Leaving With Her Taillights Between Her Legs

, , , , | Right | January 15, 2020

My first job was working at a small four-bay auto shop in a mountain community. A customer came in with a brand-new SUV, complaining that her husband said her taillights did not work. 

According to her, she had missed a few days of work because she was afraid to drive without taillights for fear of being pulled over. She said the bulbs the local parts store had sold to her had proved ineffective. I ran through a light check; I even had a colleague watch while I pushed on the brakes and activated the blinkers to make sure everything was working properly. All taillights worked, so I noted normal operation at this time and shipped the car to be returned to its owner. 

The next day, I found the same SUV in my bag with a note in all caps: “CUSTOMER STATES TAILLIGHTS STILL DO NOT WORK.” I checked everything again, and again, everything seemed to be working. Dumbfounded, I told the service writer the results. He ended up calling the customer and asking her to drop by the shop to help us understand what she thought was wrong. 

She came by a few hours later. I showed her that all the lights worked, but she insisted her taillight was still broken. I walked to the back of the car and asked her to point out the lights she thought weren’t working. 

She told me the lights were broken because they never came on with the other ones when the headlights were turned on… and then proceeded to point out the white reverse lights on the back of her car. 

Apparently, she’d missed three days of work because she didn’t understand that reverse lights only come on when the car is in reverse. (There is one manufacturer that has programmed reverse lights to indicate when a button on the key fob is pressed, but this particular vehicle was not one of those.) 

I showed her that the reverse lights did, indeed, work, and sent her on her way.

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