Search This Blog

Friday, January 5, 2007


Just a short one for a cold day. A nice gentleman drove in with an old Toyota pickup truck with manual transmission. I knew he had a stick shift before ever talking to him, because I could smell burnt clutch material twenty feet away from the truck. The man left the driver’s side seat to greet me with a smile.

“Hi, can you throw a clutch in this today?”

I could; but regrettably for both of us, I’m not going to. I have four vehicles in the shop, all of which must leave before five.

“No, but I can make you an appointment to leave your truck off on Monday for me to get started on it,” I offered.

“Next week?” The nice man chuckled as he started getting back in the truck. “I need this done today, thanks anyway.”

“No problem,” I replied amiably. “Good luck, come and see me if things don’t work out.”

“I will, thanks,” he said and left, leaving burnt clutch fumes in his wake.

This is a competitive business, and if you snooze, you lose; but I’ve learned over the years not to promise what I can’t deliver. My other customers depend on me repairing the vehicles they had appointments for on time. Since he came in at just before noon, everything would have had to go perfectly, and they seldom do.

I could have said sure, sign right here, and had the transmission out on the floor in less than an hour, leaving me enough time to finish my other jobs. A quick call to the Toyota owner, apologizing for delayed parts or delivery, (no, sorry, you can’t come get it, the transmission’s out on the floor) and I go home for the weekend. If I did my work like that, the stress would have killed me, or an irate customer, and then where would my not for profit writing career be? :)


Jordan Summers said...

LOL! Yes, I can see where that would be a problem. :)

BernardL said...

Yea, irate people are to be kept at a minimum; and in these days, they don't always stop with angry words. :)

Matthew Nowlin said...

My favorite thing is when someone asks you if something is possible, and you reply "No," and they then continue to press you, trying to get you to make a false promise to them.

BernardL said...

Yeah, they do that too, Matthew. :)