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Hoarders


Gonzo

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Hoarders

Watching television these days you'll find a lot of so called reality shows on the air waves. I sat thru one of these hoarding shows, and quite frankly I wasn't surprised at all. I've seen this same thing in cars, trucks, and vans. Junk, trash, and just about anything you could think of piled up inside the car and/or in the bed of the truck. The one thing that seems to be common with every one of them is the mess. It's not so much the piles of crap that they keep in their vehicles, but how they keep their stuff. It's always a disorganized mess with no rhyme or reason of organization.

 

I can't work like that myself. Now, I'm not all that neat with my tool box. But it's at least it's an organized chaos. Sockets and extensions of the same ratchet size in one area, cutting tools in another, screw drivers and pliers all have their own place. I actually use several tool boxes to store my 30+ years of variety of tools. Even with the tool boxes, I still have to have other tools that come in their own protective plastic molded boxes on shelves neatly labeled as to what is in each box, in order to retrieve them when needed. Older, out of date tools seem to always end up in lower and lower drawers. I can't even tell you where my dwell meters are these days… haven't seen them in years.

 

Now I see the same trend in old scanners. The pile is getting larger and larger. I still have an old MatCo 4000E and a few other ones on one of the lower shelves. I don't think I've turned them on in years, but all the cards and cords are there. It's almost funny, (in a weird way) that each time you update a scanner, the new scanner generally will do all the older systems. So instead of pulling out your old scanner I'll reach for the new one every time. So what happens to that old scanner? It will end up with that old dwell meter somewhere out of sight and forgotten.

 

These days I find myself "hoarding" some of these new tools, and wait for a chance to use some of them. Now, I've got a collection of so called "new" tools that I haven't found much use for yet. Special headlamp assembly removal tools, belt tools, shocks wrenches, front end disassembly tools, suspension tools, and so much more. Most of which I may only see use for only once in a great while. For example, I've done several of the water pumps on the "North Star" engines, and with the right tool it's an easy job. I wouldn't even begin to think of doing it without it. The tool wasn't cheap, but I'm sure at some point in time it too will end up in the bottom of the box.

 

I don't think of myself as a tool hoarder, or a collector… I just want the right tool for the right job. As a tech the expense of these tools can be costly, keeping them clean and well kept helps me maintain them for a long time. Without the right tool, the job isn't as easy as it could be. So anytime I can get the correct tool I will.

 

Then there are those homemade tools that I have a tougher time sending to the deep dark pockets of the lower drawers. At the time I needed that certain cut down tool or a socket I ground an edge off of… they made sense. Looking in the drawer at some of these old handmade marvels I have to wonder… why I did do "that" to this tool? Obviously, I've forgotten what it was for… so it now becomes the next tool that will get "re-made" into the next handmade tool. These tools I'll "hoard" for a long time, just can't part with them so easily.

 

I've also seen guys who have huge boxes of tools that have every single socket and screw driver so perfectly placed in their tool boxes that they resemble museum pieces. I've even seen a guy who had a huge, and I mean huge, selection of hammers… of various sizes and lengths. All these hammers were lined up on overhead racks equally spaced apart, and put into a pattern from small to large, and by handle length. A thing of beauty to a tool guy like myself. Not that practical in my point of view though. I mean, really, how many hammers do ya need? A hoarder? No not really. I think it actually falls under the category of collector. Collectors take pride in what they have, and are proud to display them in an orderly fashion.

 

One thing that goes along with those hoarders' cars and trucks is the stench… OMG… always, always, always it smells like something died in there. I'll bet doctors could tell some horror stories dealing with people and their hygiene, and I'm sure I'm not the only tech who has dealt with the smelly car from hell. Nasty, is the only way to say it… putrid, awful, and disgusting. YUK!

 

Well, then again, it's work… not pleasant work, but it is work. I think the worst one that I can remember getting into was a Chevy van with a heater core leak. The van was stacked level with the windows front to back with the most horrendous conglomeration of junk I've ever had to deal with. There was only enough room for the driver and barely any room to move the gear shift lever. Totally disgusting, and even more to the point that smell, that awful unforgettable smell! Papers, fast food bags, clothes, shoes, and anything else you can think of.

 

I always try to put things back in order that I take things out of a glove box or trunk, but, there was no way to "re-stack" everything back in on this "hoarder-mobile"… it was an intertwined hap-hazard pile of putrid junk. All I could do was grab handfuls of this stuff and throw it on the shop floor. In fact, I gave the lady the estimate based on book time… then I crossed out the book time, and told her that the book time doesn't apply due to the conditions I'm working in. She still said go for it… so I did. With an aspirator, plastic gloves and a long sleeve jacket that I planned to throw out as soon as I was done. I "dove" right into my work on this reeking pile of refuse, and finished it as quickly as I could. You know, I really should have done this job outside, because the stench lingered in the shop for weeks.

 

These people have a serious mental problem, but most of them don't see it as a problem. I'm no doctor, so I probably shouldn't make diagnostic claims on things I know nothing about, I'm just a mechanic. I'll try to deal with junk and the smell, get the job done, and move on to the next one. (Hopefully a more pleasant one).

 

When you finish with one of these jobs, don't forget to wipe your tools down before you neatly place them back into your tool box. Messy tools and a messy shop aren't very presentable, but for some customers it's not a concern of theirs how their vehicle looks or smells, they just want the car fixed.

 

Even though I'll fix the car, the smell and the sight of these trash cans on 4 wheels sure does get to me. Yuk!

 

After all these years of servicing cars... nothing surprises me anymore. I hope some of my stories put a smile on your face and starts conversations between techs.

Your comments are what helps me decide which ones to send onto the editors and publishers.

Keep those comments coming... Gonzo


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Edited by Gonzo
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I hate these kind of jobs, and I some times refuse them too.. but if I up the labor time (a LOT)... and they say yes... I'll take a shower after I make the deposit at the bank... LOL Glad ya like the story. Gonzo

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Which magazine? Which article? I'm in a lot of magazines and different websites... LOL

Thanx for the heads up... appreciate it... Gonzo

 

I saw an article of yours in the magazine. Nice

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This "lady" is not a hoarder, she is a PIG! I have been in real hoarders home and they haven't had garbage sitting in the home. A hoarder has "stuff" on every horizontal surface, but I haven't seen garbage. My ex-partner in a previous business has a wife that is a hoarder. She buys stuff she does not need and has plenty of already. Your customer probably lives in her van.

Edited by GeeZ
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The responces are terrific. If you didn't know it, but this is EXACTLY what I always wanted to see after someone read one of my stories. It's always a great pleasure of mine to see that I got you thinking about different situations that you've been in. LOL This is TERRIFIC.

 

Thank YOU, Thank YOU... I'm so proud to be in the business, and if there is one thing I want everyone to know... I'M PROUD OF YOU TOO!

 

It can be a thankless business, especially when somebody brings in a maggot filled car, or one that stinks to high heaven.

 

We all need a laugh once in awhile.

 

I hope I'm helping out in that area. My hats off to all. Gonzo

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  • 4 weeks later...

The responces are terrific. If you didn't know it, but this is EXACTLY what I always wanted to see after someone read one of my stories. It's always a great pleasure of mine to see that I got you thinking about different situations that you've been in. LOL This is TERRIFIC.

 

Thank YOU, Thank YOU... I'm so proud to be in the business, and if there is one thing I want everyone to know... I'M PROUD OF YOU TOO!

 

It can be a thankless business, especially when somebody brings in a maggot filled car, or one that stinks to high heaven.

 

We all need a laugh once in awhile.

 

I hope I'm helping out in that area. My hats off to all. Gonzo

I've been going down the list and reading your stories for about the past hour and each one has had me cracking up.. at the humor but equally because each one seems to trigger a memory of a car or customer from my own experience. As for the trash heaps on wheels I usually snap a picture with the smart phone and send it to some other people I know in the field... kind of a running contest to see who is having the worst day!

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I'm glad I made ya laugh... that's EXACTLY what I try to do with my stories. I try to relate my experiences with everyone and write them in a way that we ALL can get something out of them. You'll have to get a copy of my book, it's hysterical. It's all about different aspects of the auto repair world we all are part of. The side note to all of this... IS... we all experience pretty much the same thing each and every day we open the shop. The big thing is we tend to shelter ourselves with the idea ... it must be me that brings this out in people. But the truth is... these kind of problems are every where and any where.

 

You can find my stories in publication at: Brake and Front end, Import Car, Underhood Service, Autobody News, Automotive Video Inc., and Electrical Rebuilders Exchange. Here at ASO, is where you find ALL the newest, latest stories. I post a new one every Saturday morning. (Usually around 7 or 8 o'clock)

You can also find me on Facebook. Under "Scott Gonzo Weaver"

I'm just a guy who tells stories and just so happens to own a small repair shop, and I enjoy the stories as much as everyone else.

 

It's a lot of fun to write them down and see the responces. I call it therapy for all. At least we get a chance to laugh with each other over the wacky situations.

 

Keep the comments coming. It's a pleasure to share them with you.

 

More to follow... keep watching for new stories.

 

www.gonzostoolbox.com Have a great wrench turning day... Gonzo

I've been going down the list and reading your stories for about the past hour and each one has had me cracking up.. at the humor but equally because each one seems to trigger a memory of a car or customer from my own experience. As for the trash heaps on wheels I usually snap a picture with the smart phone and send it to some other people I know in the field... kind of a running contest to see who is having the worst day!

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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