No One Is Inspecting Those Excuses

, , , , | Working | March 14, 2019

It was nearing the end of the month, and as usual, I had put off getting my car’s yearly state inspection until the last week. The only time that I didn’t work when my preferred shop was open was a Friday afternoon, two days prior to the end of the month. I had conveniently made an appointment earlier that week on their online portal requesting a state inspection and oil change for Friday afternoon explaining that if I wasn’t able to, could they please let me know so I could make arrangements elsewhere. They responded saying it was fine and confirmed my appointment.

The day of, I drove to the shop, checked in, and handed over my keys and registration. I sat at one of their tables somewhat close to the desk, so I was still able to hear almost everything they were saying. I had brought my homework and was studying when I heard them tell a young man who came in that the state inspector wasn’t in for the day because he had to go to the hospital. I began to slightly panic and started looking up other shops in the area, but none were open on the weekends.

I went back to my work and heard them turn away another customer for a sticker, and another, and another, and another… Oh, no. I understand not having someone available when things happen unexpectedly, but why hadn’t anyone told me when I checked in?

When it was quiet, the woman who had checked me in asked if I had heard what she was saying. I nodded, and she told me that the inspector was indeed in and fine, but it was so busy due to another mechanic breaking his hand and going to the hospital that she had to turn away anyone looking for a sticker who didn’t have an appointment. I was relieved, and for the next couple walk-ins that were turned away, I had a slight smile of relief on my face.

A Hole In His Story You Could Drive A Truck Through

, , , | Right | January 22, 2019

(I work in the front office of a car repair shop. Late one afternoon, a middle-aged man storms inside angrily.)

Man: “Where is your manager?”

Me: “He’s out back in the shop, but I can certainly call him up for you. But maybe I can help. What seems to be the problem?”

Man: “Your employee almost killed my kids!”

(My mind is now racing to see if I remember this customer having picked up his car recently from us, in case it was something that we either did wrong or that the customer thought was our fault — often we get blamed for issues completely unrelated to a wreck.)

Me: “I’m very sorry to hear that, sir! Is everyone okay?”

Man: “Yes! But your employee nearly killed us! I want the manager!”

Me: “Of course, let me call him up here.” *uses the intercom system to page the manager* “Did we repair your car recently? I can pull up your file to save some time when he arrives.”

Man: “What? No! No, you didn’t fix my car! I was driving on the road and he nearly hit me!”

(We do have a shuttle vehicle that is emblazoned with our shop information, so now I’m thinking that our driver nearly caused an accident, something our company does not take lightly. However, we are owned by the same company that owns two car dealers nearby, and they have their own shuttle vehicles, as well. Because our vehicles all include the company name on them, as well as the specific location — we’re “[Company] Collision” and then there is “[Company] [Dealer]” — I want to be sure the right people are informed.)

Me: “Was it the small white car there?” *gestures out the window to where our shuttle is parked*

Man: “No, not that car! It was a big black truck!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but our company doesn’t own a black truck. Are you sure it was our vehicle?”

Manager: *walks up* “Hi, what seems to be the problem?”

Man: *before I can say anything* “Your employee almost killed my kids! I want him fired!”

(He’s screaming at this point, and there are other customers in the office, so my manager guides him outside. A few minutes later, we see the man peel out of the parking lot, and my manager comes back in.)

Manager: “Yeah, so, he almost got run off the road by a truck that he followed here and saw it pull behind the gate. He wanted me to fire the person who owns it. When I asked [Employee], he said the man had pulled out in front of him and nearly caused an accident. We offered to call the police to have them look at the traffic cameras, and he decided he was going to leave, instead.”

No Deal(ership)

, , , | Right | September 14, 2018

(I work in an auto repair shop. Just after we open at seven am, I get a call from a sweet-sounding, older lady.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Shop]. How may I help you?”

Caller: “Parts department.”

(It’s about an hour earlier than that department arrives in the office. Additionally, as we do not sell parts themselves, only order them as needed for repair jobs, our parts department only takes incoming calls from vendors.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but they’re not available. Is there something I can do for you?”

Caller: “I need a price on a part.”

Me: “Okay, no problem; however, for us to quote you a price, we would need you to come—”

Caller: *interrupting* “I can’t come in. I just want a price on a rear window.”

Me: “I apologize for the inconvenience, but—”

Caller: “It’s the rear window. You know, the glass part that goes up and down?”

(Yes, she actually explains car windows to me.)

Me: “I understand, ma’am, but as we are a repair shop, not a parts shop, we don’t just sell parts. We would need to give you a quote on the full repair work. If you’d like—”

Caller: “Let me speak to [Person].”

Me: “I’m sorry; we don’t have anyone here by that name.”

Caller: “What? Let me speak to [Person]. He works there.”

Me: “Ma’am, are you maybe trying to reach another shop or a dealership? We’re [Shop].”

Caller: “Oh. Yeah, I need a dealership.”

Me: “Ah, okay. Then—”

Caller: “Transfer me.”

(We are associated with two different dealerships dealing with two different car makes, so I can send her to one of them if needed, but only if I know what type of car she has.)

Me: “Sure thing. Which dealership are you trying to reach? Do you have a—”

Caller: “F*** you!” *hangs up*

Me: *stares at phone in shock*

I Demand A Car That Never Breaks!

, , , | Right | July 19, 2018

(A customer calls to tell us that her Check Engine light is on two months after we replaced a sensor on her vehicle.)

Customer: *very condescending* “This is very inconvenient for me; I have to work! What is the latest I can bring it in and have you address the issue?!”

Me: “I don’t know how long it will take to address the issue, because we don’t know what’s wrong with it until we check the code. What is the earliest you can bring your car in?”

Customer: *yelling* “You’re not listening to me! What is the latest I can bring it in and have you address the issue?!”

Me: “What time do you finish working?”

Customer: “Two pm.”

Me: “Would 2:30 work for you, then?”

Customer: “I suppose I could do 2:45, but there had better not be anything else wrong with my car! I fully expected to not have to do anything to my car for the next three years, at least!

Me: “We’ll see you tomorrow, ma’am.”

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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