A late model Cadillac rolled up in my doorway, and an older lady (by older I mean around my age) spryly leaped out of the driver’s seat, big smile on her face.
“I need you to take a look at something for me,” she said happily, gesturing at her car. “It’ll only take you a moment.”
No, it would only take me a moment to say no.
“Maybe you better explain what kind of problem you’re having with the car, Ma’am,” I skirt the lookie-loo issue for a moment
“Oh, it’s just a fuse,” she grinned, gesturing me toward the back seat, which she had pulled out to reveal one of the fuse boxes. “I already took the back seat off. I just want you to replace one of my fuses.”
“Could you give me a hint as to what isn’t working?” I persisted.
“The heated seat doesn’t work anymore,” she’s frowning, thinking I’m balking from my easily done task she’s assigned me. “I just need the fuse changed, and I can’t get the thing out of there.”
“What exactly does the seat do, not heat at all, or only heat sometimes, or…”
“It acted really weird, heating up, and then not heating,” she cuts me off.
“Then it’s not the fuse. If it were, the seat would not heat at all, ever.”
“It’s not working at all now,” she states firmly.
“The fuse is almost never the cause of an inoperative heated seat, Ma’am,” I inform her with the proper regret in my voice. “If it has by chance blown a fuse, it’s usually a problem in the wiring or heating element causing it.”
“Couldn’t you just look at it to see?” She’s getting upset.
“Sure,” I reply, not wanting to get into a fifteen minute debate over something I know will end with me as the bad guy.
I crouch down, and use the car fuse puller provided in the fuse panel to pop the fuse out in a few seconds. It’s good, and I show it to her, pointing out how I can tell it’s not the fuse. I then pop it back in, and stand up.
“How’d you get the fuse out of there so fast?” She asks suspiciously, moving by me to take a closer look.
“I popped this white fuse puller over the fuse, and gently tugged it out,” I explained, showing her how the puller, which looked like a small clothespin, worked.
She tries it herself, and can’t get it, so I take another five minutes to show her patiently how the one end clicks into place over the fuse. I’m now fifteen minutes into a no win situation. She finally clicks the puller into place and pulls a fuse out, holding it up for my inspection as if I cared. I pretend to. :)
“Good, as I said, it’s almost never the fuse,” I nod my head at her performance, gamely trying to smile. “If you would like to make an appointment to leave off the car, I can find out what’s wrong and estimate the repair.”
“Do you charge for that?”
“Yes I do,” and I tell her how much.
“I could go to the dealer for that,” she barters.
“You sure can,” I reply, “they charge twice what I do for the diagnosis.”
“I don’t really need the heated seat,” she sighs. “Can you put the seat back in for me?”
“For half an hour’s labor, I can.”
She laughs. When she sees I’m not smiling, she crosses her arms in a perturbed fashion.
“It won’t take you but a minute to slip it back into place. I pulled it out myself in no time,” she says, challenging my manhood.
“Then you won’t have much trouble slipping it back into place, Ma’am,” I don’t take the bait. “I’ve already spent nearly twenty minutes with you on my dime.”
“This place isn’t very customer friendly,” she informs me, getting into the driver’s seat.
“It is when I have a customer,” I fire back an overhand return volley with smile in place.
“I’ll remember this,” she retorts, slamming her door and starting the car.
“Yes, Ma’am, me too,” I reply with a wave.
Monday, Monday… :)