About To Be Charged With Battery

, , , , | Right | July 1, 2017

(During a friendly chat with my boss I let it slip that I like to wrench on vehicles in my spare time. Seizing at the opportunity to transform my favorite hobby into something I’ll soon hate, he appoints me the new go-to guy for anything even remotely related to mechanical subject matter. Even though we have reference books tied to the rack, I’m often paged to the automotive battery rack so I can look up the correct battery for them. Upon doing this, one of two reactions is guaranteed to unfold:

  1. The customer, who three seconds ago didn’t know the make or model of vehicle they were working on, suddenly becomes an expert on all things battery, and proceeds to tell me that the book is wrong and there’s ‘no way’ the recommended battery will be powerful enough to start their vehicle. They then scour the rack for a farm tractor or forklift battery with enough cranking amps to successfully fry the ignition on their ’00 Volkswagen Beetle.
  2. The customer gasps, loudly enough to pull merchandise off a nearby endcap, at the price of the correct battery, and then goes in search of the cheapest $26 lawn tractor battery that would make the power door locks on their Dodge crewcab diesel laugh a hearty guffaw.)


Customer: “Hi. I’m looking for a battery for my car.”

Me: “Sure! I’d be happy to get you all set. What kind of car is it?”

Customer: “It’s a little two-door.”

Me: “Okay, do you know what brand it is?”

Customer: “Taurus makes it, I think?”

Me: “All right… Taurus is a Ford; does that sound right?”

Customer: “Yeah, whatever.”

Me: *looking in book* “Do you know which engine it has?” *I list available engines*

Customer: “Jeez… I didn’t know there were so many!” *there were two, a four cylinder and a V-6* “What did most of them come with?”

Me: “I’m not sure; it could be either one. Do you have the vehicle with you so we could check?”

Customer: “Oh, no.” *waves in the air and gives me a look as if to say “How silly of a question!”* “It’s at home. It won’t start. Let me put it this way: if it was your car, which one do you think it would be?”

Me: “Um… I would still need to know which engine I had. If we get the wrong one the battery might not fit or won’t be adequate for the application.”

(At this point the customer switches tactics, from clueless to pissy.)

Customer: “Well, fine! It’s a four cylinder!”

Me: “Okay… here we are, it’s [part number]; I’ve got one right here.”

Customer: “Is that tag for $79 for THIS BATTERY?”

Me: “Yes, it’s actually one of our less expensive batteries.”

Customer: “YOU think that’s less expensive? In that case I’d like to have your income!”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Well, what about this one?” *motions to a six-volt golf cart battery that costs $59* “Why won’t this one work?”

(I end up going through the full explanation of why their car needs a twelve-volt automotive battery. Their facial expression indicates NONE of what I am saying is getting through and that I’m just a slimy salesman trying to talk him into a top of the line option.)

Customer: “Fine! What about this one here?” *motions to a motorcycle battery*

(Again I went through the process of explaining why that won’t work. Eventually I thought I gained ground getting them to believe that I was just trying to recommend what would work for his car and what won’t. They begrudgingly thanked me and I went on to help other customers. Fast forward two hours. I was working elsewhere in the store and heard a commotion up at the registers. I poked my head out of my aisle and recognized the battery customer from earlier. As I was walking up I began catching parts of the conversation, things like “Didn’t have any idea what he was doing” and “Got me the wrong battery” and “Expect to be compensated for driving all the way over from (neighboring town that is a half mile down the road).” When I reached the registers, I saw he ended up going with a boat battery, probably because it was $49.99. He was in the process of going off on our cashier about how I had intentionally screwed him over until he saw me approaching. The look on his face of being caught in a lie was priceless. He quickly dropped the attitude and asked sheepishly if we would take the battery he had bought in exchange for the correct one.)

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