Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Icy Bud

 An ice cold Bud. That must be what I was thinking of at work yesterday when I emailed a customer. Let me back up a bit. The other day we looked at a property for an Automower install. The customer is very interested and said he wants to move forward but needed the quote firmed up and put in writing. No problem, I handed him my clipboard and he wrote down his email addy. My bad for not looking at it when he handed it back to me. 

 The next day I wrote up the quote and opened my email account to send it. The address was joe schmoe or whoever @  icbud? Icy Bud? Is this a gag? Was he not really interested and just gave me a bogus email to throw me off? I tried sending the quote to his Icy Bud account but it got returned. Eventually I called and left a message that I was getting his addy wrong and could he please call back to straighten me out. When he called I was with another customer so a coworker took down the new address. When she handed me the piece of paper with the correct address on it I just started laughing. It was joe schmoe or whoever @ If you just bump that L a little to the right till it hits the O then it sure looks like a b.



The guy is a doctor and you know what they say about doctors handwriting but I should have known a doctors email wasn't Icy Bud.

 In other Automower news, yesterday we did our first install of the year. The family named the unit "Jarvis" and bought a dog house for him to charge in. The dog house was a bit of a challenge but only because of the limited space to work in. While there is no grass long enough to cut yet, Jarvis did move successfully around the yard and obey all the commands the owner sent him. We don't usually have to make a return visit to fix anything and I don't see why this install should be any different. I'm looking forward to the two more installs we have scheduled and hope this year isn't a bust for Automower sales like last year was. 


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Garage Floor Paint Update

  If you followed along last summer then you know I gave my garage a makeover. This included painting the floor and todays video post is an update on just how well that paint is holding up to Wisconsin winter salt and grit.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

1-800-Fix It For Free

  People are weird.  Why do I get so many people calling my place of employment asking for me to diagnose their problems over the phone? They have to know we repair equipment or they wouldn't be calling for advice. Do they not realize that our employer is paying us to be there? We aren't a government agency funded by taxpayers or a charitable organization. Somehow we need to bring in some coin and free phone tips ain't the way. Some people even have the balls to show up in person, sneak in the back door of the shop and ask for advice. WTF? I don't care if you bought the equipment from us because we don't make squat on most sales. Its the service after the sale that makes money and some people think that should be free. I'm not talking about walking someone through regular maintenance procedures, I'm talking about the guy with an out of warranty machine that he can't get started and has begun tearing into it.

 My goal has been to offer so many possibilities and specialized procedures that they have to bring it in. Does that make me a dick? No, I don't think so. My reasoning is that a simple fix of the symptom isn't always the cure of the real problem. For example a carb adjustment may hide the fact that a chainsaw has an air leak. That air leak will eventually, or may have already, lead to a scored cylinder. When it pukes I'll be the asshole, I'm sure of it.

 Another reason is terminology. If they knew everything I was talking about they wouldn't need me. "It doesn't turn over" so I ask if it does anything at all like click when you turn the key. "Turning the key spins the motor but it doesn't crank".  Really I mean we don't have time for this crap. Turn over and crank both are referring to the motor spinning when the starter is engaged. What they meant was it won't start or run. I've seen this many times.

 Heres my favorite. I ask when was the last time it ran and did it run well? They reply, "last fall but I put fresh gas in it". I ask what they did with the old gas? This is a trick question to get them to admit it still had gas in it. "I dumped it into blank". So it sat all winter with old fuel in it? "Ya but I put fresh gas in it". It doesn't work that way and when you say fresh gas do you mean gas still in a can from last year? I know not everyone is tech savvy but don't try to outwit me with your fresh gas bullshit. Justifying your actions that produced zero results is pointless.

 How about this guy. I've told this story before. This guy has the balls to call and ask what spark plug his hedge trimmer needs. Hes standing in a parts store prepared to buy the spark plug from them but wasting my time trying to figure out what he needs. I'm not a total dick so I told him I would need the make and model but all he could offer me was the brand but they're all the same anyway. I had the chart for that brand handy and told him there were five choices. He asked for another coworker by name because he was the smartest one in the shop.

 I hung up on him. He showed up at the shop later claiming I was rude. How did he not see how wrong his request was? I even tried to help his sorry ass. People are weird.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Herbrand Tubing Wrenches

 Like the title says, a look at some old Herbrand wrenches.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Younguns and Customer Service

  Its fun to joke about young workers trying to make change without the aid of a computer. It seems that task sends many of them into a tail spin. Fine, you're not good at math but there are other common sense situations that todays youth fail miserably at. I was unfortunate enough to be the victim of two of these unskilled laborers over the weekend.

 Rocket scientist #1 is working the pass window at a major fast food chain. I had ordered and paid for a meal with a coke. At the window she offered me a diet coke. I told her that I ordered a regular coke at which time she argued with me and told me I ordered a diet. I'm not saying I don't make mistakes and there was another intervention when I placed the order so it is possible that the order was screwed up. Whats not possible is that I wanted a diet coke. I mean she could hear the words coming out of my mouth well enough to argue with me. I finally showed her the receipt and I got one of those big sighs and eye rolls that says "fine, I see you're right but you're a dick for making me give you what you actually ordered". I was asked to pull ahead. Really? She was leaning against the soda dispenser but I had to pull ahead and wait? I really am trying to be less of a dick so I pulled ahead and ate almost half my meal before they brought me that drink. If it was tampered with it didn't make me sick or at least no sicker than their untampered with food.

 Rocket scientist #2 is working the big box store lumberyard. I was looking at the ceiling tile display and couldn't tell if the product hanging way up on the wall was a hard pressed board or fiberglass backed panel. When I asked for help the gal started out friendly enough. That would soon change. She pulled out her handheld computer and started punching in numbers but the answer to my question wasn't coming up. Eventually she just pointed at a box and said "there they are". Yes, there they are but are they a solid panel or a faced fiberglass product? Another sigh and she tore back the plastic and exposed the top panel to reveal the answer to my question. 

Great thats what I wanted to know. How much are they?

 "$6.97 each".

How many are in a case?

"32 for $111"

Does that sound right to you?

"It says right here, 32"

Yes I believe thats what it says. I'm asking if you think thats right. We can see that there is one panel per layer and that panel is just under an inch think. The box is just over a foot high. Do you think there are 32 panels in there? In a huff she violently tore open the carboard box as if to make the big reveal where I would be made to look stupid. I watched as she counted the panels and as she got closer to the end of the stack her facial expression started changing until she eventually looked like she just witnessed a Penn & Teller magic act.

 Its not my place to lecture her about using common sense so I just said "Its a good thing we checked. This project would have cost me twice as much if we didn't use common sense and check the accuracy of the label. Thanks for your help". 

 She gave me that "what-everrrr" look.

 Later she went out of her way to "get back" at the customer that bothered her by yelling at me for resting my foot on the lowest step of a nearby ladder. 

"Get off that ladder! We don't allow customers on ladders!

She was technically right. I had a foot on one of those rolling platform ladders. Not to climb it but that doesn't really matter. Her point was to be right after I was so mean to her for using common sense. I guess she felt she had won against some old man but in fact she lost. What these kids don't understand is that when a company doesn't make sales due to crappy customer service, the company will eventually not be offering jobs. 

I know not all young people have poor work ethics. The cream rises to the surface but these two crumbs are bottom feeders and will eventually be poured down the drain if they don't figure it out soon.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Toolbox Monitor Update

  Yep, just like the title update of part of my custom toolbox.

Check it out:


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Workin For Tips

  So the other day I was asked to drop everything and work on a piece of equipment for a customer. Thats fine, I mean we're not swamped this time of year and helping customers is what we do. From what I was told I had a pretty good idea what needed to be done and how long it would take. I told the customer I needed fifteen minutes and he said that would be fine and he would run down town and grab some lunch. When he got back I was outside testing the machine and he walked up, saw it was running properly and thanked me. Then he gave me a tip. This is what he gave me.

  It doesn't matter what he gave me because the point is that he appreciated me helping him out. On the other end of the scale are two different customers from last week. Both of them came storming in bitching about how this is the third time they have been back for the same problem. Last Saturday I was at the shop on my own time working on my toolbox. The boss carries back a saw and tells me the customer is complaining the saw is back a third time for the same problem. "Oh really? I call bullshit. Did you pull the work order history to confirm this?" I told him anytime a customer storms in making wild claims about my work it always turns out they are full of shit. About ten minutes later he came back and said I was right. The previous visits had nothing to do with the current problem. In fact the first time we fixed the saw was after another dealer had it for a month and couldn't figure out the problem. The other situation was similar where the previous visits had nothing to do with the current situation. I mean do you blame the auto repair shop because a headlight burnt out just days after an oil change?

 Anyway, I never had anyone give me a fishing lure as a tip before. He didn't owe me anything and I don't work for tips so its all good. I suspect he got it for nothing and didn't want it so passed it along. Maybe the next time I hear a good fish story I'll pass it on as well.


Sunday, March 7, 2021

Old School Craftsman Wrenches

  This week I decided to take a look at an old set of Craftsman wrenches that I bought back in the 90's. They don't look old because they don't get used a lot.

Watch the video to find out why:


Wednesday, March 3, 2021


  My brother sent me this pic of him and I from a couple years ago and I thought it was pretty cool. Cool enough to stand alone as this weeks post.