Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part…

It’s 8:57 PM, and I’m ready to go home.  I want to make it to my sofa and my Budweiser.  I’m in the shop, locking my bay doors, turning things off, and a co-worker alerts me to some gentlemen who need service.

Me: “How can I help you?”

Man 1: “Yeah, I’d like to get these rotors turned.”

Me: “I’m not taking in anymore work for the evening, I can get them done in the morning and you can pick them up first thing.”

Man 1: “No.  I need them tonight.  I have to drive the truck to work in the morning.”

Me: “Yeah, that’s not gonna happpen tonight.”

Man 2: “We’ll pay cash.”

Me: “The morning.”

Man 2: “Double!”

Man 1: (Obligaciously) “If you don’t turn them, I’ll have to put pads on these terrible rotors…I need you to do this.”

Me: “Really.  They won’t get done tonight.”

Man 2: “Well pay you personally.”

Man 1: “I don’t think she’s going for it.”

Me: “I’m not.  It’s not going to happen any sooner than the morning.”

Man 1: (Outraged) “I can’t believe I have to put the pads onto these uncut rotors.  that’s ridiculous.”

Me: “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do for you.  Have a good evening.”

They walked away angrily with the rotors in tow, and it struck me that he waited until three minutes before we close to bring them in.  See, if it had been twenty minutes earlier, I would have squeezed him in.  I knw people’s schedules don’t always mesh with those of the rest of the world (especially in Vegas), but it’s vital that people understand that there is a cut-off point.  We’re not talking about loosing a limb or saving the world, we’re talkin’ CARS PEOPLE!!  We want to go home too.

So, don’t take it personally when your rotors can’t get cut or your radiator won’t be installed in 20 minutes, it’s not because we don’t want to do it.  We just don’t want to do it when we’re supposed to be home.  We’ll be back in the morning, with open arms and empty bays…


35 Responses to “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part…”

  1. Craig Wilson Says:

    What a great read!! As a ex-self employed mechanic I can relate to all these stories. I love your style of writing it makes for an entertaining blog. Would you be interested in some links to your posts from a page rank 3 blog? Please check out my blog and let me know, maybe we could combine a couple of our horror stories!! Just a thought. Great job!!

  2. simian Says:

    Hmmm, sounds like a great idea. I’m quite interested in your blog now that I’ve read it. Sadly, I know nothing of linking and ranking but I suppose i’m cool with it. I’m glad that someone enjoys reading my blog, I just needed an outlet for my frustration.

  3. Tammy Takahashi Says:

    My dad used to own a tire shop, and I remember people doing this. When I was working at Border’s people did this too! Over books! It’s good that you stood your ground. You got to go home and have a beer on your couch. 🙂

  4. Edd Says:

    You’re in the service industry — your job is to serve the customer. If you’re open until 9pm, that means you will accept customers until 9pm.

    Did your manager know you were turning customers away? If you were my employee you would be fired once I found out.

    • Mongo Says:

      I might have taken in the rotors, but let the customer know they wouldn’t be done until after opening in the morning. That way the customer makes a choice. Store hours are what they are, and no customer has any realistic expectation beyond that.

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  7. Damon Says:

    Agreeing with Ed. Service industry is what it is. Lack of service is becoming more the norm these days. I run 4 stores 3 Cadillac and 1 Mercedes store. If I say my hours are open until 8 pm, and they come in at 7:59 – then within reason (turning rotors, oil change) I expect my guys to complete for the customer.

    Problem is the economy is still going to hell, and soon you will be begging for that customer (as the guy down the road) will stay open that extra bit of time to resolve that customers issues. I hope that client never returns to said establishment, and allows folks like us (one of the few dealerships) that do not rape clients for money, to take over as their provider of service. Ashame you didnt provide your company name/location/etc.. of course why would you? – Keep those empty bays!

  8. Carolyn Says:

    When did it become an expectation, whether by those providing or receiving, that ALL manner of service industry businesses offer service 24/7?????? I would never expect anyone to be open 24/7 to work on my car, unless those those hours were clearly posted as a uniqueness or special offering of the business.
    Any rational adult who is in touch with the real world who goes to an automotive center with a run of the mill job request (and especially a lengthy one) a few moments before closing, should have no problems understanding and accepting when they are told that the shop is closing for the day, instead of being incredulous.
    For heaven’s sake, we’re talking about an ordinary day to day automotive repair job . . . , not a traveler emergency, not a hospital or pharmacy.
    The distinction of “service industry” does NOT automatically dictate business hours and I feel the person who wrote this blog is well within their rights and handled the situation as nicely and professionally as possible.

  9. Tom Says:

    Hey Edd!! Get A LIFE! You sound like some jacka@@ manager who cares nothing about their staff. I hope your staff quits on you! People have gotten more rude over the past decade, expecting you to drop everything you’re doing and wait on them hand and foot. It boils down to rude and selfish people, and Edd, you’re ONE OF THEM! I’ll bet Edd is from the NY area, considering his comments.

    • knucklecheese Says:

      So what if they quit? These days there’s a thousand (less self-entitled) people waiting for that job who will gladly work a little overtime to get and keep it. I’ve spent my life servicing computers and software for the public. As part of the service industry, it requires the same amount of flexibility, patience, and good attitude as all the others. I don’t think I’ve EVER been home “on time”. That’s how it works. That’s why people come back to you and recommend you to others. Get real.

      • knucklecheese Says:

        Coincidentally, I’ve never had a manager who left before I did. They know the score. That’s why they’re managers. Granted, there’s always jerks in every position, but as a general rule you couldn’t be more off base.

  10. Al Says:

    I agree with Tom, Edd does seem like an @ssh&le and I hope anyone that thinks like him has all of his employees quit on him. I worked in this industry as a mechanic for many years and if you were to visit that person at work and ask them to stay longer for you they wouldn’t do it so why should you. It was handled very well. This also applies to the people that feel the need to come into the shop and stand over your shoulder asking questions..we dont go to their job and question everything that they do so the same rules apply.

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    […] emergency. “My plane leaves today” isn’t an emergency. Remember the old adage: a failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Tags: advice, China, Hong Kong, passport, travel, […]

  12. Brian Dear Says:

    I write a blog about China, travel and business and I linked to this story — I was talking about people that do the same things when they go to the travel visa offices — they forget a document or their plane is leaving that day and all the sudden, they need a visa — failure to plan isn’t our emergency! Anyway, great story about the mechanic — I think every business has a story about someone’s “emergency.” Anyway, here’s the link if you want to read my post (you’re linked within the text “a failure to plan..”(near the end, in case you care.):

  13. wrongwriteperson Says:

    This stuff happens in every “service” industry. I write user guides for software. Problem is, I have to write them before the software is fully developed. Of course the writing is almost done and, voila, the software goes through yet another round of changes that impacts every page of the user guide. The developers do not want to hear that it’s best to wait until the software is fully developed before writing the user guide…oh no…that would be the sensible thing…at least to me. So, their failure to plan becomes my emergency. Hence, I’m working round the clock and weekends to make a deadline that some clueless a$$XXole at a salary level much higher than mine decided is do-able. Of course, if the deadline isn’t met, the fingers of fault point to me because the writing took too long. Hey, thanks for reading. Gotta get back to that f*&%$#g user guide.

  14. Sinjin Says:

    “We’re not talking about loosing a limb…”

    I sympathize with the writer’s predicament. I’d just like to mention that I believe she meant to use the “losing” rather than “loosing” (which is the opposite of tighten). I’ve noticed an increase in misspelling this particular word. It’s just my pet peeve, no offense is meant. 🙂

  15. Bratsche Says:

    I’m trying to see this from Edd’s point of view but can’t quite get there. OK, if you’re open until 9, you should welcome customers until 9:01. But then you should go home. I expect folks to work hard until quitting time and then they’re on personal time. If they choose to work more than that, I’m impressed! But they don’t have any obligation to do so, any more than the boss has an obligation to pay them $100 extra just because they’re short of cash. Remember, the boss can always choose to stay late and pick up unfinished work (unless of course she went home at 5:00).

  16. TONYY Says:

    I tend to agree with Edd. It was before quitting time, albeit just a few minutes.

    The customer agree to pay double the amount in cash, and the mechanic had nothing better to do than sit on her couch and drink a beer after work.

    Whether or not the customer was demanding, s/he was willing to pay for the inconvenience of the mechanic.

    With this economy, it is very true that you want to do you best in going above the norm with customer service.

    The next time a customer needs to have their rotors turned, do you think they will think of you first? And what about all of their friends and others they relate their experience to?

    Empty bays is right – just not when you want them empty.

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  21. fredricwilliams Says:

    We have an employee culture — do as little as possible for as much money as possible. If the employer fails, find another employer. If too many employers fail, let the government provide the jobs.

    A healthy business — and a healthy society — depends on people with real skills doing things for others. In such a society, the customer is always right.

    On the other hand, if we have too many customers or too much work, we can raise prices and let customers find other suppliers — or we can just decline to serve some people (as dentists and doctors, because there is a controlled shortage of supply) can refuse to take new patients.

    Those who would rather have a beer than help someone who needs help should be sitting at home drinking beer 24/7 — or until they lose their home.

  22. Karen Says:

    The customer offered to pay double. I would have done it. I agree though it is always obnoxious to have a straggler shout demands at you and then acts all outraged that you refuse. I think that, in general, people have become more impatient, whether its a customer or a clerk.

  23. crystal Says:

    it’s good to bend a little now and then

  24. John Carp Says:

    So let me get this straight. Instead of using 20 minutes of your time and helping a fellow human being in need, who even offered to compensate you DOUBLE for your time. You instead decided to waste 5-10 minutes arguing, pass on the money, lose a customer, cause the person unnecessary headache and waste more time and money. Wow… some mechanic you are. Hopefully you enjoyed your $100 beer…

  25. AaronB Says:

    It’s the expectation of receiving service – 3 minutes before closing that’s objectionable. The manager said no because she didn’t want to support bad behavior – which is what asking someone who owes you nothing to do them a favor last minute is all about. It’s disrespectful. And then doubly disrespectful to suggest the manager’s principles can be ‘bought’ by doubling the price. If a shop closes at 9pm, that means that that is when work stops. Period. Otherwise why have business hours at all? Most people know this and don’t need it explained.

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