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Same Time - Same Station ------- The Missing Radio Caper


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Same Time-Same Station

After a simple repair, that for the most part had no real hiccups in it, the next day I received a call from the customer. The caller didn't waste any time chewing me out.


"What did you do with my radio?"


"Excuse me, is this about the car that was in yesterday?"


"You know which one, the one you stole the radio out of."


"Sir, I don't have your radio. I have no reason to take things from your car. I just…," he cut me off before I could finish.


"I know how all of you guys work. Now, if I don't get my radio back today I'm calling the cops."


"You might as well call them. Maybe they can help find your radio, because I can guarantee I don't have it."


"Fine, I'll see you in court!"


Ah yes, the old "I'll see you in court" routine. When yelling, cursing, and screaming doesn't get the job done, let's try the second stage of threats. You know, I've been at this car repair business for quite some time, and this isn't my first ride on the back of the turnip truck. I've been down this bumpy highway before, and I've got the bruises to prove it. I'm not going to get all excited over this vanishing radio, because these things always find their own way of working out. It could be this guy just has his AM and FM signals crossed up and 9 chances out of 10 there's always some explanation to the whole thing. At this point, I can't do anymore than tell him the truth… I don't have it. If these irate callers would turn their volume down just a bit, and check to be sure they're on the right station maybe things would come in a lot clearer then they might find their answer.


"Why don't you bring the car by, and I can take a look at it. I might be able to do some detective work and determine what might have happened to the radio."


"Oh, you just want to slip it back in the car while I'm not looking, so I won't call the cops."


"Sir, I can't help you if you don't bring it in. Once it's here I think we can get to the bottom of this."


Right now all he wants to do is act like this is some sort of radio call in show and vent at somebody. Since I'm the guy on the other end of the phone, I guess it's my turn. The only difference is I don't have the 5 second delay before all his ranting goes out over the air waves… It's coming to me "Live --- On the spot -- broadcasting". Click, goes the phone, and my radio debut has ended with the smoke still filtering out of my telephone receiver.


Later that day the "talk-show-wanna-be" called back. He still sounded upset, but he was going to let me in on a little secret. In a very angry tone he told me his son had removed the faceplate to the radio and stuck it behind the driver's seat. (His son didn't want anyone to steal his precious tunes.). But, of course, he didn't bother to tell disc jockey dad anything about it.


"I'm glad you sorted it out sir, at least it saves you a trip back to the shop," I said, relieved that I was off the hook, and maybe now my ratings would start to go back up.


"That doesn't mean I'm ever coming back to your shop anytime soon," he said in a harsh and threatening way. Click, went the phone again, no apology, no thanks for trying to help out … no… nothing. So much for my ratings….


In a way, I'm glad he took the time to call me, and let me know the radio face plate was found. I'm sure it's more of a personal embarrassment to him that he accused me of doing the deed before checking things out on his own.


Then again, guys like this usually tend to be like this about everything they do. More than likely they do the same thing at a restaurant or other public places. Telling me, "I'm not coming back to your shop" sounded more like this long time listener-first time caller just didn't want to admit to it, or say "I'm sorry"… Hey, that's fine with me, I'm used to it. I can bounce back and be ready for the next caller.


I'm not happy about losing a customer over something like this, but I'm more relieved this radio program has started to roll the closing credits. I'm sure my ratings will improve with the next job. As hard as I try, I can't win them all. I just wish I could "Click" these demons of the air waves off the air rather than listening to their badgering remarks when I know none of it is true.


It's time to end this broadcast and get on with the next job. Sure would be nice to deal with a customer who's not so eager to accuse me of something without checking their facts first. Oh, they'll be another crackpot caller sooner or later, you know there will be, there always is.


So, if you're looking for the guy on the other end of the phone, look no further,

I'll be right here…. Same time, same station.





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Water Proof And Self Adhesive

Not to give away new stories... LOL... but I had a guy who accused me of driving his truck in another city an hour and a half away from the shop. He said he personally saw ME driving his truck. Now that's really funny, his truck was in the shop with the motor out of it... hanging from the engine hoist....

What a dip stick......

Gonzo, some people are nuts. A few months back we had a guy tell us he had looked his car over from top to bottom and we had lost is well lock key. I apologized and got all the info from him and order a new key. About a week later he calls me up and says he found it in a vary obvious place where he failed to look. Now I am stuck with a week lock key I can't send back. I told him that but he didn't apologize or offer to pay for it. Fortunately it was only about $15.00. There was also a time a woman accused us of putting a different brand of tire on her car while it was in our shop. I swear we did not touch the tire. While would I want her USED tire. Eventually I had to call the police to get her to leave. It was absolutely crazy!

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I know what ya mean Joe, we as the repair shops seem to be always at odds with the customer. The part that gets me is the lack of the apology. Only once did I have a lady call me back and apologies. It was after I plugged her rear view mirror back in that had been unplugged by the handicap sticker. She couldn't see her auto dim headlights working after I told her the only thing wrong was the mirror was unplugged. The next day she called me and was very apologetic. After I hung up the phone, I had a smile all day. But, that was once.. and only once in all these years. I'll never understand it either.


at the heck is wrong with some people? This guy accuses you of stealing his radio and when he finds out the truth, he angrily calls you, not to apologize but to inform you of what happened and to let you know you still lost a customer. What gives? It makes no sense.


A few years back I was closing the shop late on a Saturday afternoon. As I was walking out the door the phone rang and I debated whether I should answer it. Well, I did, which was a big mistake. It was a customer, that was in earlier for service on her Explorer, screaming and yelling at me that we stole her cell phone. No matter how I tried I could not get her to calm down. When I asked her, "I you sure you have not misplaced it", the screaming intensified to a frenzy.


The phone call ended with her yelling, "I WANT MY CELL PHONE BACK". Then I heard the click as she hung up. I called the techs that worked that day and questioned them about the phone, they knew nothing. I looked around the shop floor, in the office, bathrooms and in the parking lot. Maybe the phone fell out of the car, but no luck.


I felt horrible all weekend long. I resisted calling the customer until Monday afternoon. The phone rang a few times before she picked it up. I said, "This is Joe from Osceola Garage, unfortunately we did not find your phone. What do I need to do to replace it for you?" She said in a real cheerful voice, "Oh, I should have called you back on Saturday, I found the phone. It was never in the car, I put in my bag. Thanks and I'll see you soon".


I was speechless; all I could say was, Good bye. Emotionally I was spent. You figure it out, because I can't.

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      It always amazes me when I hear about a technician who quits one repair shop to go work at another shop for less money. I know you have heard of this too, and you’ve probably asked yourself, “Can this be true? And Why?” The answer rests within the culture of the company. More specifically, the boss, manager, or a toxic work environment literally pushed the technician out the door.
      While money and benefits tend to attract people to a company, it won’t keep them there. When a technician begins to look over the fence for greener grass, that is usually a sign that something is wrong within the workplace. It also means that his or her heart is probably already gone. If the issue is not resolved, no amount of money will keep that technician for the long term. The heart is always the first to leave. The last thing that leaves is the technician’s toolbox.
      Shop owners: Focus more on employee retention than acquisition. This is not to say that you should not be constantly recruiting. You should. What it does means is that once you hire someone, your job isn’t over, that’s when it begins. Get to know your technicians. Build strong relationships. Have frequent one-on-ones. Engage in meaningful conversation. Find what truly motivates your technicians. You may be surprised that while money is a motivator, it’s usually not the prime motivator.
      One last thing; the cost of technician turnover can be financially devastating. It also affects shop morale. Do all you can to create a workplace where technicians feel they are respected, recognized, and know that their work contributes to the overall success of the company. This will lead to improved morale and team spirit. Remember, when you see a technician’s toolbox rolling out of the bay on its way to another shop, the heart was most likely gone long before that.
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