pipes Plumbing" . Really. He came out and could not remove the blockage so he called his buddy at Des Moines Drain and Sewer Cleaning Service. That guy came and later informed the widow that she would need to dig up the drain line as he got his "snake" caught in the line and could not get it out. He claimed it was new and 3/4" diameter.... and gave her a bill for $500+. The widow felt pressured to pay so she wrote the guy a check for $300 and he left.
The widow's sons called the inept snake handler and that snake of a businessman returned the next day (without his flute) and could not get his snake out of the drain line. He told one son he had 75 or more feet of snake in the drain. The younger son thought that the front yard was only about 50 feet to the street and wondered how DesMoines Drain and Sewer Cleaning Service (DMD&SC) got 75 feet into that drain. The son called West Des Moines Utilities thinking maybe the snake had entered the main line out at the street. The City of WDM sent a camera down a nearby manhole and did not find any snake or obstruction in the main sewer.
A week later the younger son, after being told by DMD&SC that no one could pull that snake out loaded up his pick-up , a trusty Ford Ranger that has 330,000 miles on it, mostly put on doing inspections in Wisconsin, and traveled 350+ miles south to West Des Moines. That son, the writer of this blog, had loaded up any tool, jack, contraption he had that might possibly be used to "charm that snake" out of that drain.
Arriving late in the evening I set out to extract that snake. Turns out the jerk from DMD&SC had cut the snake off, and short at that, so it was a delicate operation to get enough hold on its "tail" to pull it up to the level of the clean-out and get a real grip on it. By bedtime a contraption had been securely connected to the snake's tail and I called it a night.
The next day with only about 14' out of the drain I told Mom to call the guy and tell him that a guy had started pulling his snake out. The owner of DMD&SC was out there in a matter of minutes wanting his alledged "new 3/4" pet snake... I was not only rude but slightly pissed off not to mention having used food on me that had collected in the drain, I asked the jerk to leave immediately which he refused to do as he insisted to see his snake. I had mom call 911 as I was about to totally loose it with the guy and did show him the snake up close, got a little used food on the guy as he was standing over where it was laying in the leaves and as I raised it up ... well as they say s__t happens and crap sneaks up on you... Mr. DMD&SC told be "4 guys would never get it all out of that drain."
Cop came and (mis)informed me that I would have to return the abandoned snake to DMD&SC after I got it out. (I checked Iowa law on abandoned property when I got back home) I worked with "Jack" , a 500MCM lug and some other junk hardware until later in the afternoon when I had approximately 40 feet out and was getting near the boiling point as I could only extract about 14" each time before having to re-rig my jack and other hardware. So since I was feeding it out a nearby basement window I went outside and decided to tie a rope to it and yank on it. Before doing so I fashioned some plywood around the window opening so the snake would not damage the jamb. I attached the rope via the 500MCM lug and wrapped it around my waist and headed for the street thinking there couldn't be that much more snake in the drain. The end of the snake was already at the sidewalk next to the street.
I took off the best a 60 year old guy could and did my best imitation of a horse hitched to a wagon. I pulled snake out, more and more and more. A total of 81 feet. It was not 3/4" and it was not "new" as I found a repaired joint in it.
I did coil it up neatly, tied it off with a rope and thought of taking it home with me but instead did as instructed by the WDM police officer (well kinda) I ended up returning the snake in person. Other details that continue to this day, 01/08/13, show how snakey the owner of DMD&SC really is.
Yup my mom still owes the DMD&SC jerk $200 + as he has failed to agree to making the remaining bill "paid in full". Two typed letters have been sent to him asking that the bill be made paid in full.
I think the WDM police officer that came should have arrested the guy for tresspassing that November 2012 day . As it is, no police report was filed. Maybe at least he could have practiced use of his taser on that "snake". But then the animal rights advocates might have gotten involved.
Make sure you get references before hiring any type of contractor. Drain cleaning servce providers do not need to be licensed in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Before I left WDM I had a reputable firm video-cam the drain line and have the DVD to prove it. That same firm later returned and de-rooted the drain for under $100.00 .