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Mechanics: What Are Your Worst Customer Experiences?

Illustration for article titled Mechanics: What Are Your Worst Customer Experiences?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been posting horrors stories of the greasy and underhanded variety, from the customer’s perspective. Now I ask the professionals to give us their take on the worst customonsters that they’ve encountered when on the clock.


You can send your responses to Your names and positions will be withheld for the purposes of the story. I’ll round up the best ones for a juicy post or two in the coming weeks.

(Photo by Emyr Jones on Flickr)

Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos about buying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapest Mercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata. He also has a real name that he didn’t feel was journalist-y enough so he used a pen name and this was the best he could do.


You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He won’t mind.

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I’ll fire away.

I worked in a fairly upscale area at a Gas Station/Repair Shop/Used Car dealer. Quite a few of our customers had Daily drivers and toys. The start of Spring meant the start of getting these things into shape/inspected.

One of them owned multiple cars and was mechanically inclined, it was ancient Pontiac something-old’ I was working on that day. He was also a cool guy. He’d done a new Carb on it as well as Distributor/Points and Condenser. He brought the car limping in for us to fix the timing on it and he couldn’t get it right.

Now also in the shop, chewing my bosses ear was THE stereo-typical soccer mom, down to the “as-a-mother” haircut. We HATED Her, but between Her and Her Brood they had a nearly a dozen cars that we worked on, so we played nice and treated Her well despite Her attitude/mouth.

I’d set the Pontiac up on a timing light and found that the timing was retarded WAY too far. So I turn to him and go “Yeah, the Timing is retarded.”

Audibly you could hear Her neck snap around “What did you say?!”

I responded with “I said the Timing it retarded...” followed by around a second pause as the gears turned inside my head “ is a technical term for the spark-plug firing late.”

“Don’t back-pedal! You can’t be so able-ist”

I was a bit flabbergasted and so was Cool-Guy and my Boss.

Now she starts demanding the I be fired for speaking that way, my Boss is full damage control trying to explain to her that I’m not being discriminatory. Eventually she won’t hear any of it and storms out nearly in tears, telling us how she’ll call the Local News on us.

Nothing ever came of it, and we kept working on Her cars, only Her Husband brought the down instead of Her.