Tiler about engineers: "An arrogant bunch"
Awareness and lack of payment: A Bavarian tiler does not want to work for engineers from Audi and Siemens. He created an exclusion list - and is surprised by the reactions.
Because the behavior of some of his customers annoyed him, a tiler has gone an unusual way: In his business from the region around Ingolstadt certain professional groups with job requests no longer have to report. Especially engineers from Audi and Siemens.
Michael Schmiedl, specialist in tile laying, balcony and terrace renovation in the district of Kelheim in Lower Bavaria, no longer wants to work for certain occupational groups of both companies. He published an exclusion list on the website of his company under the heading "... no longer for know-it-alls". "We do not work for engineers, doctoral students, professors of the companies Audi and Siemens" can be read there. Concerned persons could save themselves inquiries by mail immediately.
What happened? The exclusion was from "business management point of view" and on the basis of experiences "concerning payment morality and problem customers" takes place. That was already done in October 2016, but after a screenshot of his website in the Audi workforce made the rounds in December according to Schmiedl, the "Donaukurier" reported on the topic, which was also discussed outside of Bavaria. Numerous readers contacted Schmiedl. He has received over 2000 letters.
Call a frustrated tiler:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What did the Audi engineers do to you?
Michael Schmiedl: You are out of touch with reality. They demand things that are not technically approved and therefore can not be implemented. It has happened, for example, that bathrooms should be tiled without joints. Or someone chooses a tile model with dimensions of 30 by 60 centimeters, then measures and does not accept if that deviates five millimeters. But that is always the case, because the joint is included in the measurement. The man then commissioned a standard opinion. It was usually paid either too late or with deductions.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But they are all engineers. They are familiar with the implementation of plans?
Schmiedl : No, that's not true at all. Such an automotive engineer, who normally has two left hands, can not do anything. They can not even knock a nail in the wall. These are complete theorists. It always looks good and beautiful on paper, but the craftsman knows what he's doing. He has the foreknowledge. The plans, which the customer has drawn in advance, are often not feasible.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How do you know that a potential customer works for Audi?
Schmiedl : Most of the time you can tell when the famous 0841-89 number calls, the -89 is almost always Audi. Most engineers make such phone calls from work, for whatever reason. I did not answer the phone. However, we communicate a lot via e-mail during operation, so I could hardly judge who I am dealing with. That's why I made the exclusion list public. I did not want to work for the job back then. And if it came out just before the run, 'man this is an Audi engineer', then it was disappointing for both sides.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Did you surprise the response? You have already received over 2000 mails.
Schmiedl : Yes, that's already enormous. It started in December with the fact that someone photographed the exclusion list and sent it via messenger service at Audi, then it went around in Bavaria and finally the media took it up.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you regret this?
Schmiedl : I do not regret that at all. I receive many letters of thanks, especially from Audi employees. Almost everyone says 'finally someone will say it'. Among them are a few engineers. They are glad that this arrogance and this behavior is addressed from the top down times. They do not do it themselves, because they are afraid for their job. So I read that out of the letters.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But is not it risky to alienate a well-off clientele?
Schmiedl : That's not how I see it. This is not really our target group. We are mainly doing renovations and the Audi engineers always want to build new houses anyway. However, they no longer find craftsmen in the region who want to work for them. In the meantime, it is already the case that parents of engineers want to vouch for companies for their children.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is there no chance that you give in?
Schmiedl : Yes, definitely. After the many reactions I can already imagine that. I want to emphasize that I have nothing against the company. The workforce is also great. Problems only exist at the engineering level, which is simply too high-pitched. This is really an arrogant bunch.
Schmiedl does not have to worry about the order situation anyway. "The order situation, especially for companies in the construction and development trade, is currently very good in Bavaria, the order books are full," says Alexander Tauscher, spokesman for the Bavarian Craft Day (BHT).
His customers may choose each company itself: "Every craft business can decide freely which customers he wants to serve, it is the contract freedom.This is a purely entrepreneurial decision.You can just as well choose their contractor," said Tauscher. He adds: "At the moment we are not aware of a case like the one in Riedenburg."
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And Audi? The company, which employs 44,000 people at its home base in Ingolstadt, points out that the employees concerned had acted in their free time.
Incidentally, Handwerker Schmiedl likes to answer the phone with a professional group: with police officers. He writes that the "problem customer rate is zero percent".