A Storm Of Crazy Requests

, , , , | Right | June 25, 2018

(It is pouring rain outside, and our area is under warnings for severe storms. There have been tornadoes touching down in a couple of nearby towns, but nothing close enough to us that our shop would close. It is raining so hard that we can only see several yards outside of the windows, with thunder loud enough to shake the small front office building at times, and bright, frequent lightning. In the middle of this torrential downpour, a customer pulls his car up in one of the parking spaces near the office door and runs inside.)

Customer: *with water dripping off his jacket to puddle on the floor as he comes to my reception desk* “Hi, can someone come outside and look at my car? I need an estimate on repairs.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but we won’t be able to right now. Would you like an appointment for later in the week?”

Customer: “You mean no one can step outside right now?”

(He eyes my coworkers at their desks on the other side of the office.)

Me: “No, sir. I’m sorry. It’s a hazard for our team. Plus, it’ll be hard for them to really see everything that needs fixing in this rain.”

(I chuckle politely, but I’m thinking of the dangers involved in standing in the middle of an open parking lot with all the lightning flashing, not to mention the pouring rain and the hail and tornado warnings going on.)

Customer: “But I’m here now!”

Me: “Sir, there is no way I can send any of our team out there in this weather. We’d love to help you once it clears up, though.”

Customer: “I want to talk to someone now. It’s just the side of my car that needs fixing; it’s not a lot!”

(One of my coworkers comes over, all of them having heard the exchange. He tells the customer the same thing I did, then peeks out the window to try to see what the car’s damage looks like.)

Coworker: “From here, I can tell you that you’ll need…” *lists multiple pieces for the car, including a hood, a headlight, and several things on the side of the car* “And that’s not counting anything internal. You’re looking at least [high dollar amount] for all of those. If you want to come back later, we can definitely write it all up for you and get an exact price.”

Customer: “That much?!”

Coworker: “Yes, I’m afraid so.”

Customer: “Man, I thought this was going to be easy!”


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Money Makes The Car Wheels Go Round

, , , , , | | Right | June 1, 2018

(A customer comes in looking for a quick check for a noise his car is making. It’s a Saturday and normally we are very busy, but today I have time to talk to the customer about his interest in buying a luxury car and the cost for upkeep on them. The mechanic checks it out and tells me what’s wrong. I price it up and give him about $80 in discounts.)

Me: “Well, sir, I have it all written up for you. It needs tie rods and sway bar links for the noise. It’s going to be $570 for everything, but I was able to apply some discounts and get the price down to $490. That’s the lowest I can go for the work.”

Customer: “This is too much money for me; I can’t afford it.”

Me: “I understand, sir, but unfortunately I cannot go any cheaper; I’ve applied all the discounts that I have to give. I’m not even charging you labor for one part.”

Customer: “Let me see your pen. I’m going to write a price down on this sheet, and you are going to do it at this price because I’m a good customer and its the price I feel is right for the work.”

Me: “No, sir, that’s not how it works.”

(He writes down $400.)

Me: “Sir, it’s $490 or nothing.”

Customer: “But I come here all the time! Look at my history!”

Me: “Sir, you’ve come in four times in four years: one for a bearing for which you ended up making us return your money and put the old part back on, then we didn’t see you again for two years, then you did two oil changes and one battery. You just spent thirty minutes talking to me about buying a Mercedes or a BMW. Honestly, if you can’t afford a $500 part on your Nissan, how do you plan on affording a $600 brake job?”

(The customer ended up taking his estimate and leaving.)

Something Was Lost From Mouth To Mouse

, , , , , | Working | February 20, 2018

(I am collecting my car from having been fixed from a new repair shop. A receptionist is helping me when his computer mouse stops working.)

Me: “Put it next to another mouse. That will make it work.”

(The receptionist does just that.)

Me: “That is mouse-to-mouse resuscitation!”

Receptionist: “It didn’t work.”

(I felt really embarrassed as he just didn’t get the joke.)

You And The Tech Are Not In Alignment

, , , , , , | Working | November 29, 2017

Me: “I need the oil changed. And also, I think you’d better check the alignment, as I bounced off a curb pretty hard recently.”

(I sit in the waiting room. Within 20 minutes, I’m called to the service desk.)

Service Guy: “Your car’s ready. You owe [low amount].”

Me: “Are you sure? There hasn’t been time to check the alignment, and you haven’t charged me for it.”

Service Guy: “I don’t know about that. You’d have to talk with the technician.”

Me: “Could I talk to the service manager, please?”

Service Guy: “He’s not here.”

Me: “Then I’d like to talk to the technician, please.”

(He looks a bit startled, but gets the tech from the back.)

Me: “I asked to have the alignment checked. Did you do it?”

Tech: “Yeah.”

Me: “I don’t see anything on the paperwork documenting that.”

Tech: “We had it up on the rack to change the oil, and I looked at the alignment. It’s fine.”

Me: “You know, I’m pretty sure checking the alignment is a lot more complicated than that.”

Tech: *condescendingly* “Lady, I looked at it! It’s fine!”

Me: “Would you put that in writing?” *I turn over the paperwork and hand it to him, with a pen*

Tech: “Sure!”

Tech: *writes* “I looked at the alignment and it’s fine.”

Me: “Be sure to sign that, please.”

(He did. I thanked them, paid, and left. The next morning I called and talked to the service manager, explaining what I was told. He asked me to bring the car back in, which I did at my convenience. End of story: free alignment check, and free realignment, because it was way off. And I’m guessing the tech learned not to sign things he wasn’t certain of!)

School Can Open Doors

, , , , | Working | November 10, 2017

(I live in a very small town. My car is hit and sustains damage on the passenger side. I take it to the only auto body shop in town for repairs. I pick it up on Friday. On Sunday evening I chaperone an event at the high school.)

Student: “Hey, Mrs. [My Name]. My dad’s outside.”

Me: “Why? You guys are supposed to be done at 10:00. It’s only 9:30.”

Student: “I don’t know. I’ll text him.”

(Several minutes pass.)

Student: “That’s weird. My dad never answered, and now his car is gone.”

Me: “He’ll probably be back at 10:00.”

(We finish up and I dismiss the other kids. It’s now 10:15 and there is no sign of the student’s dad.)

Me: “Did you try calling him?”

Student: “Yeah. It went to voicemail. I guess I can walk.”

Me: “I can take you. Why don’t you take my car keys and these boxes and go get in the car. I’ll be there as soon as I lock up here.”

(He takes the keys and goes off to the parking lot. I turn off the lights and lock up and head to the car. When I get there, the student is standing next to the car, looking perplexed.)

Me: “What’s wrong?”

Student: “Your key doesn’t do anything. I put it in the lock and it spins all the way around and doesn’t unlock the door.”

(I try the passenger door and find he’s correct. I try the driver’s door and it works fine. I reach across and open his door. As we are driving to his house:)

Student: “You know, my dad can probably fix that. He owns a body shop.”

Me: “I know. I just got my car back from your dad’s shop on Friday. He fixed the passenger side. I guess he forgot to reattach the lock.”

(By the time I get home after dropping off the student, I have a voice mail.)

Student’s Dad: “Hi. This is [Student’s Dad]. Thanks for dropping off [Student]. If you can come to the shop in the morning, I will fix your door. I’m really sorry. Um, just tell the girls at the desk you need to see me. They, uh, don’t need to know why.”

(I guess he was embarrassed to admit to his staff what happened!)

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