Friday, May 24, 2013
2007 Buick Lacrosse - No Low-Beam Lights
Here’s a funny and informative anecdote from my shop. On Wednesday, I was in the back working on a cover for THE LURE OF HELL, when a 2007 Buick Lacrosse drove up inside my shop. Yes, I’m 63, and I no longer book myself up to my eyeballs in jobs every day. I may be a bit guilty of retiring on the job. Anyway, I go out to greet the customer who is exiting the driver’s side. The young lady is one of those folks we OG’s (old geezers) have to rein in our first reaction with. She wore a black thigh high skirt with black nylons, and black medium heel shoes. Her burgundy top was spaghetti strapped with generous exposure. She will be known as Ms. Tat Lacrosse for this post. Tat had tats up both arms, a nose ring, one earring, diamond stud through her left eyebrow, and black hair tied back in a ponytail. Nails, lips, and eyes, were highlighted in black. My guess would be Ms. Lacrosse was in her early twenties, and around five feet, six or seven inches tall.
Look, I admit it, nothing very much bothers me anymore about someone’s looks, except for nose rings and tongue studs. Ms. Lacrosse smiled at my greeting, held out her hand, and said “Hi, I’m Tat.”
She had a tongue stud. Yikes. That’s like the daily double for me and my imagination. Naturally, I have to take a deep breath, while blanking my mind to thoughts of having a cold with those items in place. I may have shivered a moment before shaking hands with Tat. “How can I help you, Tat?”
Tat gestures at the Buick. “My headlights go off at night, and I have to switch to high-beams. It’s happened to me three times at night, and now the low-beams are off all the time. I went to the dealer, and they wanted a hundred and twenty-five dollars to check it out.”
Damn it! I’m probably going to ruin this young lady for being a good customer. I’ve mentioned in the past I study potential pattern failures on customers’ vehicles, because then I don’t get caught doing two hours worth of diagnostic work when the vehicle has a weird glitch. It just so happened, I have a number of customers with late model GM products, and I’d run across this problem in my studies. The dealer is quoting her the standard diagnostic fee, because it’s the right thing to do. The customer expects it. The tech who works on the vehicle has some leeway. The vehicle gets fixed. I should be doing it the right way too. If the problem was a check engine light with noticeable running problems, I would.
“I’ve run across this before,” I told Tat. “There’s a relay under the hood called a headlight drive module. Your daytime running lights and low beam operation work through it using the light sensor on top of your dash. When it senses low light the sensor tells your lights to come on. I have one in stock. The OEM one I have runs about fifty dollars plus labor.”
Ms. Lacrosse gets a tight lipped cross look on her features – not a good look for someone with a nose ring. “Why didn’t the guy at the dealer tell me that?”
Because he’s doing business the right way and I’m not. I save that for my own perceptive conclusion. “It’s bad customer relations to act like we have what is referred to as silver bullets, meaning quick pattern fixes for some problems. The customer many times leaves expecting a magical fix every time they come in with a problem. It’s bad business.”
Tat nods slowly, and then smiles. I know what’s coming. “Why are you doing it then?”
Bingo! “I don’t have their overhead to pay for, and you’re a perfect candidate because your problem is no longer intermittent. I have the HDM in stock. Your low-beams are not working at all now, so if I parts change the module and they come on, it means it’s fixed. If you still had the intermittent problem, I would handle the situation differently.”
“That’s nice of you. Can you show me now?”
“Sure.” It only takes a few minutes to replace the HDM, and the lights come on.
Tat claps her hands excitedly. “That’s great!”
I write up her invoice. I notice she’s scoping me out in that funny manner the young often do, either because of my rather stiff mannerisms or something I’ve done they find amusing. When I lead the way into the office to conclude our transaction, Tat hands me her credit card while perusing my picture walls. Then she lets me in on the amusing part.
“You don’t like looking at me.” She’s enjoying her observation, because she’s grinning away when I do look at her without focusing on some point behind her head as I had been doing. “What bothers you, the piercings?”
Yep. “Actually, nothing bothers me about you. It’s just that I have an active imagination, and when I see nose and tongue piercings the first thing that comes to mind is a cold, cough, and sneezing.”
Tat laughs in appreciation of my honest admission. “It’s not like you think.”
Says you. “Probably not, but you asked.”
She nods and signs the credit card statement. When she hands me my clipboard back Tat pats my hand. “I’ll be back. I like you. You’re funny. I see all the pictures on the wall of your family. I bet you’re a riot at gatherings.”
I grin at that observation. “I have my moments.”
“I bet you do. Bye.”
I reached for one of my business cards. “Here’s my card if you need to schedule any work.”
Tat turned and took the card with a thank you, and continued out. I didn’t follow, because my alter ego was already plotting a blog entry, and I needed to jot down some notes immediately. :)
One other writing item came up. My novel PEACE has hit the good sales point where I drew two ‘Book Killers’ in the same week. Although the one star hit pieces do hurt sales, they also mean that I attracted the ‘killers’ due to some pretty good sales. Such is life in Author-land. The ‘killers’ are kind of funny because as I’ve mentioned before, Amazon gives the reader SEVEN chapters of PEACE free to sample the novel. Believe me, if a reader reads seven chapters of PEACE, they will know whether they are going to like it or not. :)