Wallpapering over a bumpy wall or restructuring an existing company in China? Michael Sylvester

About twenty years ago, while living in Amsterdam as a graduate student, I was lucky enough to find an apartment in the Jordaan neighborhood right next to the Westerkerk.  It is the place Rembrandt is buried and is right next to the Anne Frank house.  I often watched the tourists line up for a tour of the Anne Frank house out my kitchen window when having a morning coffee.
 
Studying international law, great apartment, Europe was turning inside out as the EU was forming and the Russians were just about to shell their own Parliment building.  Occassionally, I would have to pinch myself to be sure it was all real -- for the world was changing so fast -- and my fellow students and I were right in the middle of it and -- well, it could not be cooler if we dreamed it up as a stage play.
 
And then I called a contractor to paint and fix up the apartment.
 
A little leak in the bathroom, let's seal the wood floors, can you fix the lock on the back door -- and that wall in the living room that has some water damange, let's fix that and put the wallpaper back up (not because we liked it, but because the landlord wanted us to).  Great, we'll take care of it and you can move in a week from now.
 
On arriving at my lovely new home I noticed the living room wall.  The water stained wallpaper was gone and the new (perhaps uglier) wallpaper was there.  But, the wall was not smoothed out before the new wallpaper was applied.  Um...
 
Why didn't you repair the wall before putting up the paper?  "It does not leak anymore" was the answer.  Once again, um...for that was not the question I asked.  "We stayed within the budget you authorized, sir" was his next response.
 
So, still today I feel like I did not get what I wanted.  And he felt like he had done all he could based on the restrictions I placed on him.  It was my fault.  I asked him to do a job and expected an excellent result for a mediocre price.  He did the best he could and I ended up living with a bumpy wall.
 
I got what I paid for.