I didn't want to meet any Vogons today.
So I tossed on my jacket, grabbed my camera, and watched them toddle this small tank across my yard. They had already started digging this huge hole near where my gas meter was, and they were setting up the pneumatic jackhammer to destroy my sidewalk that surrounds the house.
I had visions of bodies being dug up, ala the "Poltergheist." On this tech board I am on, they regaled me with personal horror stories of utility digs and their yards, punctuated with jokes about "move the bodies before they dig." (I assured them I used chipper shredders and seagulls). I discovered quickly that I had rather healthy, loamy soil. Nice dark rich color.
"Hola," I said. I already knew they spoke Spanish by their shouting. "Lo siento, mi español no es muy bueno. Como estas?" I got some response back, and one of the men came up to me. What can I say that would convince them not to shatter my sidewalk, which I was positive would not be repaired, ever?
"Mira..." I stared. And then I said, in broken Spanish and English that I didn't want them to break up my sidewalk. One of the men spoke broken English, so we kind of met in the middle. The men conferred for a bit, and said something about the pipes. Yeah, I know, the pipes. I showed them what they could do instead, mentioning the power line. They seemed uneasy about this. Then this idea just popped into my head. I am not sure what did it, whether it was my mother, who once bribed garbage men with beer to pick up our trashcans in our shed rather than drag it to the curb, or the thought of digging like Jack Sparrow's liquid treasure, or Ford Prefect taking Arthur Dent out to a pub before the planet blew up. But this came out of my mouth:
"Okay... Yo tengo una ... bottle... ron... Parrot Bay ron..."
THAT got their attention. A bottle of rum? I quickly made a deal if they were nice to my yard, they could have a free bottle of unopened Parrot Bay rum. Quickly, the deals started coming my way. Much laughter, and I went and got them the rum. One of the guys quickly took it and put in in his truck.
The rest of the dig? With the care and detail of a fine quality job. They raked, cleaned up, and only dug a 1" wide trench. It took them probably twice as long to do my yard as it took them to do others, but they even put down grass seed for me. My sidewalk was saved. There was not dirt and hay everywhere. No scattered mounds of soil left behind. In fact, apart from the 2" stripe of hay and grass seed, my house was untouched. And the whole time they were really friendly to me.
Something to keep in mind.