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Gonzo

Article: Sinch' Ya - - - Being in the service business means you get paid to perform service work. But, some people still want you to do your job for free... ya know, sinch' ya got the car in the shop.

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        There’s the bargain hunter, the bargain shopper, the bargain finder, and the “I ain’t shopping anywhere, unless I get a bargain” shoppers.  But, there is one more bargain shopper who tries their best to get something for nothing at the repair shop, and that’s the “Sinch’ ya bargain shopper. 

         The sinch’ ya bargain shopper isn’t hard to find, they’re everywhere.  But, there are a lot of places where this form of shopping never works, such as the grocery store and at the gas pump. Now, the sinch’ ya shopper may try it at a doctor’s office, but I seriously doubt when they’re at the dentist getting a cavity filled they’ll ask, “Sinch’ ya got that tooth fixed, can ya look at this other one too?” and not consider the fact your dealing with a professional who gets paid for that sort of thing.  Basically, what they are trying to accomplish is to get one thing done while sneaking in something else.  You know the type.  At the repair shop it is a habitual occurrence.

         Take the guy who comes in for a brake job, and then asks, “Sinch’ ya got it here, could you see why the check engine light is on.”  Sometimes, the shop will bow to their request, but a lot of times this simple check ends up taking a considerable amount of the technicians time, because the problem in question isn’t a simple problem after all. 

         It could be their thinking process assumes it’s no big deal, since the car is in the service bay already. Although, sometimes it’s pretty obvious it’s an intentional effort to slip in another repair on the cheap. And you can bet, if the mechanic checks things out and finds it’s a major issue, they’re not inclined to pay for any diagnostic time. I mean what was the mechanic thinking?  They just wanted you (the mechanic) to “look” at it, not diagnose it.

         Now, that’s another thing. That word “look”.  It seems to go hand in hand with the “Sinch’ ya” bargain shopper.  “Can ya look at this for me too?  Since it’s here?” however, when the service writer says, “They’ll have to charge you for the time to look at it”, you can bet the next thing they’ll say is, “Oh, never mind then. If it’s going to cost me anything I’ll just wait until next time.”

         That little word “look” tends to lead to other issues as well. Time after time I’ve been asked, “Well, if ya can’t look at it for free, what do ya “think” it is?” Oh here we go again.  Now, the mechanic isn’t looking, he’s gotta think, sinch’ ur there and all. Which is probably the worst idea ever. Guessing at a repair just starts the wheel of parts spinning and hope it lands on something cheap. You can guess at a probable solution, with luck and experience the mechanic might actually have the correct answer. But, I have to wonder, is that all they really wanted in the first place? You know,  a free spin on the parts wheel.

 Obviously the answer can only be based on what information was given.  What if it’s not the right solution?  What if the mechanic’s answer doesn’t match what they’ve researched on the internet? What if they think it’s still something else and the mechanic is wrong? Now what? I’ve solved these “thinking” answers with my own little tidbit of wacky wisdom. I’ll tell them, “I try not to think. It gets me in trouble every time. I’d rather test it and be sure.” Which only leads to, “Then, what would be your best guess?” 

         Now we’ve gone passed the sinch’ ya, the look, and the think, and have gone straight to the guess.  I’ve got a standard answer for the guess.  It’s an answer that throws the whole question of sinch’ ya, look, and think right out the window.  I tell them, “Well, it sounds like butterflies in the muffler.”  Imagine the unusual stares I get. For me, it’s a priceless moment. It’s about then they realize I’m not about to tell them anything worthwhile about my job, their car, or their problem.  Let’s face it, the long and short of it all is thinking, looking, and sinch’ ya’s don’t put supper on the table. 

         Of course, it’s all about the dollar.  It goes back to why it’s not such a good idea to give estimates over the phone without knowing the condition of the vehicle.  Despite their best efforts to explain things, I’ve found over the years if they knew what was wrong in the first place chances are we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

         But, sinch’ ur here, maybe I can make an exception.  Maybe I’ll bend a bit and take a look at the problem.  Yea, I’ve slipped up more than a few times, usually after I’ve forgotten the golden rule of not “looking” at a customer’s car unless we’ve agreed on a fee.  And, what happens 99% of time?  They’ll thank me and tell me they’ll be back later to have the work done, but I wouldn’t hold your breath you’ll ever see them again. 

         In large, urban shops the whole concept of the sinch’ ya bargain hunter is probably a whole lot different than the same type of customer in a small rural town.  Meaning, there isn’t one set rule or answer to the issue.  The big problem for both the big city and the small town is educating the customer, as well as the technician on what it takes to do this job.

         I’ve got to admit, after 3 decades of working on cars I still don’t quite understand the general public. Sinch ya’ gotta have them, you might as well “look” at their car and tell them what ya “think”, at least that’s my best “guess”.  But, I am sure of one thing, when I retire from all this wrenching and scanning I won’t be the bargain hunter type of customer. I know from experience what it takes to do this job, and I highly respect anyone who takes on this trade and performs the job with professionalism.  But, I might ask ya to check the butterflies in the muffler, sinch’ ya got it in the shop and all.


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