Sunday, July 9, 2017

Nobodys Fault

 I don't want this blog to become just one big rant about a-hole customers but some stories just need to be told so I can get them off my chest. An elderly gentleman walks into the store carrying a small string trimmer. Well to be accurate, he had two parts of one trimmer. That is, the power head was separated from the shaft/handle/trimmer head. I escorted him back into the shop and we set the patient on the work bench. Right away I thought the unit looked like one I may have worked on recently because of the new fuel lines that were on it. The next thing I noticed was that the end of the shaft that goes into the clutch was all fouled up and that the inner driveshaft or bearings/liner was most likely damaged because the head wouldn't turn.
 "It looks like it broke either when the shaft came out or when you tried to cram the shaft back in".
 "Now just wait a minute! I will not have you blaming me for this". he said.
 I asked if the trimmer was in one piece when he tried to start it. "Yes" was his reply.
 I asked if he tried to put it back together. "Yes" again.
 I asked him how my statement was inaccurate and he said "I didn't ask you who broke it and I don't want to know how it broke, just tell me if you can fix it"
 I then began to explain that the cost and availability of parts for a 15 year old trimmer may not be a worthwhile effort, especially if you are having difficulty pull starting it. (He had mentioned shoulder surgery) He then told me that he bought the unit new less than two years ago from another shop. So now I know he is not only a dick, but either a liar or senile. I suspect the latter. I really hope that some other shop didn't screw this guy over that bad because the price he claims to have paid should have got him a new machine.
 He could see that repairing this one wasn't a good idea and started giving me the sob story. He just had shoulder surgery and had to clamp the machine in a vise to hold it so he could pull the cord. It started making sense now and I could see the scratches on the tube of the machine where it was clamped. He eventually pulled the head right off the shaft.

 Anyway, I told him about the advantages of a battery powered machine and told him I could show him models from three different manufacturers. We eventually found one that he was comfortable with and wanted to purchase. Now he asks how much trade in value his old unit had.
 Our policy on these handheld trade-ins is simple. I figure how much we can get for the unit and subtract repair costs. Whats left is your trade-in value. If he leaves the unit here, trade or not, this will be its final resting place.

 I tried explaining that our cost to make it sale worthy would exceed what we could get for it but I'd give him ten dollars despite that fact it was going in the dumpster. He started whining about how I should have known this was gonna happen when I repaired the fuel lines earlier. I wanted to tell him "Now just wait a minute, yer not gonna blame this on me!" but instead I said nobody knew you were gonna clamp it in a vise to try to start it. "There he goes again" as he turned toward a coworker. " He keeps blaming me for this and I'll not have that!" "I didn't clamp the tube in the vise, it was the engine where the shaft goes in. I never mentioned that the tube was clamped, he offered that up on his own.

If this end was clamped in a vise the paint would be chipped but it's not.

 Steve overheard most of our conversation and was actually involved in helping the gentleman figure out how to start the machine when he picked it up after that previous repair. Now that the guy was re-telling his whole story to Steve, I took the opportunity to slip out of there. They worked out a deal, the details of which I couldn't care less. I'm still not sure if the guy was a dick, a liar or senile.
 What the hell? You bring your trimmer in for service and it runs perfect when you pick it up. Because you don't have enough gumption to pull start it, you clamp it in a vise. I can picture him yanking on the cord with the engine unsupported until he loosened the engine from the tube. BTW, the stop switch was in the stop position. I always look at this because people just don't move the switch to "off" if the unit never started and the ones that truly don't run always come to me with the switch "on". Now you dicked up the machine and are gonna blame me and accept no blame yourself?
 For me it seems better to just step away from these situations and vent here. Thanks for listening. Oh ya, you came here for motorcycle content. Well, I'm gonna go for a ride today. Vroom vroom.



  1. Why I'd never want to be in the repair/service business. Overheard far too many customers ragging on the poor sap behind the counter for something stupid they (the customer) did. Seems handing him off was the best solution all around - and then you went for a ride.

  2. Yes because riding is good medicine.