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.



  1. Terminology...You have been reading Mechanics forum 🤣 Why do people who would never work on their car, think they can fix a lawn mower. Years ago, I had a guy come into the shop asking for a 1/2 inch bolt 2 inches long.....Just because your Harbor Freight 1/2 inch wrench fit the head of the bolt....Don't get mad at me because I'm asking questions you do not have answers to, I'm not trying to make you look stupid.... People are weird, but also lazy...

  2. Like the guy that rented an electric power cutter from us and complained it didn't have any power. He said he wasn't using the short 12 gauge extension cord we supplied because he had an 18 gauge cord that was much heavier. (bigger number=heavier duty) I tried educating him but even as he hung up he thought he was right.