Jewel of Denials
I think everyone should experience working with the
general public at some point in their life. The variety of
people you meet is absolutely fascinating. They come from all
walks of life and from every part of the globe. If you’re a
people person, working with the general public can be a
For the most part, that’s how it is, but every now and then
you find that one, you know the one, the one we all know as
our crazy relative or neighbor who seems to over exaggerate
everything they say, but nothing seems truthful.
Their stories are real gems, that’s for sure, and their
stories are usually as long as the Nile River. At first you’ll
listen intently, but it doesn’t take long before you have to
wonder at what level of sanity did you just get off. I’m usually
the guy behind the service counter who at some point leans back in the seat and waits for the story to end. Then, I can start asking questions or write down what seems to be important. Deep down I’m already thinking that I’ve got to write this one down, because nobody is going to believe it. Of course, denial and finger pointing seems to be their favorite thing to do when it comes to car repair.
One of my all-time favorites is this guy. Let me tell you his story.
A gentlemen comes into the lobby and asks, “Can you guys replace a wiring harness?” To which I answered, “Yep, not a problem. What kind of car is it?” That question was soon overlooked and not answered. The seriousness of the problem was his major concern. Me, I’d like to know what kind of car it is and what brought you here in the first place. Although, this unknown car seems to have more than “car” issues to deal with. He’s already self-diagnosed most all of the problems with the car. However, even with the self-diagnosis the issues with this car seemed to be getting stranger and stranger as the story went on. First off the front end was wrecked and repaired by a shoddy body shop. Although the “crappy” repair job (as he put it) wasn’t his main concern. It was that the battery was dead, and it kept going dead, which he attributed to the headlight and turn signal wiring. With his technical knowledge he assured me that if I fixed the wiring under the front bumper the battery drain would disappear. The story kept getting deeper than just the wiring harness or dead battery. “The car hasn’t been started in three years,” he tells me. “That’s not a problem,” I said, “I can get it started and then check for what’s causing the battery drain.”
He was all for it until he mentioned one more thing, “OK, I’ll check with my neighbor.” Now, why in the world does this guy need to check with his neighbor? I had to ask. “Is there a problem with the car that you have to ask the neighbor about it?” Oh there was all right, the car IS his neighbor’s car. “Oh, so you’re just checking up on the repair costs for your neighbor then?” I asked. No, he wasn’t. He was doing this on his own. Why you ask? Well, that got a bit strange, too. Turns out the car is in his garage, and it’s been there for the past three years! OK, I’ve got to ask, “Why has your neighbor’s car been in your garage with a messed up front end, a dead battery, and why has it not been started in three years?” “Because that’s where I parked it after the wreck,” he tells me.
You mean to tell me this guy borrowed his neighbor’s car three years ago and never gave it back, but parked it in his garage? Apparently, yes. Now that’s some nice neighbor I’d say. I mean really, for three years his neighbor never questioned when he was going to return the car he borrowed to go to the grocery store? I’m not sure if either one of these neighbors are playing with a full deck.
This guy even wanted his neighbor, whose car it was, to pay for the damaged front end that he apparently caused! Of course, he denied having a wreck and getting it slapped back together by this so-called bodyshop, or that the car had some sort of battery problem to his ever-so-generous neighbor. How did I know that? Because he asked me not to tell his neighbor about it. I haven’t met that guy yet, and if he’s anything like this guy, oh man! Glad I’m not living next door to this guy. Borrow my hand saw, or couple of wrenches sure, but my car and then not tell me about it for three years? I’m shocked. I mean seriously, admit ya done wrong, and go on. Quit trying to deny it.
Then there are the typical denials that happen on a regular basis. Dad buys son a car, son tears it up and then tries to say “It just happened. That telephone poll just jumped right out in front of me.” Right, I’m sure it did. Especially when the right front tire is wedged under the car from sliding over the curb and the front bumper has the shape of a telephone pole embedded in it.
Insurance frauds are another denial I see too often. Where the owner is trying to get more out of their insurance company than what they should. Like the time this guy got into a wreck and even before it left the crash site it wouldn’t start. Upon further investigation the problem turned out to be a severely worn out timing belt that finally snapped. The timing belt was so worn out that it literally crumbled to pieces as you touched it. (I still have the timing belt on the wall.)
Somehow, someway, this guy got his insurance company to foot the bill for a new timing belt. Why? Because it wasn’t like that before the wreck. Ya mean it wasn’t worn out and about to fall off before the wreck? How long did ya expect the original belt to stay on there, dude? I’m sure the sudden stop from the wreck probably put the final nail in the coffin for the old tired and worn out timing belt, but seriously, that is strictly a maintenance issue that you’ve neglected. Which of course, he denied he ever missed any scheduled services on his car. The insurance company bought his story, and I changed the belt. Everybody was happy in the end. Although, I’d hate to see what this guy’s insurance premiums look like now.
Ah yes, there are a few gems out there that can make ya chuckle or leave you wondering what in the world just happened. But, at least ya can smile, write up the work order, and go on. If nothing else, you can at least look forward to the next jewel of denials.