Sympathy vote.

Let’s face it, we all do it. Each and every one of us has used the sympathy vote to make things easier – admit it. You’ve made things sound a lot worse (or simply used truth of something sad) to make someone feel sorry for you to help you get further, or get out of it.

But can you take it too far? Can you try using the sympathy vote too much? I ask this because lately I’ve been having building work on the house and one of the men, I feel tried using sympathy to excuse his poor skills.

He – an “experienced” carpenter who I renamed Dippy Chippie for being rather slow, came in, several hours late saying he was sorry but his drill was broken and he had to buy a new one. Okay! Not a great start, but at least he is here now, right? No, not at all.  He also bought a new chop saw with him – which my father had to help him put together and sort out.

End of day two, we noticed he’d took hours – he was taking down and putting up batons in their place. Taking one hour per baton. That’s right, one hour to rip out 6 or so nails, measure out (he did it individually rather than using a template size and just chopping a few) and them put them back up. To which a co-worker come in on third day to help, and did half a room within half hour.

At the end of day two before leaving he told us the following things;

  • I haven’t worked in a couple years, today is my first day back.
  • I had a cot death a few years go and then had a baby.
  • I live in X (Forty five minute car ride) and have to catch a train to and from work.

Now, hearing this I felt awful, it’s a touchy subject for my family so we could empathise how hard it must be, and to get back into it. It’s an awful thing. And we did let his slowness slide a little. However, the following happened;

Within the hour and a half after his leaving. I found FOUR Stanley knife blades. All over the floor, now I can forgive screws and nails but blades? With having a small child myself I was outraged – especially given his history losing a child himself. And before I could mother spoke to him in the morning. To which he denied some of the blades being his – fifteen minutes later he came in apologising saying she’d made him feel paranoid. Seriously?!


To me, he was using his loss as an excuse to be so poor at his job – this was too much. He could have killed my child. Is it really acceptable to think using sympathy for this kind of thing is okay?