The glass in our shower door cracked, so I called around yesterday
looking for replacement glass.

First I tried a place we’ve used twice before, including the time our
cat jumped through a window. He was backed up and short on help, so 4 to
5 weeks. He recommended somewhere else.

$225, they quoted me. I’m pretty good at disguising my “Are you shittin’
me?” voice, so I asked a few more questions and hung up. I’m no glass
expert so it’s hard to know what’s reasonable sometimes, which is why
it’s so important to get multiple quotes on home improvement stuff.
Still, I know I had an entire sliding back door replaced for less than
that, so it was ridiculous.

$150 at the next place. Getting better. But still, it’s just a piece of
glass. I don’t need an artisan to gently mount the glass in an antique
oak frame. You take a metal frame apart with a screwdriver, cut the
glass, put the frame back together. It’s like the time we had a
certified arborist come out and look at our trees. In the end we decided
one of them had to go, and he quoted me one of those “are you shittin
me?” prices. He was a really good guy, so I said right back, “I don’t
exactly need a trained arborist for that do I? It seems like the only
skill required here is not breaking that wall with the tree.” In the end
we took it down ourselves. He did prune our other tree though.

$120 was the next glass estimate.

Finally, $70 at the last place I called. I did a virtual double take.

I would say that “You get what you pay for” is a general truism,
although many times what you’re paying for is extra polish, a nicer
office, or a name. Of course, the reverse truism for vendors is “Charge
what they’re willing to pay.”

The thing is, the level of helpfulness was inverse to the cost. The
first few were annoyed that I asked for a rough estimate first. As the
price got lower they got more polite and friendly, asking more
questions. The last guy asked me about what I wanted in replacement,
what was in there now, and the age of the door. I think he would have
treated me to a history of tempered glass if I hadn’t ended the

And to top it all off, the cheapest place was 3 blocks away from the
house. All of the places were local, but this was far better.