She’s Dead(bolt) On The Inside

, , , , | Right | June 30, 2020

I’m a locksmith, on the way to another city for a house unlock, and I get the info for another call. I give them a call and tell them that I’m on the way to another call and in about a half-hour or so, I can call and give them a proper estimate on when I will get there.

Customer: “Oh, well, I have to open my business and I have appointments. Do you know any other locksmiths?”

Me: “Well… not really, ma’am. Like I said, though, I can give you a call in about a half-hour and let you know when I’ll be there.”

Customer: “I thought you guys would be closer; I called a number for this town.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. We are a completely mobile company. I can give you a call in about a half-hour, though.”

Customer: “Okay, whatever.”

I go and unlock the house, and I give the other customer a call; my GPS is telling me I’ll be there in about thirty-five minutes. I add about ten minutes to the ETA to accommodate any traffic or unexpected delays and just the sheer fact of me finding the place.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name]. I just wanted to let you know I’ll be there in about forty-five minutes.”

Customer: “You said a half-hour ago you’d be here!”

Me: “Um… I think there’s a misunderstanding here. I said I’ll give you a call in about a half-hour with a more accurate ETA.”

Customer: “Well, if I knew it was going to be this long, I wouldn’t have called. How far are you again?”

Me: “About forty-five minutes ma’am.”

Customer: *Pauses* “Where are you again?”

Me: “I’m down in [Nearby City]. I just finished another call.”

Customer: “What address?”

I pause for a split second, realizing she’s going to try to GPS me and figure out exactly where I am to see if I’m lying to her. “Guest Service Mode” ACTIVATE!

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m not at liberty to reveal the locations of our customers.”

Customer: “Oh, well, whatever. Just get here.”

Me: “I’m already on my way.”

I start heading down there, going just a little over the speed limit to make it there without any more complaints. Of course, I don’t even get that far. About ten minutes out, my phone goes off.

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name].”

Customer: “Hi, it’s [Customer]. I just wanted to see how far away you are in minutes, since one of my appointments just showed up and he wants to know how far you are so he can decide to wait or not.”

I get an eye-twitch, having to put forth a little effort now to keep my guest service voice up.

Me: “Well, ma’am, I’m down by the Chevy dealer.”

Customer: “The one outside town?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Customer: “Okay, see you soon.” *Hangs up*

I get to her address and start working to unlock her business after I introduce myself. As I’m standing there trying to unlock the door, she keeps talking and telling me about the lock and how “I don’t know why it’s on two different keys,” and, “Whoever designed it was stupid,” and, “I lost the keys sometime last night,” etc. It gets to the point as I am trying to unlock it that I say in a very even tone:

Me: “Ma’am, I need a minute to focus on this.”

She gave me a look like “Are you a moron?” when I asked her what way she turned her key to open her door. 

As I was working on the lock, I saw that her sign said she opened at 8:00 am on Saturdays. The appointment she was running late for was at 10:30, and I got the info at 9:30 ish. So, now, I was wondering why she was ignorant enough to wait until the last minute to get her place open… and that just annoyed me.

Finally, I unlocked the deadbolt and she went in, leaving me and her client standing out there. Her client walked in, and then I took a minute to gather my tools and walked in to which I saw her with her voicemail on speakerphone, jotting down appointments. I just stood there for about five minutes before she waved me over and finally paid me.

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They’re Gradually Driving You Insane

, , , , | Right | May 26, 2020

I’m a locksmith located in a good area, and I often work with a coworker. We get calls from up to one hundred miles away all the time, so we occasionally get some real gems.

A lady calls us to let us know that her son has locked himself out of his car, but she doesn’t like our price, so she says she’ll call a friend to see if he can unlock it for free first.  

Lo and behold, the friend does not succeed, so we head on over. It literally takes about thirty seconds for my coworker to open the door while I finish the paperwork and collect payment. Back in the van, my coworker turns to me with a shocked look on his face and says, “The door was unlocked the whole time.”

Another time, my coworker goes to unlock a car at the town square and returns saying, “The back window was open. I just reached through and pulled the button up.”

Another time, a woman calls, needing her 2010s-era car opened. She later calls back to cancel because someone told her to try the key in the door, and it worked.

One time, we go to make keys for a car, and we get there only to discover the customer has given us the wrong year, make, and model. He had zero idea what he drove.

One time, a man insists he needs a key for his car on a day that is freezing cold and snowing. He absolutely does not want us putting it off for a sane day, and since there isn’t much snow at the time, we figure it won’t be a big problem. So, we go.

And we find a car that has clearly been sitting in the middle of a field for somewhere around three years. It is little more than scrap metal. At that time, the snow starts really coming down. Also, the locks are so messed up that we can’t do anything with them, so we can’t make the key.

Finally, a man calls us because he has gotten a new ignition switch and needs the new key programmed to his truck. On the surface, it sounds easy, but when we get there, we discover this genius got his old switch out by clipping all the wires to the antenna ring and more or less ripping it out of the way.

We explain that the antenna ring was absolutely essential to getting his truck to start, and so he grabs it, wires it back in wrong, and then promptly turns the car on. And that’s how he turned his expensive truck into a paperweight.

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Lock Up Your Mouth And Throw Away The Key

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2020

My friend and I are with her mother running errands and we accidentally lock the keys in the car. We call the locksmith and he uses a coat-hanger-like tool to try to open the lock through the driver’s window slot, but he is having trouble.

Locksmith: “This model is a huge pain sometimes. That’s one of the reasons they use them for cop cars. Sorry this is taking so long!”

He keeps working a few more minutes without success.

Locksmith: “Ugh, I still can’t get this one open. I could’ve unlocked every single other car on this block by now!”

Thankfully, he didn’t prove it to us, but we were all a little taken aback nonetheless. He did eventually get the car unlocked, though!

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The Key To Progress

, , , , | Right | July 26, 2019

(I have been managing a key shop since 1970. When I started, all the shops — I work for a chain — were managed either by retired hardware workers or retired locksmiths, all men. They hired high-school or college students to work part-time, again all men. After a while, one of the part-timers that was there when I took over quit and it was time to look for a replacement. I took applications and did interviews and I hired a female student. She was the only woman out of 40 shops with a total of about 120 employees. The managers of the other shops thought that I was nuts and would drive from their shops when she was working to pretend to be customers just to see a woman cut keys. The following happened often when we worked at the same time. A customer comes in:)

Female Coworker: “May I help you?”

Customer: “I would like two of this key and one of that key.”

(She starts to look for the key blanks to make the keys.)

Customer: “Wait, what are you doing?”

Female Coworker: “I am looking for your blanks so I can cut your keys.”

Customer: “No! You are just a girl; you can’t make keys. He has to do it.” *pointing to me*

(I have been making keys for several years while my assistant has been doing it for six months, but the customer does not know this. I am three years older.)

Female Coworker: “Okay. Here, you try to do this.” *hands the keys to me*

Me: *to female coworker* “I think I know this one, but can you help me find this one?”

Female Coworker: “No, that is the wrong blank use this, and the other one is that one over there.”

Me: “Oh, thanks. They all look so similar.”

(I step up to the machine and she stands next to me pretending to watch what I am doing.)

Me: “So, the customer’s key goes on the left?”

Female Coworker: “Yes, that’s right. But you have it in the clamp too far; move it out a little.”

(This goes on with more instructions from her for about a minute until…)

Customer: “Oh, forget it. Just let her do it.”

(She cut the three keys in about 45 seconds and rang up the sale. The customer left. Five customers later, we did this again. Fortunately, times have changed in the last forty years and I can no longer play this game.)

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Doing Your Job Is The Key To Receiving Paychecks

, , , , , | Working | March 28, 2019

(I am a manager of a key shop and I usually have three young, part-time employees. To try to be fair, I usually give each employee the same schedule each week so that they can plan their lives knowing what days they will have off in the future, and I also give each one about the same number of hours each week. A longtime employee has moved on and I have replaced him. This is the new guy’s first job ever. It is explained to him that this is an hourly position. Things are going fine for about two months, and then the new guy decides to take off for about half his scheduled hours in the same week for personal stuff. This is not a problem because the others are fine with covering his hours. However, on payday the following week, the new guy has a serious problem…)

New Guy: “Hey, boss, why is my check half of what is usually is?”

Me: “Because you took off two days that week.”

New Guy: “But I was scheduled to work.”

Me: “Yeah, but you didn’t work.”

New Guy: “What does that have to do with it? I was scheduled.”

Me: “Yes, but you only get paid for what you actually work.”

New Guy: “So, you are telling me that if I don’t work my schedule I don’t get paid?”

Me: “Bingo.”

New Guy: “You didn’t tell me this when I was hired.”

Me: “I didn’t tell you that the sun comes up in the morning either, but it still does. ‘Actual work equals actual pay’ is something everyone is supposed to know.”

New Guy: “This can’t be right; I need the same pay every week.”

Me: “Then work your hours.”

New Guy: “But sometimes I need a day off.”

Me: “Then you get paid less.”

New Guy: “This is not fair. I’m going to talk to my dad about this.”

Me: “Enjoy. I wish I could be there.”

(The next time I saw him he had a firmer grasp upon reality.)

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