About To Get A Battery Of New Charges

, , , | Right | September 7, 2018

(During my first week working for a well-known auto retailer, a customer walks in with a lawn mower battery.)

Customer: “I need this charged right away and I will be back in twenty minutes.”

Me: “Sir, this battery requires at least an eight-hour trickle charge. Fast charging will damage this battery and possibly cause it to explode.”

Customer: “Look, I bring all my lawn batteries here and they put it in that machine for fifteen minutes and it is ready to go. I do this twice a week.”

Me: “Okay. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Customer: “Man, I wouldn’t lie about it. Trust me.”

(I take battery and place it in charger. Ten minutes later the entire store starts to smell like sulfur and burning metal. I go back to the charger and the battery is swollen to twice its normal size and acid pouring down the sides. The customer comes back and I show him the destroyed battery.)

Customer: “Wow, putting it on fast charge does that?”

Me: “I thought you said you do this all the time here on that charger?”

Customer: “I knew you were new so I figured you didn’t know what you were talking about. So is it okay to trickle charge now?”

Me: “Not now. It is hazardous material and has to be contained and shipped to the battery disposal company.”

Customer: *dumb look on his face* “So I have to buy a new one?”

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Should Diagnose Their Caller Script

, , | Working | May 14, 2018

(I come out of a shop and load the things I bought into my car, only to find out it won’t start. After doing some quick troubleshooting, it turns out that the battery’s voltage has dropped below the safe limit, and therefore the immobilizer prevents me from starting the engine to prevent any further damage to the car’s electronics. My car insurance company provides free roadside assistance and towing in such cases, so I give them a call. It’s pouring rain, and the car is in an open parking lot.)

Company Rep: “[Company]. How may I assist you?”

Me: *briefly explains problem and gives address*

Company Rep: “Sure, we can assist you. Just so you know, our protocol is to send you a technician first, and only if he fails to start your car, we’ll send out a tow truck.”

Me: “That would be a waste of time. It’s not simply a dead battery. Even if your guy charges it, the car’s computer still needs to be reset in order for the immobilizer to allow me to try and start it, and even if that works, the voltage may drop again before I can get to the repair shop. Also, have you noticed the weather we’re having? I can’t imagine any work, even diagnostics, being done in the open right now.”

Company Rep: “I still have to send the tech first. I’m sure it’s just a dead battery, and even if not, he’s equipped with all the means needed.”

(I had to wait almost three hours for the man to arrive, and when he did show up, all he had was a spare battery to charge mine — not even a laptop to connect to the car’s computer. By the time he concluded it was not helping, it was too late to have the car towed to the shop, as it was nearing its closing time. I had to ditch the car and walk home in the pouring rain.)

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