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Ratherbfishing

The customer may not always be right BUT...

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don't ever make them feel stupid.

Back story:  I took my boat and motor to a marine shop to have it (the latter) looked at.  The place is right off a major street in town and the parking lot (where my boat would sit) is only a few feet from the sidewalk.  There is no fence around the establishment and the town itself is not exactly a crime free community.  Prior to bringing it in, I had asked about this (security) and the owner said to take off anything that I didn't want stolen.  As my boat is an "open air" design, the portable gas tank, fuel line, and the cranking battery are readily accessible and can be absconded in under 30 seconds and, having never brought a boat in for servicing before, I took the shop owner at his word and, stupidly, left the battery and fuel tank home-figuring since these items are interchangeable (after all, it IS a marine repair shop), he could easily hook said items up.  Today he calls me and asks where these items are.  Innocently (naively) enough, I said that I did not want it to be stolen so I had left them home).  And, again, I said that I figured he could easily connect these things.  He said, "how can I work on your boat without gas or a battery" and "you wouldn't take your car to the shop without them, would you."  (Truthfully, no but a car is considerably more secure than my boat is).  also- "...I am to bring said items to him if I want him to work on it."  Prior to this phone conversation, I had been nothing but very polite to him but afterwards, I thought, "You know, this guy sure has a knack for making me feel stupid.  (And a couple of other things I wil censor out).  I am not the thickest skinned person in the world but to borrow a quote from Maya Angelou, it isn't what people say or even what they do that you will remember.  It is how they make you feel.

For those of you who feel the compulsion to say I should have known better", perhaps you are right but this is not the point of this thread.

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PM me which place this was...I am already running out of decent places to go  but do know a few I can try and send you to...I also may want to avoid that one.

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Wait...wait...wait....Crime in central Illinois?!?!!!

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Collect your boat and bring it somewhere else..and let him know why.

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I would have removed said items just as you did in your situation.  If the guy had made the comment about items being stolen then he could have clarified if he would have needed those items to work on your boat.  I would probably collect my boat and find another shop.  No need to feel stupid in this case.

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I wouldn't pay him to berate me, thats for sure. Take your boat some place else and don't forget to tell him why and that you mentioned it to all your friends at the boat launch/bass club/bait&tackle shop/internet forum. And smile while you say it.:)

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paint a rebel flag on his garage door while he sleeps

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Originally I felt some trepidation about telling "my story" on this forum as he (the shop owner) had already made me feel small so it was with great relief to read your that comments weren't "biting" or nasty.  Thanks, everyone!

I have spoken to a different shop in town and I will probably take my boat there.  HE (the new guy) was a heck of a lot more personable and that goes a long way with me.  I've learned over the years that you can be an absolute expert on something but eventually, if you aren't nice to people, they will find a reason to get rid of you.

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Batteries are interchangeable and it shouldn't be a big deal for them to have an external gas tank with the appropriate hookups for most major motor brands I wouldn't think. 

At any rate, I'd probably have done the same thing because batteries are popular items to steal and not cheap, and even if they only wanted the gas in your tank, they're going to take the whole thing because it's easier that way. Unless they're willing to store them inside the shop for you, they shouldn't expect you to just deal with the fact that your stuff might get stolen while it's sitting in their lot. 

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Update for those who care:  I called the "gentleman" this morning and asked him to have my boat ready in the lot where I can pick it up.  He said, "Is this about the gas and the battery?"  I said, "yes, I don't appreciate how you spoke to me and the lack of customer service."  He replied, "and I don't want to be your gas boy,"  He wanted to go round and round but I refused.  Anyway, fine, he doesn't have to be my "gas boy" but he's not getting any business from me.  I'm picking up my boat this evening.

The odd thing to me is that ALL he had to do was hook up a fuel tank and battery and charge me a few extra bucks and this could have all been avoided (I live out of town so this should have been a reasonable concession for him)..  NOW, he has...well, not an enemy but certainly NOT a friend.

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You did the right thing. I would have struggled not to get into with him . Hats off for keeping your cool. Any marine mechanic worth your time will have gas and a battery on site. (most likely will have a lot more than they need of each). He told you to take what you didn't want stolen..and you did just that. I would have done the exact same thing. 

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Not standing up for his actions as he was dead wrong to treat a customer that way. But we are all human and only those who are walking in someone's shoes knows what stress or troubles a person is dealing with. In my line of work I see the extreme worst outcome of some people trying to deal with life. We call it permanent solution to a temporary problem. Not a pretty situation.

Again I'm not justifying his actions just saying I have treated people wrong in my life and it was really not that person's fault. Thankfully I got through those tough times and hopefully those I did wrong I have apologized to.

If this is normal for him his business will reflect it eventually. 

OP you did great not arguing at that point it wouldn't have helped either of you. 

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19 minutes ago, S. Sass said:

Not standing up for his actions as he was dead wrong to treat a customer that way. But we are all human and only those who are walking in someone's shoes knows what stress or troubles a person is dealing with. In my line of work I see the extreme worst outcome of some people trying to deal with life. We call it permanent solution to a temporary problem. Not a pretty situation.

Again I'm not justifying his actions just saying I have treated people wrong in my life and it was really not that person's fault. Thankfully I got through those tough times and hopefully those I did wrong I have apologized to.

If this is normal for him his business will reflect it eventually. 

OP you did great not arguing at that point it wouldn't have helped either of you. 

I'm actually kind of sick about the whole thing.  You are right, though.  None of us are completely guilt free (and certainly not myself) and we do, sometimes, make poor choices in our reaction to stressors in our lives.  In this instance, however, I could not (or at least did not) find a solution-other than the decision to take my business elsewhere- that did not render me feeling impotent.  

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Well good for you being honest and polite and still standing up to the guy. Give the good guys business and let the sour ones be sour by themselves.

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Never try to argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level, and beat you with experience.

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I've already maintained the habit in my (admittedly short) life of finding the companies that take care of you and treat you as a valued customer, and giving them my business. Ain't nobody got time for people who don't appreciate the ones who keep them in business.

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It is amazing what passes for customer service these days. I was helping my friend with his driveway today and we were busting our butts off in the heat. His wife got a flat in her tire a few days ago and his wife took it the shop to get it fixed. Well they plugged the sidewall for ten bucks and sent her on way. Well she gets home and Eric says that is not going to work she is going to be driving it ten hours for vacation in a few days so he called and they said that she would have to order her a new tire as they do not keep them in stock. So they did. Fast forward to today and she takes her car in to have her tire put on. She waits for two hours at the shop and then they come out and tell her that they do not have the tire. Needless to say my friend was not happy. He calls and he gets transferred three times before someone will even talk to him. The sad thing is he has done business with them for 20 years. I for one will never do business with them again and I will make sure that I tell everyone I know that is thinking of doing business with them. I have blackballed a few companies in this town and I know that it has hurt their business over doing stuff like this.  

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37 minutes ago, mrmacwvu1 said:

It is amazing what passes for customer service these days. I was helping my friend with his driveway today and we were busting our butts off in the heat. His wife got a flat in her tire a few days ago and his wife took it the shop to get it fixed. Well they plugged the sidewall for ten bucks and sent her on way. Well she gets home and Eric says that is not going to work she is going to be driving it ten hours for vacation in a few days so he called and they said that she would have to order her a new tire as they do not keep them in stock. So they did. Fast forward to today and she takes her car in to have her tire put on. She waits for two hours at the shop and then they come out and tell her that they do not have the tire. Needless to say my friend was not happy. He calls and he gets transferred three times before someone will even talk to him. The sad thing is he has done business with them for 20 years. I for one will never do business with them again and I will make sure that I tell everyone I know that is thinking of doing business with them. I have blackballed a few companies in this town and I know that it has hurt their business over doing stuff like this.  

Am no expert but I've never heard of plugging a sidewall.  I think some businesses play phone tennis-seeing how many times they can transfer a customer back and forth until the caller gives up and hangs up.  No good!

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I question how that shop does much of any business at all. What kind of business plan would consist of having boats stored out in the open without much security. Even some of the sketchy marines centers here in pretty rough parts of town have at least very large and high chain link fences and dogs on the property.

Sorry about your experience and I hope you can find a better shop and owner to work with.

Reputation is a fragile thing, from the fact that once it is damaged or ruined it is hard to rebuild.

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23 hours ago, Ratherbfishing said:

Update for those who care:  I called the "gentleman" this morning and asked him to have my boat ready in the lot where I can pick it up.  He said, "Is this about the gas and the battery?"  I said, "yes, I don't appreciate how you spoke to me and the lack of customer service."  He replied, "and I don't want to be your gas boy,"  He wanted to go round and round but I refused.  Anyway, fine, he doesn't have to be my "gas boy" but he's not getting any business from me.  I'm picking up my boat this evening.

The odd thing to me is that ALL he had to do was hook up a fuel tank and battery and charge me a few extra bucks and this could have all been avoided (I live out of town so this should have been a reasonable concession for him)..  NOW, he has...well, not an enemy but certainly NOT a friend.

You have handled the situation perfectly and done everything the way a good respecting customer would have.  You asked good questions, took care of what you were told and then pointed out the reason why you were seeking another business to help you.  The flip side would have been to leave the boat, have your equipment stolen, blame the owner, have the owner blame you, hire and attorney or file a lawsuit, file an insurance claim and deal with the hassle all the way around while arguing over who was responsible.  There are times at my business where the customer is outright wrong, but I have usually found it easier to apologize for the misunderstanding and then take care of the situation to keep the customer happy.  Makes for better business.

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Though it was unpleasant I have learned some things from the experience.  I don't know if this is how "Mr. Customer Serviceman" conducts all his affairs (if so, I pity him) but I know it's NOT how I want to do things.  I have an older brother who can be quite difficult and, sometimes, I question if or how much I am like him.  If nothing else, this experience has shown me that I can, at least some of the time, conduct myself well.

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You idiot! Why would you think that you can...

 

Just kidding. Did I get you!?

Seriously though. My dad owns his own repair business for four wheelers and dirt bikes etc etc and he lives 3 miles away from town and always takes keys out of the vehicles at night. You can never be too sure who's planning what and you're just better off going the safe route most days

Taking the battery out of the boat is completely understandable, but the gas tank? I mean yeah it can get stolen just as easily (if not easier) than the battery but the mechanic likely doesn't have a gas tank laying around and if he did, who says it has the right connection for your motor? In this situation, I would have asked him before bringing it "Do you have a fuel source for my motor? Cause I want to leave my battery and tank at home."

But it's whatever. The guy obviously handled the situation terribly and needs to lose some business to teach him a lesson.

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Wow.... How long has he been open?  He set you up to take the stuff out then berated you for doing so?  Either he's nuts, you don't want him working on your boat, or he has a serious lack of communication skills.  In many instances I find the customer normally is quick to jump.  Not in your case.  

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I'm about as thick skinned and hard headed(at times)as they come but I refuse to do business with anyone that doesn't treat me as an equal. 

Wanna act like a fool,they'll do it with someone besides me. Life's too short to put up with morons.

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14 hours ago, Buckeye Ron said:

I'm about as thick skinned and hard headed(at times)as they come but I refuse to do business with anyone that doesn't treat me as an equal.

Wanna act like a fool,they'll do it with someone besides me. Life's too short to put up with morons.

There was something empowering about not getting dragged down to his level of destructive behavior.  The experience wasn't pleasant, I'll grant you that, but I am glad I chose the response I did.  Anything else would have been demeaning and self-destructive.  I don't know IF he learned anything constructive from the interaction but, fortunately, it's not my job to "fix" him.

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