You Want Fries With That?
I often wonder if some people think car repair is like a fast food drive up restaurant. They must be thinking it is, because it's the only way to explain their actions and questions at the front desk. I've even had people pull in front of the shop or right in front of a bay door (blocking any progress I was making) and expect me to do whatever it is right then and there.
Where in the history of auto repair did this ever get started?
Some of these "hurry-up-get-it-done-now" people just don't get it. They seriously think there is a magical scanner that will not only diagnose, but also repair their car in 15 minutes or less. Now, I pride myself on diagnosing most problems within a given time period, usually 10 minutes or less, to no more than 45 minutes for some stubborn type problems. If it takes longer than 45 minutes just to diagnose it, I'm either doing it wrong, skipped a procedure, or I've finally met my match, and it's time to go flip hamburgers for a living. But if we are talking about the actual repair … that can take a lot of time.
But as far as what it means to a service tech when somebody wants to wait while hovering over them like a vulture… well, it usually means (to me), they don't trust the technician. Maybe they just want to learn something… Really?… Learn what? How to fix their car so they don't have to bring it into the repair shop next time...? I guess that would speed things up a bit. But I'm not there to teach, I'm there to fix the car. I'd like to tell them they should go stand over the cooks and watch how they're making their next burger … yea; I can see that going over real well at the restaurant.
There is also another type of person out there that not only has a great deal of miss-trust for service people, but their personal lives are so hectic they can't slow down to watch a sunset. They expect everything in their life to snap to attention when they say go, and nobody better slow them down.
They'll wait in the lobby or waiting room for only so long, and then they'll start to pace around like a thoroughbred race horse anxious to get out of the starting blocks. First in the waiting room, then into the front of the office, finally their pacing reaches out into the parking lot, and up and down in front of the service bay doors… usually with their cell phone stuck to their head, trying to find another repair shop in the area that can "get-to-it" quicker than I can.
By the time the pacing has reached the service bay level, the waiting is usually over, and they'll come up with some excuse like, "I just need to check on a few things across town. I'll be back in an hour or so" or "I forgot something at home, I'll be right back. Save me a spot OK?" Sure … you forgot something … Oh don't worry, I've saved a special spot just for you.
Now really, do ya think I just fell of the proverbial turnip truck just yesterday? I guess you think you've come up with this grandiose idea of how to graciously back out of waiting all by yourself, and nobody has ever tried that line on me before. Right, you keep thinking that… … and of course, they never make it back… they're gone… gone for good.
My wife will always tell me, "One car at a time, honey." I know, I know… it still bugs me that people can't be patient. I guess I'll never understand.
Maybe what I should do is buy an old fast food restaurant with a drive up window, and set up a menu board with a selection of different types of auto repairs on it with prices clearly marked. Forget diagnosing cars, forget verifying complaints, and just fix whatever they order through that scratchy sounding intercom. I'd do all the money transactions at the first window, and then motion them onto the next window where a team of techs would jump out with little paper hats on and go at it with the speed of a pit crew. Wrenches flying, impacts at the ready, timing belts flying through the air and landing in the engine with every tooth precisely in place, and… before you know it… the car is back on the road.
Wow, what an idea…
Rush, rush, rush, rush… hurry, hurry, hurry… that's what it's really all about. I'm rushed enough anymore, I don't need any help from a cell phone carrying customer pacing in front of my service bays. It should be pretty simple to understand if all the bays are full and people are busy it's more than likely you're going to have to wait. You know, we all can't be first in line… quit shoving; you'll get your turn.
What's really funny, well sort of funny… is the car in question isn't even in the service bay yet. We haven't even begun to see the fun we'll be having with Mr. or Mrs. Hurryup especially when you finally get it diagnosed and you tell them it's going to take a few hours to fix their car.
I'd like to think I can help anyone who comes to my door, but you know, I've been at this a long time. I know better. Trying to please everyone is never going to be possible. I'm better off standing at the front desk and taking down their information and when they tell me… "I need this done right now!" I'm going to answer them with;
"Do you want fries with that?"
and see what kind of response I get then.