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Friday, May 23, 2008

Return Of Ms. Every Detail

Ms. Every Detail was in today for brake servicing. Some may remember Every. She comes in with a complaint. I find out what’s wrong and explain it in excruciating item by item detail. When she arrives to pick up the car, I bite my lip, because I know what’s coming: ‘so, what did we do today’? This time, since I blogged about her before, I thought I’d have a go at avoiding the half hour rehash when she picked up the car. I checked out her car for a whistling noise in front. It turned out the disc brakes were down to the sensors, which touch the rotors, and cause a high pitched squealing noise. She also needed the hydraulic calipers. They were sticking, and had never been changed on the sixteen year old Nissan she now owns in place of her old Toyota Tercel.

I wrote out an estimate, so detailed, it would have made Tolstoy proud. I presented it to her in the office. She read it over, and asked for an explanation, since she didn’t understand how brakes could make a whistling noise. Because I’m asked this on a regular basis, I keep a worn out pad to show customers the small metal tang positioned so as to rub the rotor when the pads wear thin, thus protecting the rotors from damage. She listened intently, nodding her head as I explained how the brake caliper pistons were not retracting as they should.

“Is that why the car pulls to the side when I put on the brakes?” Every asked intelligently.

“Yes, sticking calipers can cause exactly that, and premature brake pad wear,” I answer, thinking wow, maybe I’ve done this show and tell so thoroughly, Every will simply pick her car up without an interrogation.

Every signs the estimate, and takes a copy home with her. I do the job. It checks out perfectly on the test drive. I call Ms. Detail. She arrives in the office. I hand her the bill. She reads it over, and…

“So, what did we do to my car today?”

I fought down every snappy smartass answer trying to burst through my frozen lips with all the willpower I could muster. I stood with my Halloween mask smiling face so long she looked up at me from the estimate to see if I was still there. Just as I sat down to begin the interrogation I now knew was inevitable, Every shoots from the hip.

“What are these caliper things you have on the bill?”

Every is probably blogging her own view of our encounter: how I made my mechanic’s head explode. :)


Jordan Summers said...

Wouldn't that be funny? *ggg*

raine said...

You, sir, are a gentleman, a scholar...and now eligible for sainthood.

BernardL said...

She got me again, Jordan. Next time... :)

Thanks, Raine. I will have to improvise when Ms. Detail comes in next time, or give her a special tag on the blog. :)

Stephen Parrish said...

That was funny. Thanks.

BernardL said...

I'm glad you got a laugh out of it, Stephen. :)

Virginia Lady said...

Actually, i bet she's blogging about how mechanics always list items on the invoices that 'no one could ever possibly identify', even though you so carefully did just that to her before fixing the car.

I love these insights you give to the other side of the mechanic world, Bernard. Thanks for sharing them!

BernardL said...

Thanks, VL, it helps me cope too. :)