My father is a carpenter/contractor, so he has a lot of tools. He taught me respect for his tools. Sure, I lapse from time to time, and take a tool of his and don’t put it back right away. Recently, I was on a job site running some ethernet wire, and I discovered I had left my cutters at my house (I was in the middle of doing some electrical work there). Around me, I had electricians doing their thing. I could have asked to “borrow” their cutters, but I know better. I don’t like it when people use my tools, and I don’t want to use other peoples tools in return. So I MacGyvered some cutters and got the job done. On this same job site, in four seperate occasions, my “tools” were disrespected.
The first was with my aluminum ladder. It’s a great ladder. It’s only five feet tall, so it fits in my truck. It’s expandable to 20 feet. I had left the ladder the night before in another room in the construction area. When I came in that day, I found the electricians using my nice ladder to unroll their wire. They had gone and gotten my ladder, opened it up, and set it up for their use. As if it was their ladder! Funny, it was set somewhere else, and labeled with my name, and my company name. I walked up, and said “Uh. No.” The electrician quickly removed his stuff and apologized.
The second was an extension cord. I had left it there while doing work as it was coming through the ceiling from the finished side of the building. I’d try to put it back up in the ceiling when I was done. Apparently, the drywall guys though that it was a cord meant for their use and wired up lights to it. I am working there one night, and decide to take my extension cord back (I had needed on several occasions and didn’t have it). Apparently, the drywallers were in an uproar because someone had taken the extension cord. It was never theirs to begin with.
The third was with my six foot ladder. A particular friend whom I know at the job site decided to use the ladder (which I had left in a closet so that the construction workers would not use it). I am normally perfectly fine with him using it. However, when he was done, he did not return my ladder to where he found it. As the drywallers sprayed on their texture, my ladder lay on the floor. My ladder is now covered in drywall texture.
The fourth was with my same six foot ladder, and partially my fault. I had left the ladder in the construction area. Apparently, they painted. My ladder now has a fine yellow mist on it in addition to the drywall texture. However, interestingly enough, the ladder was not in the same place I left it. In fact, it appears to be in an area where it looks as though someone was using it. If I was in their position, I would have removed all items that shouldn’t be getting paint on it, knowing, as a painter, that the mist would go everywhere. This is also where I noticed that my name and company name written on the ladder appear to be a lot lighter than I last remembered it. I would be willing to bet that if I hadn’t taken my ladder tonight, it would have disappeared with the contractors, thinking it was “their” ladder.
It not so much that other people are using my tools. It’s that other people are using my tools, and have NO respect for them. I’ve spent the last decade building up my own supply of tools. Thousands of dollars of tools. My father had most of his tools stolen once while at work, and it devastated him. I’d be the same way if my tools suddenly disappeared.
Needless to say, I will no longer leave any tools behind to make things easier. I will drive out of my way to go get a ladder at my house every night for a job before leaving a single tool on the job site. I will relabel all of my tools, with a permanent marker, and etched where needed.