Daily Grind—April, 2018

By Jerry Rabushka,

  Filed under: Department, Lead, The Daily Grind

Managing Editor

No Car Behind Door Number One

I wasn’t sure what to write about until this whopper came up: I’m sure by now you’ve read one or two articles that suggest you should know what you’re talking about when you meet with a customer. For instance, if you only paint interior, you wouldn’t spend an hour talking about an outside project because you know you don’t do them.

You probably think it’s insanely stupid that I even have to say that, but I recently met with a garage door technician who, upon reminding me that there was a $49 service fee for his gently masculine presence, told me his company didn’t even work on the brand of opener I have. It’s a Genie—you know, something no one’s ever heard of before. And of course he salted me with, “if only you’d have called us first, you wouldn’t have the problem to begin with.” That’s what every customer wants to hear: you really screwed up, buddy. Then he gave me a $575 estimate to install some new equipment.

I responded with language I can’t print here and quickly answered the satisfaction survey by suggesting that if they’d ask what brand of opener I have, they wouldn’t be sending people out to jobs they couldn’t do and asking for a service fee simply to say they weren’t going to do it. With that in mind, I could make a fortune not fixing things. “Ma’am, I can’t fix your car, but you owe me $49.” “Sir, I can’t fix your marriage, but you owe me $49.”

The manager called me right away and said they do indeed work on Genie openers and would send someone else out, minus the service fee. They work on any type of garage door opener there is, he assured me, which is why there was no need to ask what brand. I told him, “your office is just four blocks from mine, so I pass it all the time, I thought I’d give you a try.”

The manager said he hoped this experience didn’t sour me on them and they’d make it right, and that they’d talk to the tech about what happened. I’d say things were up in the air at that point, but they weren’t, since the door was stuck shut.

Unfortunately for you, when you go to a job, you have to overcome such nonsense from people that came before you. I guess that’s why whenever someone comes over, everyone else in my life says, “how can you trust him?” Sometimes I just have to trust someone for my own well-being. If I assume the worst of everyone right off the bat, I wouldn’t be “who I am today.” Some people prove themselves untrustworthy very quickly, but I can’t invent a conspiracy theory up front about every person and every business I deal with.

A couple days later, they sent out Joel, nice easy-going fella who unlike technician #1, consulted a trouble shooting manual—he showed me that he had access to a lot of door-opener manuals, just like a professional garage door tech should have—and he got it working in a half hour (at no extra charge) by reprogramming the opener.

I was happy the problem got resolved, but it makes me wonder if the first tech was trying to scam me out of six hundred bucks so he could make a bigger sale, and if he’s doing that to others as wel

l. For many people, having that special space to park your car is a big part of the American dream, especially if you live in Los Angeles or the French Quarter. I just wanted to put mine in my garage.

My Genie is out of the bottle.

Two wishes to go.