Yes, people have lost the whole idea of personal responsibility. It is always someone else’s fault. I think the big box stores basically allowing ANYTHING to be returned if you throw a fit has contributed to this. I saw someone at Wal-Mart throwing a fit because they had 3 year old cheap and worn out Wal-Mart jeans that they wanted to return. The store finally gave them all their money back. The home improvement store that has a location here has taken Craftsman tools in return. They don’t sell these. They have also taken paint to paint the store in return. This is like an internal janitorial or maintenance supply for internal use only. Someone stole it off a cleaning cart and returned it.
Then there is the chain office supply store in town that has a 14 day no questions asked return policy on most items. They have had several people who bring printers back over and over again. They get the same model, run all the ink out of the supplied cartridges, and then just keep exchanging for the same model, new in the box, with full ink cartridges of course. Corporate policy doesn’t allow for any variance from the return policy, even when people abuse the system.
With my service jobs, I basically offer two service tiers. There are the take home and leave behind type jobs. This is basically like dropping your car off and having the mechanic look at it. I require $50 upfront for most jobs before I will even touch a piece of equipment. More complicated (Apple products and all-in-ones) or high risk jobs (gaming consoles) require more upfront. I apply this to the job as long as the pick up the completed service within one week. This covers at least part of my time to give them an estimate of what is wrong and what it will cost. I then will fix them if they want to proceed. This is the cheaper route but you don’t get your stuff back quite as quickly.
My other tier is onsite work which is more expensive and my real money maker of course. Everything is billed hourly. There are no flat rate jobs when I go out onsite. I charge until the service is completed. Remember that I go out to service computers. Like cars, some are a complete disaster. Some require extensive re-arrangement of the room in order to get the the computer in question. It would be like going out to work on a person’s car onsite. Yeah, you get payed the book rate to change the alternator. How about having to get the six non-running cars out of the way before you can get to the one in question? Then you replace the alternator and the fuel pump is bad and they expect that fixed for the same price. There are simply no flat rate jobs for onsite work. I don’t mind moving furniture or driving a long distance since I bill hourly for all jobs. Yeah, I get people offering me like $5 for 100 miles of driving and who knows how much time onsite and I just shake my head.
I also charge more after 5PM and on the weekends. Then the price goes up even more after 10PM on weekdays and 6PM on the weekends. These are truly emergencies if they need me at these times.
I once had some girl who called me about spilling a drink on her laptop at like 10PM on a Sunday. She needed it fixed or replaced by MONDAY. By strange coincidence I happened to own basically the exact same laptop she brought me. It was pretty much the exact same model with different colored trim or something so the internal hardware was the same. I quoted her a price to sell her my laptop and transfer her hard drive over which was undamaged. She responded “I can get it for X price on Amazon so I think that is how I will go.” I said “Fine. I didn’t know Amazon could get you that same laptop all ready to run with all your programs and data by tomorrow morning. Go ahead and order from them if you don’t want to pay my price to get this turned around from late Sunday night to Monday morning.” She just didn’t say anything and then accepted my price. She was a pain in the ass and then after I got her the laptop back, she didn’t think she even needed it anymore. I told her that she still needed it and that I had worked many extra hours beyond my initial estimate until like 4AM and wouldn’t even consider refunding anything or taking it as a return. That was the last I heard of her.