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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The "Best of Ventura County"

It's that time of the year folks!
Sweepstakes!
The newspaper and magazines are  trying to drum up business. Now that the internet is killing them, they have to try harder and find new revenue streams.
Hence "the best of........"
Ironically, I got a phone call today, the second in less than a week. The opening line is always... "We would like to feature you in the best of Ventura County, We are only taking one repair shop for this prestigious spot, and we would like for that to be you!"
Wow!!! Wow!! Wow!!
I remember having a conversation with my daughter long ago, I said, "You don't have to be the best at everything or anything for that matter.  You just have to be consistently good."
You see, the best is not real. That's right, it is not real. It's concocted and paid for. Yep, you read that right!
Okay, say a divorce attorney gets the "best of" nod.  I think that the only people that could vote should be the ones with (minimum) of two divorces, handled by two different attorneys. Then, and only then, can they compare the differences and decide who is the better or best for them.
You see what I'm getting at?  Most of this voting is being done by people who should have no opinion due to the fact that don't have a good reference. All they have is the fact they like the salon, restaurant, repair shop, attorney, etc so why not vote for them.
I've gone to the same dentist for 30 years, Dr. Satnik. Would I say he is the best?  I haven't been to another dentist  in close to a lifetime so I have no basis for comparison. Would I go to another dentist?   HELL NO!
A good measure of an opinion should be to try a minimum of five different sources and then make a decision. Other than that, you just casted a vote for someone you like, but possibly not necessarily the best.
And no, I didn't signed up with the paper or the magazine, which means I won't be "The best of Ventura County"
But I'm sure I will read who did and wish them the "best".


Friday, July 18, 2014

A tale of two attitudes

For your pleasure.
Let me begin by saying that I never claimed we are perfect. We do fail. But we really do everything we can to take care of that failure. Both the client and the vehicle.
This article is about how people behave when a failure occurs. You have one type that is understanding of human nature. The kind that gives you the opportunity to make things right. The one that realizes that a mistake was made but, does not come on to you pointing fingers and does not blame you, just wants it done right.
Then you have the other side of the coin. The type of client who can't wait to blame you, even if there is a possibility you didn't do it.
Type 1,
So we got a Sprinter van and we replaced the serpentine belt. Twelve miles later, the belt snapped while the owner was driving. Vehicle towed to the shop.
We installed a second belt and a tensioner (all warranty) Drove the vehicle a while again and released it. Once more, and about twelve miles later, the same thing happened. All this while, our client is mystified but understands we are doing our best to take care of the situation. Belt number three and second tensioner were installed. I decided to drive the vehicle myself for an extended drive. Drove about ten miles and bingo!  Belt snapped again!  I'm now fit to be tied!
Well, we found the problem, we corrected it and we are done. All this while, as frustrated as our client was, he also understood we had a sizeable investment both in time and in parts. And that we certainly didn't want for this to happen.

Type 2,
We got a Saab convertible, the complaint was that hydraulic fluid was leaking from the top. The hydraulic actuator had blown out and had leaked all the fluid over the driving compartment.
Mind you, when we got the car here, something was obviously broken.It came to us with an inoperable convertible top.
We gave him a quote to replace the cylinder plus other things related to air condition blower motor. An agreement was reached and we proceeded to do the work.
Along the way we noticed that the manual override for the convertible was badly worn out (had rounded edges), there were two stripped bolt holes as well. This all indicated someone had already been there doing a lot of work.
Long story short. We got the parts back, installed them, and then it all went downhill from there.
When the actuator failed, it came out of position to the regular convertible open/close sequence. Once this occurred, things began to make contact with each other and some broke.
We probably spent as much as five hours trying to get it to work. And we can't without those parts that broke.
But what was the first thing out of the clients mouth?  Yes, you guessed it!    "That wasn't broken before!  Are you sure you didn't break it while you were working on it?"
You wouldn't believe the great amount of self restraint that it takes at moments like that. You can imagine what I was thinking, but thankfully all I said was "No"
I wish I could say " please, get out of here!"   But then of course Yelp would be glad to post that review at the very top of a page for ever and ever. Or until we pay them the monthly fee!
Serenity Now!,,,,(Seinfeld show)