Quantcast
Jump to content


Gonzo

It Runs In The Family

Recommended Posts

 

It Runs in the Family

 

There’s an old saying; “The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.” How true… how true, it also applies to how people act at repair shops or other public business areas, such as restaurants or grocery stores. The other day a young driver, probably his first car, came in and asked; “I’m here to get my car diagnosed.” He didn’t even give his name, he didn’t even say hello, he was right to the point, and then some…

 

Mandy was behind the counter, “Well, Hello, thanks for coming in. What can I do for ya.”

 

“My dad and I already know it’s not the battery, and we already know which fuse it is. If you pull the radio fuse the battery won’t go dead.”

 

“So you have a radio problem?”

 

“No, just diagnose why the battery goes dead,” he said in a demanding tone.

 

Ok then, Mandy wrote up the invoice and I pulled the car in. A couple of quick checks on my part led to the obvious result that the radio the problem. Even with the car off this aftermarket radio remained on. Lit up like a Christmas tree, with every display and button on.

 

One look under the dash told a lot of the story… the radio was so cobbled up under the dash you could have pulled out enough wire to put in several other radios. With my luck, if I reached under there and grabbed a couple of these radio wires I probably wouldn’t be able to get it back the way it was. I didn’t have a diagram for the aftermarket radio and the stock wiring from the factory radio was buried up behind the dash somewhere.

 

Besides, it wasn’t one of those quick pull out radio installs either. This was one of those cars that the entire dash had to be removed before getting to the radio itself. Seemed to me the best course of action was to let the boy and his good old dad pull the radio out. It would save them some money and perhaps be the end of their problem without spending anymore with me. But my main reason for avoiding taking out the radio was the way it was installed. This thing was hog tied, lashed, and counter screwed in there with enough brackets and pieces of foam the likes of which… I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Without even knowing for sure… I’ll bet dad and son put this stereophonic-road noise cancelling-head banging-bass thumpin’-piece of modern music listening device into the car…

 

I’ve been repairing cars for a long time and when it comes to these “home installed” radios my best advice… for me… is to steer clear of them. There’s no doubt that it will be a complete disaster if as a professional tech tries to remove it with all the half-taped up wiring and the cluster of hap-hazard brackets people will put in to hold in their precious noise manipulator. You can’t duplicate the mess… and when you try to correct the install with proper brackets and good connections… the time, the labor, and the effort usual are higher than what they expect to spend.

 

I’ve seen everything from toilet tissue rolls to blocks of wood holding up a stereo. Wads of wiring crushed behind the units to chains and plastic bits and pieces screwed into anything they could find.

 

With that said… which by the way… I thought I was doing them a favor and letting them take their radio out. Wasn’t the real issue here… It was dad… he had a problem with the whole thing.

 

The dad calls his son’s cell phone, hands the phone to me and starts screaming in my ear, “I’ve already pulled the fuse to the radio… so I know that’s not the problem.”

 

The dad went on yelling… at this point I’m holding the phone as far away from my ear as I can.

 

“I’m a mechanic too, and you don’t need you to tell me how to check for a draw on a car… I know how to do that. You’re looking in the wrong place.” (the typical answer … didn’t you know… EveryOne is a mechanic…)

 

I told him, “Sir, I never asked you to pull the fuse… I said I wanted the entire radio to be disconnected so that I can be sure that there is no feedback from other sources. The radio fuse you referred to is only the key-on voltage not the entire voltage that would go to the radio, and right now the radio stays on with the key off. I certainly can’t trace for any other draws until this is disconnected.”

 

Still screaming in my ear the dad went on to tell me, “That radio is a real pain to take out… why it took my son and I all day to put it in.” (At least my hunch was right….)

 

“Sir, that’s why I offered you the choice for you to pull it out instead of me.”

 

“I already pulled the fuse… so what’s the problem?”

 

“Sir, as I said before… I didn’t ask for the fuse to be pulled… I need the entire radio disconnected… am I being perfectly clear…?”

 

(Still screaming in my ear) “You don’t have to be rude mister.” (Where’s my chance to say something like… quit yelling butt head! I can hear ya without all that shouting! But, you know… professionalism… not stupidism)

 

With all the screaming in my ear I thought I did a pretty good job of making my point. I thought “being perfectly clear” was a good way to get my point across without being interrupted for the umpteenth time. It’s simply amazing that a direct question... “Disconnect the entire radio system” is turned around to “I took the fuse out, and you don’t have to be rude.” It’s not like I said, “disconnect the right speaker or only disconnect the ground wire”. Merely disconnect the whole thing. It wasn’t that difficult to comprehend. I’m sure it’s the same thing any other trade goes thru… For me, I’ve had enough with this guy yelling in my ear, “Sir, just do me a favor, take the car home and pull the radio out, I’m certain your battery drain will disappear.”

 

With that the young lad grabbed his keys off the counter, ripped his cell phone from my hand and was out the door.

 

An hour or so later the phone rang. It was the mother. Mandy answered the phone, the angry voice on the other ended shouted, “You can tell Gonzo that somebody needs to come down there and smack the sh$t out of him.” CLICK…….. Mandy didn’t get another word in.

 

Boy, I made some new friends there, didn’t I? Sometimes it isn’t a matter of repeat business, sometimes it’s just a matter of maintaining your sanity while dealing with the irate customer. I don’t run across this type of customer often but when I do it’s a memorable occasion.

 

At least one thing is still true, that acorn didn’t fall far from that tree. But, I’ll add one more line to that … “It must run in the family too”. Because it sure did in this one.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Forum Topics

    • Killer Holiday Tip for your repair shop

      Here's a tip I have posted before, but it's worth repeating.  One job that goes unnoticed most of the year is the job of the part's driver.  You get part deliveries all day long, every day, all year long.  Many times, these part's drivers take all the abuse due to wrong parts, the parts took too long to be delivered, on and on and on.  Those drivers may not say anything, but they take it to heart.  So, here's what you are going to do.  Buy small gifts, such as small boxes of candy or chocolate.  Nothing expensive.  During the holidays, give all the drivers one of these small gifts and say "Thank you, I appreciated what you do." Two things will happen. First, the driver will be stunned and will not know what to say, and they will be very thankful that you thought of them.  The second thing that will happen is this:  The very next time those part drivers have three delivers to make at three different shops, what shop do you think they will want to go to first?  Yes...Yours!  

      By Joe Marconi, in Joe’s Business Tips For Shop Owners

        
      • 0 replies
      • 40 views
    • Seeking/open to Partnership for Repair Shop Planning

      Hey All, My name is Karla, I had previously owned a 3-bay mechanical repair shop in Burlington, VT for 6 years and built it to maintain an outstanding reputation and provide a comfortable income. I had the opportunity to sell my half of the business and finalized that deal this past fall. I have worked in all areas of the auto repair industry over the past 15 years, graduated from a two-year ASE certified auto tech program and went on to earn my Bachelor’s in business and a masters degree in executive leadership.  I have some capital I will be contributing to the planning and opening of a new shop and am very open to meeting potential partners/investors in all areas of the country. I greatly look forward to building something new in a location new to me. Anyway, I’d like to welcome all /any interest and to answer any questions about joining forces in shop planning and management. Please do not hesitate to contact me, thanks for considering! —Karla

      By KDshopNEA, in Automotive Business Opportunities

      • 1 reply
      • 291 views
    • Mobile Auto Repair?

      Hello Everyone! Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as I did. I wanted to bring this topic up because of PEP BOYS recent "expansion" into launching their "mobile" service. I was interested in your thoughts. Are mobile mechanics a threat to your shop in any way? What are your thoughts? Do they/can they provide the service that today's cars need? 

      Or, on the other hand, do you operate as a mobile tech? What are the struggles you face. From what I am hearing, people "seem" to expect mobile to be cheaper. 
       
      Only trying to start a discussion about this - and really because, from what I am seeing, there's a lot of buzz around the Pep Boys effort.  Comments? Really interested to know your thoughts.    Matthew Lee
      "The Car Count Fixer"
        PS: Join me on YouTube and check out this totally FREE on-line course I'm offers- "How to Double your Car Count in 89 Days!"

      By JustTheBest, in Auto Repair Shop Management Help? Post Here!

        
      • 4 replies
      • 131 views
    • Increase auto repair sales by adding to the cart

      Retail stores have known for a long time that adding or increasing the size of shopping carts also increases sales. Consumers may go to the store with a list, but as they pass through the aisles, having a cart makes it easy to add to that list.  While your repair shop does not use shopping cart, the same strategy can used. Every customer that books an appointment as done so with some sort of list; an oil change service, a brake issue, tire rotation, etc.  Through an effective multipoint inspection and looking at service schedules, you can make suggestions to your customers that can add to their cart; essentially increasing sales per vehicle. One last thing: Always make service and repair suggestions to the customer that is in their best interest and have value, and you can’t go wrong.  It’s actually great customer service. 

      By Joe Marconi, in Joe’s Business Tips For Shop Owners

        
      • 0 replies
      • 213 views
    • Article: Challenges Of The Auto Repair Business

      As the auto industry moves on into the modern age, repair centers all around the country are experiencing pressure with the tech world and our world colliding. We are all trailing nationwide franchises and dealerships that have endless resources working at their disposal. For most smaller auto repair businesses there isn’t enough time, money, or energy to attempt to constantly and actively secure the new business. We’re mostly worried about attempting to maintain the existing business we have, which has newer cars and increasing demands. Most of our time is now spent adjusting to the learning curve of advanced vehicle systems. However, that’s just a shop problem. The front office of your shop has its own issues to contend with that didn’t exist 15 years ago. Make no mistake about it, our industry is in the middle of a revolution and with 3D printing knocking at the door… the amount of balls to juggle are going to be considerable and it's all just getting started. Today’s auto repair businesses need to worry about the following: Location – Securing a proper location and the authorization to conduct business there over the long term ensures survival. Tools – Without the proper tools, we just can’t work on today’s vehicles. Training – Without the proper training, we put ourselves and our customers at high risk. Employee Engagement – Keeping your employees as interested in your success as you are is critical to the elements that keep people returning and employees from leaving. Employee Advancement – Providing an environment where employees know they can grow with your business, whether financially or moving up within the organization, is the key to keeping and securing talent. Marketing – This is the most complicated element in today’s world. It involves a mix of a strong web presence, good advertising ethics, social media profile, and following up with customers. Advertising – Can be expensive and very confusing. The best method to start is to get your feet wet with small budgets that keep your name in front of your potential customers, constantly. Software – Without good software, it is difficult to run any business. Good software is and always has been subjective. Our experiences indicate that good software saves you time and builds trust with your customers. Most importantly, it should work for you and not against you. This article originally published in CAR's News Section
      View full article

      By CAR_AutoReports, in AutoShopOwner Articles

      • 0 replies
      • 77 views
  • AutoShopOwner Sponsors



×