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As The World Turns - - With all this cosmic spinning, some people get dizzy


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As the World Turns


We are all on a journey through space and time. From the moment we are born we start our travels around a large star we call the sun while the earth spins on its axis and follows more or less a predictable pattern of seasonal changes. As time moves on, we, the human race, (Why is it called a race anyway? Are we in some sort of a hurry?), shapes and molds our environment to suit our needs. We invent things to better our lives, and as we spin through the galaxy, our inventions keep improving. The automobile for example, has evolved and improved with every turn of this big blue marble. So much so, that it tends to leave a lot of people dizzy as to the accomplishments and or the advancements of the modern vehicle. For some folks, putting logical circumstances into reality is just too much for them, especially when it involves their cars.


As we make this trek on our little planet, sooner or later you’ll encounter some of these celestial occupants that for one reason or another find all this spinning around just a bit too much for them. It could be from the tilted axis and global rotation or gravity has placed their common sense deep down in some dark place where no one has gone before or ever will. But, you can count on one thing… if they’ve got a car, they’re going to need something serviced, and sooner or later they’ll show up at a repair shop.

I’ve seen some pretty strange stuff from time to time. The one thing I can count on is with the next spin of the globe they’ll be another unbelievable galactic traveler at my door. It’s as if the planet has to throw one of these “off kilter” individuals my way just to keep me from getting dizzy myself.


Here’s one that still makes me lose my equilibrium. On a rather average day, I thought it was appropriate to mention to the service writer that things have been going to smooth for too long. I was sure something weird should happen pretty soon, because if it doesn’t, all the unused chaos will start to build up until it turns into a gigantic black hole that nothing escapes from. I guess I spoke to soon, sure enough, in walks the next traveler from the world beyond normalcy… it started again.


This guy came in with a request from way out there in the outer reaches of space. He said, “I’d like you to add my two cylinders back onto my engine.” (Did ya feel that? I think the earth reversed direction for a second.) “I had them in the car yesterday, but their gone now,” he went on to tell me.

At this point I don’t know whether to laugh or stand there and stare in disbelief or grab a hold of something just in case the earth shifted again. Well, curiosity got the best of me; I had to ask, “How is it that you lost two cylinders?” The gentleman stepped up to the counter and in a very authoritative voice said, “The last shop I was at . . . (Slamming his hand on the counter just then.) . . . Stole them!” (It happened again, I swear I felt the earth shutter that time.) Now, I’m pretty sure I don’t keep spare cylinders lying around, and I can’t remember ever removing one let alone two of them. But there’s always a first time for everything. I’m sure I just missed them; they’re probably on the same shelf that I keep the blinker fluid and pre-stretched timing belts on, which is usually kept next to the seat belt glue.


The story goes that he had gone to a shop that morning to have his car tuned up. He told them what kind of car he had and they gave him an estimate for it. But, before they even started ordering parts they checked things out. Turns out that it wasn’t a V6 engine as the customer described, but a 4 cylinder engine. The cost of the repair was going to be a whole lot less than the V6 so there wasn’t any point in calling him; they figured he’d get a thrill out of having a much smaller bill than what he was quoted.

However, when the owner of this galactic speedster picked his car up he wasn’t at all happy that his car seemed to be shy a couple of pistons. Somehow someway, the earth continued to spin despite this guy’s valiant efforts to cause a major scene in this shops lobby. He really wanted them to put them back. Chaos ensued; finally after the police cleared the seen this guy still wanted a second opinion. So he ended up at my abode. (Why me? Seriously… what kind of gravitational pull yanked this guy across town to my shop?)


I tried to straighten this whole thing out. I went as far as checking the VIN for him, and sure enough it showed his car to be a 4 cylinder engine from the factory. There was no getting through to this guy though. His mind was made up no matter what I said. He left in a huff and as far as I know he’s still driving around trying to find someone to install his two missing cylinders.


Then there was the guy who dropped off his car off before his vacation. He was going to some far away island country for a little R&R. We were supposed to put a new engine in while he was gone. 3 days after he left I get a call from him. He’s on some highway somewhere in this foreign country talking … Ok … yelling, on the phone that he is following his truck as we speak and wants to know what the heck we are doing so far from the shop. I have no words at this point. I’m on the phone, in the shop, staring at this guy’s truck, in the service bay with a new crate motor dangling from the hoist just about to be dropped in. I can only imagine what this guy is going to do when he catches up to his supposed truck. Must be one of those alter universes this guy was calling from.


Oh there’s more… there’s always more. As long as the world spins around the sun they’ll be more. Maybe that’s why it’s called “winding down” at the end of the day. Ah, yes, as the world turns away from the sun and evening approaches it’s a good time to unwind from all these dizzy encounters, a time for contemplation and chance to think of how you can improve things in the future. Enough already, I’m getting dizzy thinking about it all, pour me another sarsaparilla bartender… it looks like it’s going to be another long trip around the sun tomorrow.

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Great article! The way you express what we go thru on a daily basis is amazing. I once had a customer accuse me of removing his tires and mounting a cheaper set.


Why in the world would anyone do that?....you know...as I write this post I think I just felt it...something under my feet just moved...

Hang on Joe, it's still moving. Ya just can't read this story without a smile. :)

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

      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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