A Sigh of Relief (long OT post)

by Bendrr 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • Bendrr

    I've been meaning to post about this situation but kept putting it off. Now that it's the weekend and I've got the week behind me and I'm a little more relaxed I'm going to go ahead and lay it on y'all if you don't mind. Plus today's development is worth mentioning.

    Most of you know I'm an automotive technician, undercar specialist. Brakes, alignments/suspension, exhaust. My current job is a blessing, no other word for it. Our company has the highest paid technicians in Macon, possibly the entire Middle Georgia area. And the store I work at is in a very upscale area. It's nickname is the "garage mahal".

    I started out as the alignment technician two years ago when our store opened. Last November the company did some moving around, transferred our brake tech to a different location in exchange for that store's alignment tech. I became our store's brake tech and the new guy Scott took over alignments.

    Scott has some problems. Mainly substance abuse. Bad. Right after he transferred to our store he was out for like 3 weeks for a rehab program. Which didn't do a damn bit of good because he came back to work with his usual stash of pills and barely a month later he came in to work one morning so stoned that the manager sent him home. Then he was out for another week. From that time until early March he took an extra day or so off every week in addition to his scheduled day off. Then in March he didn't show up for work one Tuesday morning and hasn't come back since. The manager was pretty tight-lipped about the situation, but the company grapevine said that Scott wasn't coming back at all. Every so often one of the tire guys, Jerry, who is pretty close to Scott would say "he's coming back" and it would never happen.

    Meantime, the tire guys started getting steadily more antagonistic towards me. Especially Jerry, the one who's real buddy-buddy with Scott. Always trying to pick an argument. When they had tire work on a vehicle and it needed brakes they'd try to hide it from me and make me lose sales. Also apparently going to the manager complaining about me, bitching that I made so much more money than them, real petty stuff.

    Here recently it's come to my attention that Scott was instigating all that. He busted one of the speakers I'd built for the shop, trying to get me to blame the tire guys. (I spent nearly $300 on a custom system for the shop for everyone to enjoy). He went to two of the black tire guys and told them I called them <the N-bomb> and that I hated black people. And just last week someone finally came to me privately and told me that Scott had been saying he was going to get rid of me and take my job.

    Today Scott showed up at the shop....and loaded up his toolbox. He's being moved to another location, a real toilet if you ask me. Jerry immediately tried to start something with me. Right in front of the other three tire guys he came up to me and said "Hey I heard you said I was trying to get you fired". I told him "No Jerry I didn't say that", looked at Tony and Phil and said "Did I guys?". They said no and then Jerry started getting mad. I told him that what I said was that he was constantly trying to start fights with me and cause problems, which is true. Then I walked off back to the 4 vehicles I was working on (compared to the one apiece they were dragging ass on) and said "the games are over Jerry, I'm still here and I'm here to stay". Which shut him up for the rest of the day. Scott barely spoke to me and wouldn't even look me in the eye when he was there getting his toolbox. Jerry pouted the rest of the day, even took a two hour lunch away from the shop, and the other tire guys, including the two black ones who I allegedly hate and called <N-bomb>, the other tire guys treated me just great. I wrapped up my work early, I wasn't that busy after lunch, and helped the two black tire guys (and only them) out with some tire rotations which they appreciated because it freed them up to do oil changes which they get paid extra for. We laughed and joked, mostly little wisecracks like "call the WAAAAHmbulance" or "I want a WAAAAHburger and cries for lunch" and Tony and I sang a pretty good rendition of Hee-Haw's "Gloom, Despair and Agony - Oh Me!". Ok, that was directed at Jerry and pretty childish I'll admit but today it had come to a point that I clearly had the upper hand and it was time to put this kid in his place.

    I'll be having a talk with our manager Monday morning about the whole situation. I'm also going to try to have a talk with the company's General Manager about it as well, I'm sure Scott had plenty of choice things to say about me to him and I need to undo all the damage that may have been done.

    You know, it all comes down to greed and envy. Scott had it made at his old store. Senior tech, plenty of front-end work and alignments, he'd been there for years. Our location just doesn't support a full-time alignment tech. The vehicles our customers drive are just too new. It's rare to see one much older than a 96 or 97 and we may see something older than 1990 once a month if that often. I tried telling Scott that before he even came over. The only reason I made as much as I did was because our brake tech wasn't all that fast, at least half the income I made as alignment tech back then was from brake work. Back then I was turning about $10,000-11,000 a month in labor, last month I turned $14,000. Scott's last commission check when he was still with us was only for about $20. Mine that month was over a thousand. You do the math.

    And it's not just greed and envy on Scott's part. The tire guys probably make at most $9/hour. The do have an incentive program, $1 per oil change, and a dollar here and two there for air filters and wiper blades they sell. But nothing like what tech's make. So they see that and get jealous. But if they want to make tech pay then they need to become tech's and do the work. I really think that management has some issues with the pay difference as well. But like I said in the last sentence, and it's something the owners of the company have told managers too, if you want tech pay get out there and do the work.

    I work really hard for what I make. It's taken me years of struggle at low-paying shops to hone my skills and I have to work hard every day to stay on top of the game. This morning I opened my toolbox at 7:20. By 10:00 I'd already done a transmission flush, an alignment, and 5 brake jobs. Plus nobody helped me pull the vehicles in or out, take the wheels on and off, or test drive them when done. And today wasn't as busy as last Saturday. Last Saturday I kept the 5 back bays full at all times with brake work plus several alignments on the alignment rack. I literally ran across the shop in between jobs. But at 5 minutes before closing time I had everything out in the parking lot, my tools put up and my box locked, my hands washed, and was on my way home while the tire guys were still dragging their asses around at the same slow pace they'd worked at all day.

    I started out just like the tire guys, I busted tires myself for two years at Western Auto. There were times when I didn't have food in the house or even a vehicle. I once walked home a good 15 miles one night because I didn't have a ride and the next morning I was back in to work before the store opened. I've told the guys time and again that if I can do it anyone can. All it takes is hard work and determination. As long as all they care about is collecting a check then that's all they'll do.

    Well, that's my story. I guess it comes down to work ethic and maybe I'm just old school. I can remember a time when McDonalds would put up a help wanted sign and there'd be a line out the door of folks looking for work. These days folks act like they should be paid for just showing up, and if you want them to work that'll cost extra. Even getting to work on time seems to be a thing of the past. Our shop has the worst tardiness I've ever seen. We open at 7:30, but don't expect to see the tire guys there until close to 8:00. Even Scott was pretty bad about being late, he'd usually show up at a quarter till and then it was another good half hour before he did any work. Drives me crazy y'all. I'm there sometimes before even the manager. We've had store meetings where being late was addressed and the very next day, same thing. The manager is scared of the tire guys and lets them get away with murder.

    I don't know what this world is coming to sometimes and really it scares the hell out of me when I think of the generation that will be running things when I'm old.

    So I'm just going to enjoy my weekend, what little there is left of it anyway. Y'all enjoy yours too, and next time you get bad service just remember the good old days when people took their jobs a little more seriously.


  • Joyzabel


    You should be proud of your work ethic. Sounds like it has helped you progress in your job. As far as those other guys, well, you know you live in the heart of redneckville!

    Enjoy the weekend.


  • gitasatsangha

    Hopefully things will be better there now that that troublemaker is gone. A person on pills like that is just not themself.

    Wish I knew a good front-end guy. This last week the engine broke all three motor mounts and landed on the right axle of my car, six inches off center. Good Gravy, I never heard of anything like that! I dont mind the cost of fixing up my baby so much, but front in work is pretty particular and it helps to have someone who knows what they are doing. You guys deserve to get paid well.

  • Bendrr

    Ouch Git! What kind of car? Sounds like something a Chrysler from the 80's/early 90's would do. Also sounds like a problem that should have been spotted sooner, you should find a more observant mechanic.


  • BeautifulGarbage


    You sound so much like my husband. He's a truck driver, and in a class by himself. He's won numerous awards and other companies are always trying to lure him away from his current job. He makes more than the average because he is so incredibly organized (unlike his scattered wife) and hard working. He also takes excellent care of his equipment and has a good attitude.

    Well, of course, this has bred envy, and jealousy, among fellow drivers because they feel they are getting shortchanged and that my husband is kissing someone's ass.
    What their problem is they are not willing to work as hard, and as smart, as my husband.

    My spouse was the target of a plot to get him to quit. His company had brought in a new management team and they wanted to get rid of the "old-timers", especially my husband. Outrageous allegations were made. For example: My husband was single-handedly responsible for the company losing a very big account. This was a bald-faced lie and an attemped cover-up of bungling by the operations manager. For months he was harassed by a few midlevel flunkies with accusations of various transgressions allegedly committed by him.

    In the end, they finally hung themselves with their own rope. That new management team was fired about four months ago. And my husband's reputation is a shiny as ever. The bottom line is the bottom line. He makes them lots of money for them and that always wins out. Though, going through it can be described as distressful and frustrating.

    You said it best:

    So they see that and get jealous. But if they want to make tech pay then they need to become tech's and do the work. I really think that management has some issues with the pay difference as well. But like I said in the last sentence, and it's something the owners of the company have told managers too, if you want tech pay get out there and do the work.

    And I will add, that YOU do not set the pay scale. It's interesting how people, instead of looking at themselves, and what they can do to change their own situation, will scapegoat the people they envy for the shortcomings that they, themselves, posess.

    Best Wishes,


  • Surreptitious


    You mentioned "black tire guys", but frankly I don't think I've ever seen a tire that wasn't black.........

  • Bendrr

    You mentioned "black tire guys", but frankly I don't think I've ever seen a tire that wasn't black.........

    Good one, Surrepitious. I only specified them as black because of the allegations made. They're just "the guys" to me. I don't care what color you are, cool comes in all colors. But race relations around here still need some work sometimes, it takes a little extra effort.


  • toddy

    Bendrr,i hope you don't mind me asking but i own a Honda Prelude and it has this 4 wheel steering.

    In your expert opinion could the tracking/alignment be done by any drive in workshop or should i go to a specialist honda workshop?

  • Bendrr

    Toddy, I've aligned a few Preludes with 4-wheel steering and there's nothing special about the alignment. All I do as with any alignment is center the steering wheel and lock it down, adjust the rear toe first, then adjust the front. The toe (not "toe-in" or "toe-out") is the direction a wheel points in, with zero inches or degrees being straight ahead, positive toe is pointing towards the centerline of the vehicle, and negative toe is pointing outwards. While some manufacturers may call for toe to be set at some measurement other than zero inches (or degrees) the best way to align a vehicle in order to prevent tire wear is to set the toe to zero or as close as possible on all 4 wheels.

    Just find a reputable shop that stands behind their work. Ask for a printout showing the before and after measurements, make sure to ask before the tech starts the alignment. A good tech will be happy to let you watch and explain the process to you, just make sure to stay out of his (or her) way and don't walk up under the rack while he or she is working.


  • SixofNine
    A good tech will be happy to let you watch and explain the process to you, just make sure to stay out of his (or her) way and don't walk up under the rack while he or she is working.

    It's alot like making a porn film in that respect.

    Hey Mike, to bad they don't have soap operas set in garages eh? btw, be sure not to pass on that crack about "petroleum lubricant jigaboo" to your co-workers, might get ya killed, lol.

    I enjoyed your post.

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