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April 30, 2014
By Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Late one Friday afternoon in a busy auto repair center, the technicians are busting their butts trying to get everything fixed and out the door so that no customer has to go through the weekend without a car, unless it's beyond the shop's control, like late parts delivery, more problems unearthed than anticipated, rain, snow, flood, famine, pestilence, war, acts of terrorism, that kind of thing.

It looks like they're going to make it, if everyone stays busy and finishes the job they're on. A lady drives in. "I have an emergency. I'm leaving for Michigan in the morning and my window won't go up. I have to get it fixed before I go."

The car is a Sebring convertible, and the window that is stuck is a rear one. They have to tell her that that window regulator is on "national back-order," according to the Chrysler dealer. It will take at least a week to procure one. "Oh no, I should have brought it in sooner, I know. It's been acting up all winter, but I'm driving up into snow. What am I going to do? I can't drive in the snow with a window down."

We in the business have a smart-ass saying about this, which we repeat only to ourselves or to each other. It goes: "Failure to do repairs on time, on your part, does not constitute an emergency on our part." I told you it was smart-ass. Naturally we would never say that to a customer. Unlike your friendly doctor's office. Every medical office answering service seems to start out with: "If this is an emergency, hang up and dial 911." We don't have that luxury. We are expected to drop everything we're doing and jump on each "emergency" as it drives in, or the customer is unhappy with us.

The only solution for this lady's situation was to take the window regulator out to raise the glass and then put the broken regulator back in the car with the window permanently up. It was the same labor as repairing it would take but not actually repairing it, just closing the window. She'll have to pay for the labor operation again when a new regulator is installed in Michigan. She was not happy about that. By taking a technician off of his current job to take care of her problem, they failed to get another car finished by closing time. That owner was not happy. Two unhappy customers, one of which would have been unhappy whether they helped with her emergency or not, and they can't tell her to call 911.

The solution, of course, is to simply make me King of the World. I would then proclaim that there would be no more procrastinating about getting repair work done. Hey, that felt pretty good. I have a few more decrees up my sleeve. Everyone is to show a little more appreciation toward the guys and gals who can, and do, solve your mechanical problems for you. I'm on a roll now. I'll branch out into politics. How about, we cannot go to war without Congress declaring it. That would be new. How about, since we know there will be future shooters in our schools, and we don't want armed guards there, we hire diplomats for each school to negotiate, with the power to enact sanctions, the same way we deal with other countries. Like Cuba. Maybe it'll work if we wait long enough. Maybe I'll have to think this through a little better. Having air marshals on airplanes seems to be working. Hmmm.

I don't like this political stuff. Too confusing. I'll stick to car repairs. It's only confusing if you don't understand the basics, like electricity, hydraulics, chemistry, metallurgy and computer systems for instance. Although we are sometimes underappreciated by some people, we have the advantage of instant gratification when we fix something. That's rewarding. It beats waiting for the politicians to find a way to get the loonies off the streets before they get their fifteen minutes of fame by killing innocents.

How about not releasing their identities. No fame, no gain. Okay, okay, back to car repairs. I'm procrastinating because I kind of liked that King of the World thingy.



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