Where do they go?
I've often wondered where all these “always in a hurry”
people go when I'm too busy at the repair shop to get to
their car the minute they show up at my door. At least
once a day if not twice, I'll have a call or someone will
stop by wanting me to drop everything and take care of
their car the very second they show up at the service
counter. Just the other day it was a Honda Odyssey.
“I need my SRS light turned off,” he says in a very
“It will be about 30 minutes until I can get to you,” I told him. “I just need it turned off. I don't need it diagnosed. I'm on a tight schedule today.” “Everyone is busy right at the moment but it won't be very long until I can get to you sir.” He couldn't wait, instead he headed back out the same door he came in. “I'll be back tomorrow,” he said as he pushed the lobby door open. Tomorrow never comes... I suppose somewhere in the infinite number of “tomorrows” people like this guy are lined up to get their cars fixed. Oh, never mind that, sorry…, these kinds of folks don’t want to wait, my bad. I find it peculiar that someone would take the time to drive across town and expect some sort of service the second they showed up. What do they think this is an NASCAR pit stop? It's not like they are the only person with a broken car on the planet. I'm not saying it's not possible to take on a new project at a moment’s notice but there are those occasions when there just isn't enough time or man power to accommodate everyone every time. Let's take a look at it from a different perspective, say you're going out to dinner and when you reach your destination the maître d’ tells you, “It's going to be about a 30 minute wait for a table.”. Do you say, “I'm not waiting I’ve got a schedule to keep. I want a table now!” or do you wait? I would think waiting would be appropriate. You’re at the restaurant so… wait, just like everyone else. Maybe I need to invest in some of those little pagers that vibrate and have those blinking lights on them. That way when someone wants “NOW” service I could take their name down, hand them a pager, and then I tell them, “It will be about 30 minutes for a service bay sir.” I guess I'm just not fast enough for some of them. Could it be their time crunch is too critical to wait? Was it my attitude or my laid back greeting “How ya doin', can I help ya with somethin’?” Could it be their general pace of life moves so fast that a mere 30 minutes would disrupt the rest of their natural life? Can't figure it out myself.
Maybe I came off a little rude, I know I've been to a few restaurants that I would put in the “rude” category and quite frankly the size of the tip would indicate that. Then I'm reminded of an episode of Seinfeld from several years ago about the so called “Soup Nazi”. The guy behind the counter had such a horrible disposition that everyone was scared to say anything to him, but his soup was so good that people would tolerate his abusive personality just to sample his wares. I'm not that bad (Well, on occasions I probably am.) but I do take my job pretty serious. Serious enough that I want to make sure that I'm doing the best job for my customers, and doing something quickly usually means mistakes will happen, and often do.
It never fails if somebody wants something done in a hurry there’s more to the story than just turning off a service light. This old quote fits these situations: “If the explanation of the problem is short, the problem is probably long and involved.” - but- “If the explanation is long, the problem is probably small and quick to repair.” Case in point: A customer who was in too much of a hurry to leave his 94 Grand Am for me wanted to know what a couple of the “usual” problems were on them. I gave him a couple of the typical problems I've seen over the years on those 3.1 engine electronics. He hurriedly jotted them down and then shot out the front door and headed home to try them out. Several weeks later a tow truck showed up with his car on the hook. The entire interior was completely taken apart with the dash panels hanging by their wires. Looking under the hood I could see all kinds of new parts, coil, cam sensor, TPS, spark plugs, wires, etc.... But it still wouldn't start. By now he had given up on it and decided it was time to “wait” and see what I found out. His novel of what he had done got rather lengthy. I had a pretty good hunch he's over looked something rather simple in his quest to diagnose this car. I turned the key on... hmmm, no service light, no gauge activity either, interesting... (Doesn't look like that new ECM lying on the passenger floor boards did him a lot of good either.) I'll check some fuses first. Wasn't hard to find the fuse box, it’s on the end of the dash with the panels in the back seat. I checked the gauge fuse first... dead. No voltage. With all the other panels dangling around my feet the ignition switch wires were easy to find. Well what do ya know... a bad ignition switch. If this guy would have waited for me to check it out a few weeks ago I could have diagnosed it then and saved him from buying all those components and tearing his car apart, but I guess that's what you get for being in a hurry. Just imagine how much leisure time this guy turned into a futile effort of car repair. I'd say he wasted a lot of his own time on this one.
As with most repair shops there are those days that it does get slow but even then there’s still going to be some “wait-time” involved with any repair. It's not like a tech jumps in the car, pulls it in the service bay, opens the hood, tweaks a screw or two and you're down the road again. Things take time, It doesn't matter how much you’d like to hurry things up even an oil change takes time... you still gotta wait for the oil to drain before you can put the new oil in.
So where do they go? They must be still out there driving around trying to find somebody that can do it now for them. Maybe they are waiting for that special day to show up that they can get right in the shop without any delay. I still think the restaurant beeper thing would be a hilarious idea; I'm just not convinced the “hurry-uppers” would get the joke though. Maybe I could start a new policy at the shop that might get them to at least bring their cars in. I'll make up whole new calendar with my own days of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Nowday. So anything you want done NOW... here's the day to do it on.
Nah, what’s the rush... just wait for tomorrow.