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One socket short a full set


Gonzo

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One socket short a full set

 

One morning while cleaning up the shop from the previous day’s repairs an old GMC pickup was being pulled into the parking lot by another truck. The driver was busy unhooking the old truck while I was busy restocking shelves and putting things away. When the fella was done he headed for the front door. Any moment now the bell should go off, and when it does I’ll drop everything and go see who’s there. It seemed like an eternity, I know the bell should ring any second now… I kept moving closer to the office door still waiting for that usual sound of the bell going off. No bell, hmmm… I better go up front anyway. Nobody, not a soul… I couldn’t see anyone standing out front waiting so I might as well go back to my work at hand.

 

“Ding, ding” 2 dings… that was it, strange… usually the door bell would ring more than that. I’ll bet somebody barely opened the door and didn’t go in. I better go up to the front office and check it myself. Walking from the back door thru the lobby to the front door I opened the door and surprise… surprise the bell works perfectly. I could hear the ding coming from the shop area, but I was all alone, there wasn’t anybody in the lobby and I didn’t see anyone outside or in the parking lot. Oh well, I’ll go back to the shop. Thru the rear office door and back out to the shop again, I stopped by and grabbed my broom to finish the cleanup. There’s that door bell again… for cryin’ out loud… stop this musical door bell game already. This time I just stuck my head thru the door to see if anyone was there. Nope, nobody there now… I stood in the shop waiting for someone to come around the corner or hear the front door bell “ding” again. Nothing, dead silence… OK, that’s it… back to the front office… open the door… “ding, ding, ding” the bell is fine.. it ain’t the wind… it’s gotta be this guy with the pickup. I waited in the lobby… no one showed up… Ok that’s it… out the front door and walk around the shop and see if I can find this guy.

 

I made it around to the first garage door just in time to see the rear office door close… AHA… found ya! ! As I reached for the door knob the front door “ding” was going off… Now that’s it… ! ! I’m standing right here… I’m not going back to the lobby; I’m not even going to pick up my broom… I’m just going to stand here and wait for this guy to stop his march around the shop.

 

Here he comes … finally back thru the first garage door.

 

“Morning, can I help you,” I said.

 

“Yea, I’m the guy that called you yesterday about the 88 GMC that won’t start,” he said.

 

“I remember somebody calling about an 88 but that was several weeks ago.”

 

“Yep, that’s me.”

 

“Ok, well, let’s go to the front office and fill out the paper work.”

 

I turned and went back thru the rear office door and into the office. As I went by the stack of blank invoices I grabbed one and a pen and said, “What name should I put this under?” There was no answer; in fact there was no one there.

 

Ok, ok, back out to the shop and find this guy. There he was standing in the shop, I guess he thought I was coming back out there.

 

Now, in the past, I’ve seen a lot of old timers come thru the shop and stand there, talk about cars and such. These types of old timers you have to bring the paper work to them. I guess it’s the “old” way of doing things, you know, the mechanic is the guy in the shop with grease from head to toe and the shop is where you talk to the mechanic. This guy, doesn’t fit the description, way too young to be a part of that generation… I doubt if he’s any older than the truck he dragged in.

 

“You can come up here to the front office with me, we’ll fill out the paper work then,” I told him.

 

With that, he followed me to the front office. (finally)

 

“So what’s wrong with the truck?”

 

“I put a new transmission in, changed the fuel pump, put in a new starter and a new battery. I tried to start it and smoke came out around the back of the engine and the two metal fuel lines had to be changed. After the lines were changed I haven’t tried it again.”

 

You know, sometimes I need to reword my questions. This door bell chasin’ DIY’r must be dizzy from all his trips around the office and service bays. The question; “So what’s wrong with the truck” turns out to be a history lesson on what he has done recently to the truck…. My bad….or maybe not… maybe…. that IS what’s wrong with the truck. I guess I got my answer to the question… just a little long winded to get to the point.

 

“You need some help getting it off the trailer?”

 

“No, where do you want me to put it?”

 

“You can leave it right where it is; I’ll get it in the shop myself.”

 

He did just that… right in the middle of the driveway… at least a car length from the parking spaces that are so conveniently open on both ends just for the purpose of allowing a tow truck to pull thru the parking space and unload. Well, I did say “right where it is”. Maybe those trips around the office are getting to me too.

 

After he left I made my way out to the truck. Everything he described was correct, new parts here, new parts there, new parts everywhere. But the part he forgot was to hook up the ground cables to the engine. This would explain the smoking aluminum fuel line problem.

 

I hooked the leads back up, started it up and gave him a call as to what I found wrong with it.

 

He asked, “So where’s the truck now?”

 

“It’s in the shop”

 

“How’d ya get it there?”

 

“I drove it in.”

 

“But it won’t start, that’s why I brought it to you.”

 

“It’s starts, runs fine and ready to go home.”

 

“How’d ya get it started?”

 

“I hooked up the ground leads you must have left off when you did all the work to it.”

 

“So how did ya do that?”

 

“Nothing to it… just bolted them back down to their proper places and you’re good to go.”

 

“I don’t understand, how did ya get it in the shop?”

 

“I drove it in.”

 

“But it wouldn’t start, how’d ya get it going?”

 

Is this guy listening? Maybe he is still dizzy, maybe he’s just dumb… maybe he’s both…

 

I told him again, and again, and again… I don’t know why, but it always seems to me that you have to repeat things at least 3 times to someone who doesn’t understand you… this guy has gone way past that point.

 

This guy is one socket short a full set…. I’m glad I don’t run across guys like this too often, I’m getting older, my patience wears down more than it use too.

 

Dizzy, dingy, or just wacky… I find myself thinking about them while dealing with new situations that have some similarity to this story…. I smile, I laugh, I already know what to expect. Next time, I think I’ll stay in the office and let them find me. I’ll let the younger techs run around the shop to find them.

 

That’s the best part about getting older…. Experience.

 

 

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One socket short a full set

 

One morning while cleaning up the shop from the previous day's repairs an old GMC pickup was being pulled into the parking lot by another truck. The driver was busy unhooking the old truck while I was busy restocking shelves and putting things away. When the fella was done he headed for the front door. Any moment now the bell should go off, and when it does I'll drop everything and go see who's there. It seemed like an eternity, I know the bell should ring any second now… I kept moving closer to the office door still waiting for that usual sound of the bell going off. No bell, hmmm… I better go up front anyway. Nobody, not a soul… I couldn't see anyone standing out front waiting so I might as well go back to my work at hand.

 

"Ding, ding" 2 dings… that was it, strange… usually the door bell would ring more than that. I'll bet somebody barely opened the door and didn't go in. I better go up to the front office and check it myself. Walking from the back door thru the lobby to the front door I opened the door and surprise… surprise the bell works perfectly. I could hear the ding coming from the shop area, but I was all alone, there wasn't anybody in the lobby and I didn't see anyone outside or in the parking lot. Oh well, I'll go back to the shop. Thru the rear office door and back out to the shop again, I stopped by and grabbed my broom to finish the cleanup. There's that door bell again… for cryin' out loud… stop this musical door bell game already. This time I just stuck my head thru the door to see if anyone was there. Nope, nobody there now… I stood in the shop waiting for someone to come around the corner or hear the front door bell "ding" again. Nothing, dead silence… OK, that's it… back to the front office… open the door… "ding, ding, ding" the bell is fine.. it ain't the wind… it's gotta be this guy with the pickup. I waited in the lobby… no one showed up… Ok that's it… out the front door and walk around the shop and see if I can find this guy.

 

I made it around to the first garage door just in time to see the rear office door close… AHA… found ya! ! As I reached for the door knob the front door "ding" was going off… Now that's it… ! ! I'm standing right here… I'm not going back to the lobby; I'm not even going to pick up my broom… I'm just going to stand here and wait for this guy to stop his march around the shop.

 

Here he comes … finally back thru the first garage door.

 

"Morning, can I help you," I said.

 

"Yea, I'm the guy that called you yesterday about the 88 GMC that won't start," he said.

 

"I remember somebody calling about an 88 but that was several weeks ago."

 

"Yep, that's me."

 

"Ok, well, let's go to the front office and fill out the paper work."

 

I turned and went back thru the rear office door and into the office. As I went by the stack of blank invoices I grabbed one and a pen and said, "What name should I put this under?" There was no answer; in fact there was no one there.

 

Ok, ok, back out to the shop and find this guy. There he was standing in the shop, I guess he thought I was coming back out there.

 

Now, in the past, I've seen a lot of old timers come thru the shop and stand there, talk about cars and such. These types of old timers you have to bring the paper work to them. I guess it's the "old" way of doing things, you know, the mechanic is the guy in the shop with grease from head to toe and the shop is where you talk to the mechanic. This guy, doesn't fit the description, way too young to be a part of that generation… I doubt if he's any older than the truck he dragged in.

 

"You can come up here to the front office with me, we'll fill out the paper work then," I told him.

 

With that, he followed me to the front office. (finally)

 

"So what's wrong with the truck?"

 

"I put a new transmission in, changed the fuel pump, put in a new starter and a new battery. I tried to start it and smoke came out around the back of the engine and the two metal fuel lines had to be changed. After the lines were changed I haven't tried it again."

 

You know, sometimes I need to reword my questions. This door bell chasin' DIY'r must be dizzy from all his trips around the office and service bays. The question; "So what's wrong with the truck" turns out to be a history lesson on what he has done recently to the truck…. My bad….or maybe not… maybe…. that IS what's wrong with the truck. I guess I got my answer to the question… just a little long winded to get to the point.

 

"You need some help getting it off the trailer?"

 

"No, where do you want me to put it?"

 

"You can leave it right where it is; I'll get it in the shop myself."

 

He did just that… right in the middle of the driveway… at least a car length from the parking spaces that are so conveniently open on both ends just for the purpose of allowing a tow truck to pull thru the parking space and unload. Well, I did say "right where it is". Maybe those trips around the office are getting to me too.

 

After he left I made my way out to the truck. Everything he described was correct, new parts here, new parts there, new parts everywhere. But the part he forgot was to hook up the ground cables to the engine. This would explain the smoking aluminum fuel line problem.

 

I hooked the leads back up, started it up and gave him a call as to what I found wrong with it.

 

He asked, "So where's the truck now?"

 

"It's in the shop"

 

"How'd ya get it there?"

 

"I drove it in."

 

"But it won't start, that's why I brought it to you."

 

"It's starts, runs fine and ready to go home."

 

"How'd ya get it started?"

 

"I hooked up the ground leads you must have left off when you did all the work to it."

 

"So how did ya do that?"

 

"Nothing to it… just bolted them back down to their proper places and you're good to go."

 

"I don't understand, how did ya get it in the shop?"

 

"I drove it in."

 

"But it wouldn't start, how'd ya get it going?"

 

Is this guy listening? Maybe he is still dizzy, maybe he's just dumb… maybe he's both…

 

I told him again, and again, and again… I don't know why, but it always seems to me that you have to repeat things at least 3 times to someone who doesn't understand you… this guy has gone way past that point.

 

This guy is one socket short a full set…. I'm glad I don't run across guys like this too often, I'm getting older, my patience wears down more than it use too.

 

Dizzy, dingy, or just wacky… I find myself thinking about them while dealing with new situations that have some similarity to this story…. I smile, I laugh, I already know what to expect. Next time, I think I'll stay in the office and let them find me. I'll let the younger techs run around the shop to find them.

 

That's the best part about getting older…. Experience.

 

 

 

Just a reminder... a lot of times, you're the first person to read these new stories... and I read your comments on each of these stories and decide on which one I'm sending to the publishers. If you would help rate the stories with your comments I'll have a better idea as to which stories will make a great published article.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         3 comments
      Got your attention? Good. The truth is, there is no such thing as the perfect technician pay plan. There are countless ways to create any pay plan. I’ve heard all the claims and opinions, and to be honest, it’s getting a little frustrating. Claims that an hourly paid pay plan cannot motivate. That flat rate is the only way to truly get the most production from your technicians. And then there’s the hybrid performance-based pay plan that many claim is the best.
      At a recent industry event, a shop owner from the Midwest boasted about his flat-rate techs and insisted that this pay plan should be adopted by all shops across the country. When I informed him that in states like New York, you cannot pay flat-rate, he was shocked. “Then how do you motivate your techs” he asked me.
      I remember the day in 1986 when I hired the best technician who ever worked for me in my 41 years as an automotive shop owner. We’ll call him Hal. When Hal reviewed my pay plan for him, and the incentive bonus document, he stared at it for a minute, looked up, and said, “Joe, this looks good, but here’s what I want.” He then wrote on top of the document the weekly salary he wanted. It was a BIG number. He went on to say, “Joe, I need to take home a certain amount of money. I have a home, a wife, two kids, and my Harly Davidson. I will work hard and produce for you. I don’t need an incentive bonus to do my work.” And he did, for the next 30 years, until the day he retired.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. So, here’s mine. Money is a motivator, but not the only motivator, and not the best motivator either. We have all heard this scenario, “She quit ABC Auto Center, to get a job at XYZ Auto Repair, and she’s making less money now at XYZ!” We all know that people don’t leave companies, they leave the people they work for or work with.
      With all this said, I do believe that an incentive-based pay plan can work. However, I also believe that a technician must be paid a very good base wage that is commensurate with their ability, experience, and certifications. I also believe that in addition to money, there needs to be a great benefits package. But the icing on the cake in any pay plan is the culture, mission, and vision of the company, which takes strong leadership. And let’s not forget that motivation also comes from praise, recognition, respect, and when technicians know that their work matters.
      Rather than looking for that elusive perfect pay plan, sit down with your technician. Find out what motivates them. What their goals are. Why do they get out of bed in the morning? When you tie their goals with your goals, you will have one powerful pay plan.
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