Last year, Merry Wise, longtime industry pro and friend of AQUA Magazine, wrote a story about the craziest customers she's ever experienced on the job. From lions and armadillos to a goth-inspired pool proposal, she's had quite a few wild customers on her hands.
After the story ran, we had readers email us and reach out on Facebook with stories of their own.
"Several years ago, one of our clients in a rural area had a neighboring farmer's calf get through the fence from an adjacent pasture, and it fell into the client's pool. As it struggled to get out, it damaged the liner beyond repair so the client asked the farmer to pay for the replacement (via lawyers, of course!).
During the investigation it was discovered the pool had been built partially on the farmer's own property, as the fence had been located improperly by the previous pool owner. So the farmer's lawyers argued that the calf fell into the farmer's 'third' of the pool, and as such, the farmer was not willing to fix his part of the pool — especially as he did not get to swim in it!
Not only did the pool owner have to have the pool repaired, he had to purchase the property that the pool was located on with all the attendant costs of severing the parcel and building a new fence! The good news is the calf was fine, just a little cleaner after his dip in the pool."
— Dan Reid | Heathcote, Ontario, Canada
"One guy would just complain just to have something to complain about. He'd say, 'I want my bill here before the first of the month.' We serviced his pool for 12 years, and on the last day, he came out bitching that we 'don't give a damn about his pool.' As I looked at his pristine, sparkling, beautiful pool, I told him enjoy the rest of his life."
— Steve Brookbanks | Tuscon, Ariz.
"We have a regular customer who is really nice; we like her very much. She lives close to the hills and has a lot of wildlife coming into her yard — she's had numerous issues with rabbits and raccoons.
One day, a rabbit fell into the pool and drowned. She discovered it when she reached into the skimmer and felt something furry in the skimmer basket. For a little while after that, she had us come over to empty her skimmer basket, because she was afraid of finding another animal in there.
After the rabbit incident, she wanted to try to scare the rabbits into not coming into her yard to prevent them from drowning in the pool. So she bought a pellet gun and used it one afternoon to shoot at the rabbits (not to kill them, but to scare them).
That night she had a dream that there was a knock at her door. When she opened it, there stood a 6-foot-tall, very mad rabbit."
— Jennifer Dorn | Chino, Calif.
"Went out to this guy's house to replace a broken pump, I found the problem was caused by a bad power diverter that starved the pump for water and damaged it. So I fixed it per his instructions. Then he refused to pay, saying I was making it all up. He stopped his payment and wanted his old pump back. So I returned his pump and he still refused to pay — meanwhile, he's using the new pump that of course we couldn't get back! Later on, the house went into foreclosure.
Moral of the story: Stick to your schedule and don't do any favors for unknown customers!"
— John Bosserman | Oregon City, Ore.
Illustrations by Noah Phillips