TMI problems

Reading posts here and elsewhere on public forums I am often reminded of customers who were compelled to recite the epic tale of grief that brought them to call or drop by my shop.

“Well I was driving south… no, no, no, I was driving east on I 40 on Sunday. The weather was threatening rain as I recall and my wife’s arthritis was giving her problems and when I looked down at the gauges I saw that engine light on and remembered when Elmer had that light come on and it cost him $thousands so I pulled over and called Elmer and he gave me your number and so I’m calling to see what it’s going to cost and if you could fix it today.”

So little worthwhile information but so much small talk seems to so often be necessary to work through before getting to the issue and so I have developed my habit of often shooting from the hip.


Some people just like to talk. I know that I do.

Do you feel better after your rant? I know it helps me sometimes.

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When you get a 500 word essay on the problem and never find out what type of car it is, whether the check engine light is on, how many miles on it… Best to just find another post.

If there isn’t any punctuation or capitalization, I won’t read it.


You sure it wasn’t West?

I almost always agree with jtsanders, but… not this time.
The TMI–sans relevant info–syndrome has pervaded almost every aspect of our lives.

I can recall, many years ago, while administering the PSAT, that a young woman raised her hand and said something along the lines of…
See… I used to live in X-ville. Do you know where that is? My father got a new job so we had to move out of X-ville. We now live in Y-ville, and we don’t like it as much. Do you know where Z street is located in Y-ville? Now I go to this school, but I don’t like it as much as my old school. My little brother doesn’t like his new school either… And so on, and so on…

If you were wondering where her wandering blather was leading, she was trying to ask what the zip code for our school was, but she asked it in such a bizarrely roundabout way that she delayed the start of the test for all of the other students.

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I guess it’s one of those situations that myself and many others appreciate because we have lived to endure it many times in our lives. There was a time that I imagined that making notes on my dealings with the public regarding their cars could have been financially rewarding if I filled a book with the best ones but reviewing many of my accumulated posts here it’s unlikely that anyone would have published it.

You have stumbled upon the difference between Report Talk and Rapport Talk. The linguist Deborah Tannen elucidates the difference in You just don’t understand. It was a revelation to me.

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She covered much of the same ground in He Said, She Said. Agree that it was well worth reading.

I think there’s something to the report talk vs. rapport talk hypothesis. I also think that our site has historically invited or attracted people that just don’t know what the relevant details are. Though stuff like make and model…I got nothing.


i have one driver that will do that when he calls me about a truck issue. He’ll go on and on about the situation before he gets to the actual problem- only to find out that his location, heading direction, weather, what he had for lunch, how many bowel movements he’s had today, his mothers maiden name, etc, all have nothing to do with his headlight being burned out… :rofl:


We have a couple of “talkers” like that in our fleet

Any excuse to get out of work and evade the boss

If there’s even a single marker bulb burnt out . . . not even close to getting ticketed . . . they’ll immediately head to the shop and talk non-stop. If you don’t watch it, they could tie you up for 1/2 hour or more.

The worst ones . . . in my opinion . . . are they ones that ONLY want to talk about money. How much do they earn? How much do I earn? When is the next bonus kicking in? Tier? Deferred compensation? When are we getting the tool allowance and/or uniform allowance check?

They go on and on and on . . .

I don’t know about the other guys . . . but I was taught to not be talking about money at work. If you’re not satisfied, then do something about it. Promote, transfer, whatever it takes. But don’t be talking about it all day at work, to everybody you encounter, for several minutes at a time. Just because somebody is answering your questions, doesn’t really mean they’re comfortable talking about it. Maybe they’re just answering your questions because they’re polite . . .

Then there’s another guy who keeps complaining about how much he hates California, and then he lists the various reasons, which I’m not going to mention. The thing is, he’s literally not tied down. He married a few years ago, but his wife still has a pretty menial job. He’s not yet a homeowner and they don’t yet have any kids. This is a classic case of somebody who could relocate to an area that will check off his boxes, so to speak.

And the worst thing is . . . he’s not considering that maybe the person he’s talking to actually WANTED to move to California. It’s not fun when you’re listening to a guy talk smack about an area that you actually enjoy being in, and you actually chose that location.

And there I go again . . .

TMI :laughing:


I used to share an office with someone who had been transferred to my state from another. Always talked down the state she was living in. Then wondered why she hadn’t been able to meet any friends. :roll_eyes:


Then there’s another guy who keeps complaining about how much he hates California,

I have seen people like that and I always wondered why they don’t move to where they want to be.

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I heard a guy at work complain that he had interviewed for a better job in another department within the company. He went on and on about why he wasn’t offered the job, that it probably went to someone’s friend, and it was a lousy company to work for with no chance of moving up. About that time the department phone rang for him and he was told he had the job.

Groucho Marx said something along the lines of…
I wouldn’t want to belong to a Country Club that would have me as a member.

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