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Dogen



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 10793
Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone ever worked at a mechanic shop? I made an appointment for 8am this morning. I called at 1pm to see what they'd figured out, and they hadn't even gotten to my car yet. They said they'd probably start looking at it within the hour (that's 6 hours after I dropped it off).

So... why did they have me drag my ass to the mechanic at 8am? If it was to queue up, why not just pencil me in based on when I made the appointment (first called first served) and then have me drop it off at, say, 10am, when all right-thinking people are awake and have had their coffee?

I've been sitting at home with no car all day, which of course is when you decide you really NEED to go do something you could have done all week.
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fritterdonut



Joined: 24 Jul 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
Has anyone ever worked at a mechanic shop? I made an appointment for 8am this morning. I called at 1pm to see what they'd figured out, and they hadn't even gotten to my car yet. They said they'd probably start looking at it within the hour (that's 6 hours after I dropped it off).

So... why did they have me drag my ass to the mechanic at 8am? If it was to queue up, why not just pencil me in based on when I made the appointment (first called first served) and then have me drop it off at, say, 10am, when all right-thinking people are awake and have had their coffee?

I've been sitting at home with no car all day, which of course is when you decide you really NEED to go do something you could have done all week.


I have a couple buddies who work in automotive. As far as I know, the idea is that you drop it of at 8am, and ideally your car gets worked on soon. However, if the cars that are in front of yours take extra time for some reason, it takes longer to get to yours. That's also discounting any kind of failure of diagnostic instruments or tools which then need to be replaced or fixed by a technician, which is surprisingly common.

Auto mechanics and such rarely work on tight schedules, since they deal with so many unknowns (unknown problems, parts availability, etc).
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Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fritterdonut wrote:
Dogen wrote:
Has anyone ever worked at a mechanic shop? I made an appointment for 8am this morning. I called at 1pm to see what they'd figured out, and they hadn't even gotten to my car yet. They said they'd probably start looking at it within the hour (that's 6 hours after I dropped it off).

So... why did they have me drag my ass to the mechanic at 8am? If it was to queue up, why not just pencil me in based on when I made the appointment (first called first served) and then have me drop it off at, say, 10am, when all right-thinking people are awake and have had their coffee?

I've been sitting at home with no car all day, which of course is when you decide you really NEED to go do something you could have done all week.


I have a couple buddies who work in automotive. As far as I know, the idea is that you drop it of at 8am, and ideally your car gets worked on soon. However, if the cars that are in front of yours take extra time for some reason, it takes longer to get to yours. That's also discounting any kind of failure of diagnostic instruments or tools which then need to be replaced or fixed by a technician, which is surprisingly common.

Auto mechanics and such rarely work on tight schedules, since they deal with so many unknowns (unknown problems, parts availability, etc).


Um yes and no. It all depends on the size of the shop.

First: is it a small shop? a chain? a dealership? What kinds of car and what's the issue?

All of this makes a difference.

Generally, if you don't emphasize that you are going to need it back ASAP, they're going to take their sweet ass time. Also, there's parts to consider. If they don't have your parts, you basically get kicked back to the end of the queue.

Overall, it sounds like a mediocre to shitty service desk. It really has little to do with the mechanics, it's the stooge signing you up who's failing at their job.
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Dogen



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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Location: Bellingham, WA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a small local place, because that's how I roll. They had good ratings on Yelp, which I'm sure you know is hit or miss (Denny's has 3 stars). They can't know what parts they need for my car because, despite having had it since 8am, they didn't even start looking at it until 3pm. I described the problem in detail, however (it's a heater issue, but I know the heater core, blower motor, and fuses are all okay), so maybe they have some kind of guess (even I have a guess - relay or resistors).

I didn't tell them to rush when I dropped it off... although one wonders how anyone could stay in business if they think it's okay to keep someone's car for multiple days without warning them up front, or calling them (I had to call them to find this out). It's not like it's a microwave or a TV, where I can muddle through without it. I use it everyday, just like most people.

I'll accept that the stooge at the desk may be failing - he should have been calling with updates but wasn't - which is too bad, he was really cool. He's pre-law and also studying to be a fireman because someone told him he'd never make it through the training program. Apparently, he's also shit at customer service.
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eureka00



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
It's a small local place, because that's how I roll. They had good ratings on Yelp, which I'm sure you know is hit or miss (Denny's has 3 stars). They can't know what parts they need for my car because, despite having had it since 8am, they didn't even start looking at it until 3pm. I described the problem in detail, however (it's a heater issue, but I know the heater core, blower motor, and fuses are all okay), so maybe they have some kind of guess (even I have a guess - relay or resistors).

I didn't tell them to rush when I dropped it off... although one wonders how anyone could stay in business if they think it's okay to keep someone's car for multiple days without warning them up front, or calling them (I had to call them to find this out). It's not like it's a microwave or a TV, where I can muddle through without it. I use it everyday, just like most people.

I'll accept that the stooge at the desk may be failing - he should have been calling with updates but wasn't - which is too bad, he was really cool. He's pre-law and also studying to be a fireman because someone told him he'd never make it through the training program. Apparently, he's also shit at customer service.


Hrm, where I go it's the mechanic's job to call you about what's up with your car and not the desk person. The desk person just answers the phone, makes appointments, and takes your keys and payments. You might see if they have a service where they drive you to work/pick you up. Even most of the small places around here offer that.
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fritterdonut



Joined: 24 Jul 2012
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Location: Hedonism

PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
It's a small local place, because that's how I roll. They had good ratings on Yelp, which I'm sure you know is hit or miss (Denny's has 3 stars). They can't know what parts they need for my car because, despite having had it since 8am, they didn't even start looking at it until 3pm. I described the problem in detail, however (it's a heater issue, but I know the heater core, blower motor, and fuses are all okay), so maybe they have some kind of guess (even I have a guess - relay or resistors).

I didn't tell them to rush when I dropped it off... although one wonders how anyone could stay in business if they think it's okay to keep someone's car for multiple days without warning them up front, or calling them (I had to call them to find this out). It's not like it's a microwave or a TV, where I can muddle through without it. I use it everyday, just like most people.

I'll accept that the stooge at the desk may be failing - he should have been calling with updates but wasn't - which is too bad, he was really cool. He's pre-law and also studying to be a fireman because someone told him he'd never make it through the training program. Apparently, he's also shit at customer service.


To be honest, the majority of shops aren't going to call you to let you know they haven't gotten to looking at your car yet. Hell, they probably aren't even going to call you when they do get a look at your vehicle. They'll probably get estimates for parts/labor first, then let you know.

From the original post, it sounds like they never guaranteed that they'd look at your car by a certain time, nor did you say that you needed your vehicle back by a certain time.

eureka00 wrote:
Hrm, where I go it's the mechanic's job to call you about what's up with your car and not the desk person. The desk person just answers the phone, makes appointments, and takes your keys and payments. You might see if they have a service where they drive you to work/pick you up. Even most of the small places around here offer that.


Yeah, some shops also keep a fleet of cars that they'll give out to people who are having work done. If it's an emergency and you need a car right away it might be best to find a shop that can give you a loaner while they work on your car. Might not be cheap though.

On a side note, I'd rather a shop spend more time on my vehicle rather than rushing it. Last thing you want is to be driving away from a mechanics shop and having something break because someone missed something or didn't take their time putting shit together. Kind of like how quicky tire type places have a reputation for not properly torquing hub bolts, resulting in tires coming off mid-drive (personal experience).
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i always ask about how long things will take when i drop my car off, or even when i schedule the work, if i think it might take long enough i will need a loaner. for small jobs (like oil changes) i will wait for the car, and they pretty much always do it right away. but in my experience, they do always want the car first thing - and that may be so that can work things around most efficiently. if they have all the cars they need to work on that day on the premises first thing, they can move onto the next car as soon as they finish the first. if they schedule cars to come in at different times during they day, they may end up with slack periods with no cars. since it's not certain what is wrong with your car, so they can't be certain how long it will take to fix, they may have put it behind the cars that they knew exactly what to do with, figuring they could get those out of the way most efficiently and then have time to figure out what was going on with yours - but it may be someone else's job was more complicated than they thought at first.

my place, i think, is pretty good, but yeah, the only time they have called me to say they haven't worked on the car is when they had told me up front that it would be done by such-and-such a time and it turned out that wasn't going to happen. usually they call to tell me it's done, or (if they had to figure out a problem) what the problem turned out to be and what it will take to fix.

tl; dr - next time ask them when you drop it off about how long it will be.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mouse wrote:
tl; dr - next time ask them when you drop it off about how long it will be.

Fair enough! I still think it's an odd industry in terms of customer service (that is, that it seems to revolve around maximizing convenience for the mechanic, which in my case was the least conceivably convenient plan for me).

On the plus side, they finally finished at 9am, and I was right. It was a relay that had burned out. If I knew where the bastard was I could have saved myself $103 (minus the cost of a relay).
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

finished at 9am - surely they didn't work on it through the night? :p

keeping a car overnight without telling you upfront that would happen is definitely poor form.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think they worked on it at all last night, since it was just a relay. They knew everything I knew about the problem, so they knew the blower motor and the heater core were fine. The obvious next most likely problem is a fuse or relay. If you know where they are, you just have to pull them out and look at/test them (which requires some time pulling apart the dash). As it happens, one of the relays was literally fried (had even burned some of the wiring), but it was the relay right behind the fuse box, meaning it would have been the first one they found after testing the fuse. If they'd looked at it at 3pm last night like they said then they'd have been done by 4pm. I think they fed me a line last night, then looked at it for the first time this morning and then fixed it.

There are a few industries that work backward - where the customer bends over and takes it for the sake of the person providing the service. Health care is one (physicians, not hospitals), air travel is another, and mechanics are an easy third.
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Darqcyde



Joined: 11 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dogen wrote:
I don't think they worked on it at all last night, since it was just a relay. They knew everything I knew about the problem, so they knew the blower motor and the heater core were fine. The obvious next most likely problem is a fuse or relay. If you know where they are, you just have to pull them out and look at/test them (which requires some time pulling apart the dash). As it happens, one of the relays was literally fried (had even burned some of the wiring), but it was the relay right behind the fuse box, meaning it would have been the first one they found after testing the fuse. If they'd looked at it at 3pm last night like they said then they'd have been done by 4pm. I think they fed me a line last night, then looked at it for the first time this morning and then fixed it.

There are a few industries that work backward - where the customer bends over and takes it for the sake of the person providing the service. Health care is one (physicians, not hospitals), air travel is another, and mechanics are an easy third.

What kind of car? For my VW, for instance, there's a lots of parts that can only be gotten through the dealership. Taking it to a smaller shop results in paying more and taking longer.

A relay though? They might have to rip the entire dashboard out to get to it, so it might be really labor intensive, but you said it wasn't that hard to get to. Also, pretty much every mechanic I know, which is about a dozen or so, will put off a pain in the ass job like that if there's other stuff they can be doing. When I worked the service counter at the truckstop, my guys were no different.

Also, as was said, they may have had issues with their equipment.

Lastly, there's always the 'Oh shit we fucked up' factor. This happens when the mechanics, in an effort to fix something, break something, and then fix it before you find out.
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Sojobo



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
A LOT of it surrounded Rudd's changed views on same sex marriages and many of his former supporters feeling "betrayed"

This isn't really very accurate. The video just shows a random goofy pastor asking a question in an open forum. This wasn't a position pushed in the media. Abbott's party knew better than to publicize the issue by attacking Rudd on it, because popular opinion is on Rudd's side. This issue didn't end up being particularly significant.

Most of the culprit is that Abbott spent the last 3 years ferociously pushing the idea that Rudd's party was mismanaging the economy. When you have Rupert Murdoch (who owns like 70% of the news media in Australia) backing you up, you sound like you're making a good case, even if you're completely full of shit. Which they are. Completely.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

True, but from what I read (can't find it now) Rudd changing his stance on gay marriage was spun by Abbott as "See? Just more proof of how he's been lying to us the whole time." or something along those lines.
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Dogen



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darqcyde wrote:
What kind of car? For my VW, for instance, there's a lots of parts that can only be gotten through the dealership. Taking it to a smaller shop results in paying more and taking longer.

It's an '04 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport (whew). They had the relay on hand - they actually swapped out one from a wrecked WRX they had sitting around (the guy who picked me up even showed me the car - it was impressively totaled). So getting the part cost them little time and no money.

Quote:
A relay though? They might have to rip the entire dashboard out to get to it, so it might be really labor intensive, but you said it wasn't that hard to get to.

Yeah, I know exactly which relay they replaced, and it could be done without removing the dash, but probably wasn't (it's a pain in the ass to reach in there with the dash in the way). But it only required removing the bottom part of the dash beneath the steering column, which is held on by six screws. So, pretty easy. If they'd needed to remove the upper part of the dash (with the instrument panel) it would have been an hour for that alone. But it wasn't.

Quote:
Also, pretty much every mechanic I know, which is about a dozen or so, will put off a pain in the ass job like that if there's other stuff they can be doing. When I worked the service counter at the truckstop, my guys were no different.

I'm not sure what constitutes a pain in the ass to a mechanic. Is it anything electric? Anything under the dash? I found changing my timing belt to be a pain in the ass, but taking apart my dashboard wasn't. Several years ago I needed a bulb in my instrument panel changed and the mechanic acted like that was a big deal (which is why I learned to do it myself). I'd rather take apart dashes all day, personally.

Quote:
Also, as was said, they may have had issues with their equipment.

Sure, I guess. They may have had an IRS auditor who wanted to go over everyone's paystubs. I can't really rule in or out anything for which there's no evidence whatsoever.

Quote:
Lastly, there's always the 'Oh shit we fucked up' factor. This happens when the mechanics, in an effort to fix something, break something, and then fix it before you find out.

Maybe! I don't know.

If they'd started working on it at 3pm Thursday and worked until close, then came in at 8 and worked on it until 9 that's 4 hours to test a fuse, test the resistors (the two things you can get at without taking anything apart), take off the lower dash on the driver's side, find the relay immediately, go pick the relay out of the busted WRX, put it in, and put the dash back on. That seems like a lot of time to me. On top of the 6 hours they had it and did nothing.

And they only charged me 1 hour of labor.
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally, depending on the model, electronic stuff is a pain in the ass. Part of the reason is because even if there is a blown relay under the driver's side dash, the source could be a short back by the rear passenger blinker or somewhere buried under the hood. Then again, with the right equipment (too lazy to look up the name) they can send a pulse through any wires and find out exactly where it is, so electrical really depends on the model and issue. For their equipment, it could have been something as simple as "shit, the remote diagnostic tool needs batteries/needs to be charged, we'll get it first thing in the morning"

Overall, I'd say it sounds like a pretty decent shop since they charged you only for the repair itself, not the leg work they needed to do for it. I would go back there again. Also, don't forget to give them a good review on Yelp
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