Movers, we all know, rank just above car salesman on most lists of least trustworthy service providers.
Urban legends abound about couples whose furniture was held hostage until they coughed up extra cash for charges well above the agreed-to price, or truckloads of precious goods that never made it to that new homestead because the movers were, in fact, con men. And some of these stories are no doubt true, or so my friends tell me, as they know people who know people to whom this really happened. (Friends, I should note, who swore, after they helped me move last time in exchange for pizza and beer, that they wouldn't be my friends if I asked them again, and rightly so.) It's enough to make sore backs, dinged desks, broken china and scratched new floors seem like a quite acceptable outcome. Still, fatalism is rarely a winning strategy, nor is it necessary for those willing to approach the matter with the care and forethought it so richly deserves. My wife, Lorraine, and I are in the midst of just such a move, from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the Hudson Valley, and have found it to be, if not exactly a pleasurable experience, at least a manageable one. Our first, untutored move was -- surprise! -- to get references. We were fortunate enough to know an unfortunate friend who's moved three times in the metropolitan New York area in the span of a year, and for the latter two he happily employed