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Monday, September 10, 2007


“I know what you’re going to tell me,” the middle-aged man said with a sigh, getting out of his lime green Volkswagen.

“If you’ve guessed ‘I don’t work on European cars’ then you’d be right,” I reply with a smile.

The surprised look on his face told me that was not the phrase he expected.

“A good customer of yours recommended you to me. He told me you worked on everything,” the man argued, and put his hands on his hips to show his pique I guess.

“I’m sorry, but he was wrong. What’s his name, and I’ll call him. If he’s a good customer, I’d like to avoid any more misunderstandings.”

“Ah… I think… it was Tim, or Tom…”

Wow, that narrows it down. It sounds like the old name drop without a name.

“Look,” he goes on as I stay silent while he searches for my imaginary customer’s name, “I live just over on Adeline. It would be really convenient if I could bring my VW here.”

“I’m sure it would, but I don’t work on European cars. The big sign on my building front states Asian and American Car and Truck Repair. If you have one of those, I’d love to work on it.”

“I have a Ford Explorer,” he says, brightening. “You’ll work on the VW if I let you work on the Ford?”

“No,” I answer, keeping my tone even. “I’d work on the Ford, but not the VW. Look, it’s just like if you took your VW to a European car repair shop. They won’t work on your Ford because it’s not within their level of expertise.”

“Why can’t I get my vehicles done at the same place? It doesn’t make any sense.”

“If one was Asian instead of Euro, you could. I’ll get you the address for a place on East 9th that does European cars,” I offer, stepping toward the office.

“How much do they charge?”

“I don’t know. I’m not affiliated with them. They’re just the closest Euro repair I know of. You can call and tell them what your problem is, and they’ll tell you what the diagnostic charge is.”

“Forget it!” The man jumps into his Limeade VW, and backs out.

I only have time to sit down in the office when Limeade shoots back in the door. I again greet the man as he launches out of the driver’s side seat.

“I want one of your business cards,” he demands. “I’m going to report you to the Better Business Bureau.”

“For what?” I start laughing in earnest. “Not working on VW’s? Never mind, I’ll get you the card.”

After I fetch a card for him, he’s still perplexed at what I think is so funny.

“You seem to think this is some kind of joke,” he said, looking at my card.

“I don’t think you’re joking, but I think it’s funny. Anyway, let me know how it works out for you. I’ll add something else for your complaint: I’m not working on your Ford, or any other vehicle you ever own.”

“Tha…that’s discrimination!” The man accuses.

“Good luck to you,” I wave at him as I walk back in the office. “Don’t forget to let me know how your complaint progresses.”

He drives off after staring angrily at my office door for a few moments.

There must be a full moon tonight. :)

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