Had 2 people in this week that put a dark cloud on decent week.
Guy brought his silver vehicle in and claimed he hit a racoon. He in fact did not. All animal hits leave a calling card, hair, poop, blood, saliva, steaks, etc. Also the dents tend to be different. He did hit a parking curb on the right front bumper cover. I said nothing because it did not make a difference to me. It was not a battle worth fighting. He brought the car in 2 weeks later and called back to say I missed the damage on the fender above the wheel opening. I reviewed the photos I took prior and no damage on fender. I looked at his car and there was a dent in the fender filled with red paint! I called him back and told him no repairs will be made on the fender/ He took it like a man. The point is he lied about it.
Lady brings in her Caddy and we repaired the quarter panel. This vehicle was a rolling turd museum. It had clothes, toys, shoes, underwear, trash. etc piled into it. The tan carpet was so dirty it was black and SLICK, YUCK. It also had front tires so bad they went flat everyday. Well after we repaired and installed 2 tires at our expense (sometimes you have to give back) the customer started yammering about a door ding/hail ding that not part of the collision.
I’m not bit**** to be bit****, just needed to rant. Better now ( :
I think we all have days like that regardless of where we work, but people can be truly stupid with their cars. Try convincing a customer who considers themselves to be quite mechanically adept that the reason they can’t get their brakes to work properly is because brake fluid and power steering fluid are not interchangeable, and they now will most likely have to replace every rubber component in their brake system if they want it right again. This was the same guy who cut four inch diameter holes in the framerails of his truck to give his sidepipes something to pass through. By the way, those holes were made with a cutting torch and were centered right beneath the gap between the cab and the bed. He also disagreed with me when I told him that was unsafe and he shouldn’t drive it that way. He left angrily without spending a dime, presumably to fix it himself since he’s smarter than any of us in the shop.
I’m in IT and get the same thing when people bring their screwed up laptops to me. Usually after they’ve tried to fix a problem and given up. “What do you mean I shouldn’t have installed Carl’s Magic Registry Cleaner?” “I don’t know how I got those 20 toolbars installed on Internet Explorer” “But I need to have my vacation photos for the last 5 years and iTunes music collection stored on my departmental network drive”
It’s also fun when someone brings me a machine, doesn’t give the password, has 18 spreadsheets open that haven’t been saved, and only the vaguest description of the problem or when it occurs. Plus the thing looks like they’ve been eating chicken wings while using it and they’ve only had the machine for a month. Disgusting. Kind of the equivalent of taking your car to the mechanic with 1/64th of a tank of gas in it after driving through a mud bog and not handing over the ignition key.
“My remote access doesn’t work/Blackberry is screwed up/getting this error and I leave for China in 4 hours. It’s been doing this for three weeks. Can you help me?”
There, I’m done ranting too. I try not to be the BOFH, but really people…
I’ve stopped giving out car advice except to those who are seriously interested in following it! It often turned out in the past that the person disregarded my advice, bought the wrong model of that car and then blamed his/her dissatisfaction on me. Remember the “Yaris Girl”?
A few years back I gave advice to a rather stubborn gentleman from Europe who wanted to buy a full-size Pontiac. He worked as a construction superintendent, but also had to drive a long highway distance twice a year. I recommended he custom order or look for a 4 door sedan with heavy duty suspension (quite common here), since the standard was too soft and would wreck his undercarriage at the construction sites.
The 4 door recommendation was because both he and his wife were overweight as were all his friends and the car would be used often to take client personnel to lunch. I could not visualize anyone like that crawling into the backseat of a two door.
As you might expect, on one of his trips home he bought a Pontiac 2 door hardtop with the standard marshmellow suspension. Then he whined to me about scraping the undercarriage and that the backseat was hard to get into.
Today I would have recommended a comfortable SUV of course. But then he might whine about instability in crosswinds. Tom & Ray have fielded numerous questions on how to get “good gas mileage” out of a heavy duty 4x4 truck bought to bring home 4 bags of peat moss every year. Their standard answer is often, sell the truck, and, yes, garden centers and lumber yards DELIVER things you might want to buy there. Costco is the only retailer who does not deliver from its stores.
P.S. I have had relatives even buy the exact car I had warned them NOT to buy!
Docnick, you are an extremely rational person when it comes to cars. Maybe the people you mention above area all about passion. Most people are in between. All we can do is offer advice if asked for it and let other adults make their own decisions with their priorities. But you can laugh at them if they encounter problems later and wonder why.
Good salesmanhip on the part of the dealer moving his inventory plays a big part in it as well. Having said that, I’ve advised numerous friends and relatives with happy results. One IT expert, a 5’ 1" petite blonde loved fast cars and had the money to pay for it. She wanted domestic, but not a Corvette, so I recommended and IROC-Z Camaro in bright red. She absolutely loved it, but collected a few speeding tickets in the process.
Another couple, a newly graduated Chinese doctor and his wife wanted good reliable transportation and also a handy vehicle for their 2 large dogs and gardening needs. I recommended a Camry V6 as the family car and a Taurus station wagon as the wife’s car. We were rewarded with a great dinner at the family’s high end Chinese restaurant, and the new owners felt they had the 2 perfect cars for the price of one Mercedes.
Thanks for sharing “meaneyedcatz”… My son in retail has similar stories dealing with a small part of the public. Even though it is just a small part, it can ruin an otherwise good day when you actually felt you provided a worthwhile service that was appreciated. In the long run, you will be the success not the few dishonest, inconsiderate self indulgent individuals that really don’t " make your day".
Minivan drives up with a flat tire. Guy gets out, walks into the shop to a tech working under a hood, asks him to change his tire or fix his flat one, whichever is faster. Tech says “See the man in the office and he’ll help you right away.”
He asks me the same thing, I tell him we’ll put on his spare, keep his flat tire here, and he can come back later in the afternoon and we’ll have it fixed or replaced. “We’ll have you back on your way in less than 10 minutes.”
Hind sight is always 20/20. I bet every person on this site wishes they would have written down stories like this, funny, sad, thought provoking, etc., and tried to publish them. My wife is a retired teacher and she has some real zingers.
“My wife is a retired teacher and she has some real zingers”.
I’m a retired college professor and I also have some real zingers. I think my favorite was in trying to get a computer hardware and architecture class to design a circuit that could perform the binary addition tables (0 + 0 = 0, 0 + 1 = 1, 1 + 0 = 1, and 1 + 1 = 10). I went on to say that if we could build such a circuit, we could do any addition problem. I then drew the analogy of learning the addition tables in first grade. I said that this was quite a job learning everything from 0 + 0 = 0 through 9 + 9 = 18 and while we had to learn 100 addition facts to do addition in decimal, the computer only has to do four addition facts in binary. I told them that in first grade, we would come into class off the school bus, drill on the addition table for two hours, then go out for recess and have a smoke and a cup of coffee before coming back in and drilling some more. At the end of the class period, a female graduate student came up to me and said “Did they really let you smoke when you were in first grade?”
Any person operating or working in a shop runs into people like that all of the time and it’s extremely frustrating. About all you can do is try to cover your tail end as best as possible because when it comes to people and their cars the sky is the limit on lying or just being utterly ridiculous about the situation.
It’s too bad that someone doesn’t compile a book (a very thick one obviously) of shop war stories. I’m sure tragedy, comedy, anger, and downright amazement would be well covered. My feeling is that it would be a top seller amongst automotive service people.
There used to be a story every month in Popular Science called “Tales from the Model Garage”. This series of stories began sometime in the 1920s and ran until 1970. One of the customers of the Model Garage was a real cheapskate named Silas Barnstable. He was always trying to get something for nothing from Gus Wilson, the proprietor of the Model Garage. Another customer was Daisy Allen, a blonde female who had far fetched explanations as to what would cause an ailment in her car. In one episode, the car would cut out and not start when her husband drove the car, but it always ran fine for Daisy. She reasoned that her husband was overweight and threw the car out of balance, so she wanted the springs beefed up on the right side. Gus finally figured out that when Daisy’s husband drove the car, he had a key ring with many keys that damaged the ignition switch. Daisy, on the other hand, had just the car key on her keychain.
I always enjoyed reading these stories, but I guess after 1970 the cars became too complicated for old Gus.
Everyone runs into those people where they work because, unfortunately they appear to be multiplying.
While we’re all taught there is a line and to wait our turn, I’d suggest you may be losing out on a potentially lucrative revenue opportunity if you just blow off these people. We run into them in my business too. Some have legitimate reasons for needing special attention, some are just clueless but when this happens we charge an expedite fee. Want to jump the line? Depending on the situation (who gets bumped, how long it takes, $ value of the work etc) we always say no problem but it will cost $Y. You’d be surprised how many will pay. Some will even accept an FU quote that seems outrageous but they go away happy. The people who refuse seem to feel a little better about waiting…
Nice rants here.
So much publicity and awarness is given to the few incidents of shops ( not just automotive ) scamming or ripping off customers.
-----but the under reported crime is the amazingly high numbers of customers who attempt to rip off shops !
For a few summers I worked in an ATV/motorcycle/PWC repair shop. The ATV repairs really picked up closer to fall, but the truly crazy time of year was PWC (jet ski) repairs during the summer. People would come and drop off their vehicle on a Monday with serious problems (parked last fall, no maintenence since, etc.), and expect the shop to have the craft ready by the next day. There are a limited number of days in the summer to run one of those, obviously, and people wanted to maximize those days. It was insane.
Along those lines, one of the old timers told me about the policy of another shop he used to work at. During the summers when this PWC repair business craziness was going on, this shop would offer people the chance to jump to the first of the repair line. The cost was double all of the prices of the parts and labor, I think. The would also order all the parts Next Day Air. I kind of shook my head when he told me this, but my friend said you’d be shocked how many suckers, I mean, customers, jumped on the opportunity. I couldn’t believe it.
Second story, kind of along the same lines, there was a young man who had one of the Kawasaki Prairie automatic ATVs. Really nice machine. Well, he brought it in one Monday morning complaining of it not starting. After the mechanic got into the machine, he found the engine and air intake were both chock-full of mud. Apparently this young man had been mudding a little too deep. Anyway, they basically had to rebuild the engine, and I recall the bill was at least a few thousand dollars.
About a month later, the same young man brings back in the same ATV with the same problem.
Moral of the story: sometimes you can’t help people with no sense, but you can take their money.
Costco was alarmed at the number of customers with large flat screen TVs returning their sets, claiming they did now work properly. They finally figured out that there was nothing wrong with the sets, but because of the rapidly dropping prices on the units, customers were getting their money back and then used the money to upgrade to a better or larger set.
They shortened the return policy and let the warranty take care of so called “defects”.