Normally, it's seen as a good idea to get someone skilled to perform a job. If your car or house needs repair and you don't have those skills, Step One is a phone call to a repairman.
But sometimes the person you hire isn't as skilled as you'd expect a professional to be. The carpenter putting in your deck doesn't bother to make it level. The mechanic working on your car decides he doesn't need the correct part, he can make something in his shop "fit". No matter what the specific job, the one thing characters who fall under this trope have in common is that they can't do the job they were hired for. This character might be a Con Man
, or he might have a higher regard for his "skills" than anyone else does.
Distinct from Doom It Yourself
and D.I.Y. Disaster
in that those tropes involve amateurs attempting tasks in which they are untrained, and this trope applies to people who are (supposedly) trained and (purportedly) do for a living. Can sometimes be caught via Spot the Imposter
No Real Life Examples, Please!
. These people (and companies) do
exist, and it's a good idea to check references before hiring someone — let's leave it at that.
- Les Tuniques Bleues has a former Southerner who moved to Canada to mine gold bequeath his fortune to the South, with our heroes sent to stop him. They also hire a coureur des bois to guide them, and every time Chesterfield cites a Memetic Badass-level fact about them, the guy proves him wrong (falling flat on his face every few feet, giving them fleas, leaving clothes on anthills to get rid of parasites and getting them back full of ants). When they finally reach the prospector's cabin, they find the Southern delegation... who it turned out hired the guide's equally-inept brother. The prospector dies of laughter after explaining the guides had only just gotten out of the forest from that cabin after several months (a few days' trip), and it turned out he'd only ever mined a few ounces of gold.
- Holmes On Homes is all about fixing the aftermath of this.
- The Monroe brothers on Green Acres are supposedly the best contractors in Hooterville, yet they make an absolute mess of remodeling the Douglases' home. Justified in that before then they were only building chicken coops (which is exactly what they build the very first day on the job).
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Gilderoy Lockhart was hired as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor due to his track record of defeating magical monsters. It turns out that his only real skill is stealing the credit for those defeated monsters from the wizards who actually did the work.
- Fallout: New Vegas has Fantastic, a technician hired by the NCR to fix the power grid at Helios One, who has absolutely no idea what he's doing.
- Belkar was invited to join The Order of the Stick on the grounds that he's a ranger, and Roy assumed that he had some skills as a tracker. Belkar later reveals that he hasn't invested a single point in his track skill, and only took the class because it lets him dual wield knives.
- In King of the Hill, Hank's house tests positive for mold right before a big homes tour. It turns out the mold inspector is just dragging his feet to squeeze more money out of the insurance company.
- In the Rocky and Bullwinkle storyline "Rue Brittania", Boris has a job as an exterminator, and is hired by the nephews of the deceased Earl of Krancase (who get Bullwinkle's inheritance if he dies) to exterminate Bullwinkle. After a number of failed attempts, Boris offers to pay them to kill Bullwinkle. When one says that he thought Boris was an expert, Boris says that he is an expert "at not killing moose!"