There’s a special place in hell for people who start up loud machinery before 8am. And within that special place in hell is an extra special place for people who operate leaf blowers at any time at all.
Leaf blowers are an evil combination of loud and intrusive, but also unnecessary—because if you blow a driveway clear of leaves, the leaves are back in half an hour. Add to this the fact that brooms are silent and plentiful, and it seems like leaf blowers don’t even need to exist.
But then hey, I’m not a gardener, so maybe I’m wrong to judge. Maybe leaf blower guys don’t even know how annoying they are. So I went and told a few...
Matty, 27, Project Manager/Landscaper
VICE: Hey Matty, do you know how annoying you are?
Oh mate, sure. I can’t stand when the blokes that live near me start at like 6.
I know right! So how do you justify it to yourself?
Well at the end of the day it's what we're getting paid for. I just think you don’t need to start doing it ridiculously early.
Do your clients ever get mad?
Yeah! A lot of the time, the people we work for don’t have to be up that early, if you know what I mean. So we get there and start working, and they still get mad because we wake them up with the blowers!
What’s the worst reaction you have had to just doing your job?
One time, we were doing a clean up after a job, and we had all the blowers out. We thought we were being tidy. This woman next door was whinging to us, and she legitimately made us pressure wash all the walls of her house and even her roof, just because we apparently got dust everywhere.
That seems like an overreaction.
We had the council called on us once, and people were threatening us with lawsuits for air pollution. When we get neighbours who regularly complain for no reason, we purposely blow stuff at them.
Jack, 26, Development Manager (Weekend Home Maintenance Warrior)
Jack, do you know how annoying you are?
Nah I don’t think I’m annoying at all.
How often do you leaf blow around your house?
Oh, every second day.
That’s a lot. Why so often?
A nice clean path leads to a nice clean life mate, and I love to keep my place tidy.
Have you ever been yelled at by your neighbours for doing it that often?
Yes, by the hypocrite of a bloke who lives behind me. He’s a maintenance man himself and loves to work on a Sunday, but loves to spray me from over the fence when I do some night time blowing after work.
How late at night are we talking?
That’s pretty late Jack. Have you ever pulled out the blower at a kick-on?
Nah, but we did mow the lawn once.
Harry, 22, Gardener
Hey Harry, have you ever had someone get really pissed off at you for doing your job with a leaf blower?
We had the cops called on us once. It was like 9 in the morning, and the lady next door was sitting on the balcony having her coffee. We often don’t start blowers up until later because we try to wait as long as possible. But she called the cops for noise pollution, and then called them again an hour later.
Do you try and keep the noise down or do you legitimately not think about it?
Yeah at the end of the day we actually pick up 95 percent of leaves, and it’s like the last five percent that we blow into the gardens. But that’s far too much for some people.
Does it ever affect business?
It would take 10 times longer to do everything without blowers, and that costs everyone money because then the clients will complain about how long it takes. If noise is pissing people off, we'll have to stop using mowers as well.
Does this happen often?
Nah, most of the time people are quiet, but every now and then someone yells or complains. We try to do all leaf blowing last to avoid it, but it’s a business at the end of the day, and we want to keep everyone happy.
Nick, 24, Former Gardener
Hey Nick, back when you were a gardener how often did you used to start up the leaf blower?
Literally, every day and I loved it.
Did you ever think you were being annoying?
Not at all. Some of these houses are so big, and people don’t actually understand how important leaf blowers are for getting jobs done. We aren’t all trying to just make noise!
Have the people you do it for ever gotten mad at how early you start?
Nah, they just like seeing the job get done quickly. It's just work at the end of the day, and the dogs love it.
Yeah, dogs love barking and chasing us when we have the leaf blowers. So at least it doesn’t annoy them.
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