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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shop Battery

Over the past couple months while blogging about Layla and the ABC crew, I incorporated a few things happening in real life at my shop. This morning, I had one of those inane conversations I’ll have to store for a sequel.

“Hey man,” a middle thirties guy calls out from the big door.

Right on time because I just walked out of the office. “May I help you?”

“Yea… sell me one of your used batteries for a…”

“I don’t sell used batteries, only new Delco batteries,” I cut in, rather than let him give me a vehicle description.

“C’mon,” Mr. Usebat laughs incredulously, “you guys always have shop batteries around.”

“I do have a shop battery, but it’s not for sale.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a shop battery,” I reply, “and it’s over four years old. I use it…”

“I don’t care,” Mr. Usebat interrupts animatedly nodding his head, “that’s just what I need. How much?”

“It’s not for sale,” I repeat, wishing I had never admitted having one. “You do understand just because I have a shop battery, doesn’t mean it will fit in your car anyway.”

“I’ll make it work. How much?”

“Think of it this way. I sell you the shop battery, and you go home and hook it up. What happens if it doesn’t start your vehicle?”

“I’d bring it…” Mr. Usebat pauses, knowing he stepped off the tightrope, and he’s working without a net.

“Exactly,” I fill in for him.

“How much for a new one then?” Mr. Usebat asks, resigned he’s not going to separate me from my shop battery.

“Come in the office and give me the application, and I’ll find out,” I direct, opening the office door for him.

“Can’t you give me a ball park figure?”

“Sure, somewhere between $80.00 plus tax to $150.00 plus tax. Delco batteries are pretty expensive, but they’re the best. If…”

“Shit… I’ll just go to Walmart!”

“Okay,” I shrug, letting the office door close.

“Could I borrow your shop battery to drive over to Walmart?”

If only I could conjure Layla…



Jordan Summers said...

People are so cheeky. I can't believe some of the responses you get and yet, I know they're all true. *ggg*

BernardL said...

Boy, Jordan, if only you knew. I've left stuff off the blog because it makes better fiction. Sometimes, like when the mattress-on-a-shopping-cart-guy came in, I have to make a conscious decision whether to write it up or not, because even I don't believe it. :)

Bernita said...

"If only I could conjure Layla… :)"
But then you'd be tripping over gerbil balls...

BernardL said...

Good point, Bernita. :)

Virginia Lady said...

People can be truly amazing at times. You need a lot of patience to be in business, no matter what the business, it seems.

BernardL said...

Customer service is not for the faint of heart, VL. Blogging and writing about my encounters helps. :) I try to keep in mind many first time customers have had bad experiences at other shops.

Matthew Nowlin said...

There are just some engines that I will not sell - 2.7L Chrysler engines in any year, 4.7L engines prior to '04, ford 4.2L engines - you get the picture. "We don't have them" gets a much... shorter response than "We don't sell them."

My favorite response when quoting a customer goes like this:
Me: "All our engines with under 50,000 miles come with a two year warranty."
CustomerIDon'tCareToSellTo: "How much is it without the warranty."


BernardL said...

"CustomerIDon'tCareToSellTo: "How much is it without the warranty."