Neighbor in need

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ifixalot
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Neighbor in need

Postby ifixalot » Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:21 am

So awhile back my neighbor next door had trouble with his snow blower. He calls and asks to borrow mine.
I take it over and he tops off my tank. While he is doing that, I fiddle with his and I got it running.
I grab mine to take mine back and he says leave it in case I need it. I figure he just wants to use the pint of
gas he put in.
So he calls me again the other day and says he can't get his started again. I go over and have no luck either.
So I tell him I'll take it back to my place and take closer look. I get it back and squirt some fuel directly into the carb and it fires up. I take it back to him. He asks what he owes me, I joke $375 but I say nothing, it took only a few minutes. (His primer bulb is weak.)
So next day, his starter spins but won't engage. He calls, I go over and bring it back again. I pull it apart to inspect. The starter gear is stripped. I look on Ebay and find the gear is $45 a new starter is $104. I explain it all to him and tell him he can always pull start it. He decides to pull start it and save money. So I tell him, I'll put it back together tomorrow since it's late in the day. Next day I call and tell him I'm bringing it over. I figure he'll ask what I owe and I'll say $30 since I have a couple hours into it. When I call, he asks me to leave it in front of his garage. I've not heard from him since. So from now on, I think I will ignore his phone calls.
No good deed goes unpunished.



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SuzukiGhostRider
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Re: Neighbor in need

Postby SuzukiGhostRider » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:37 am

Lesson learned i hope.


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Rettax3
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Re: Neighbor in need

Postby Rettax3 » Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:43 am

When I had my own business some years ago (on-site auto repair), I would often do little things for people, and when they asked what they owed me, I would either charge a small fee to cover gas and travel-time, or more often tell them that they didn't owe me anything (if it was a quick, easy fix) but that I did accept tips... :wink: If they just kind of laughed, I would explain that I would charge them something fair next time, when I did enough work to need to charge them something. Usually, I got a lot of appreciation, and return business. Sometimes, I would get a tip, and usually the tip was the same or more than I would have charged in the first place.

But one time in particular, I had helped out an elderly lady who lived with her elderly brother. I had replaced the starter in their Celebrity (for a very small fee, BTW), and a couple of weeks later was called to diagnose an electrical problem with their '90s Caprice -nice car too. It was a simple fix, so I didn't charge them, and got a heart-felt 'bless you'. Another month later, I was called back to fix the fuel sending unit in the tank -I quoted them a price about 1/3 that of a brick-and-mortar, and got a disgusted, 'well, my son in law can just do it for me for free.' -click-

Lesson? Either get the money first and discount bigger jobs later, or accept that the time is invested in being nice -it may not come back to you (or forward to anyone else, for that matter). If nice comes back as cash payment or return business (in a case where business is a goal), count yourself lucky. If all you got was insight not to deal with someone in the future, that is still usually a bargain.

Generally, I like to be neighborly just for its' own sake, and don't really expect anything in return. If it is something that I really feel I should be compensated for, I try to work out the details in advance, even if it is just sketched-out like 'if it just takes me an hour or two, let's say $30, if it is more complicated, we can just go from there.' It gives them an idea too -it sucks to be on the other end thinking that you are getting a free favor and then find you have offended the other person by not handing them your wallet... Bottom line is everyone has their own ideas on what is fair and proper: communicating your views clearly and openly before any commitments are made or time is spent is the best way to keep everyone happy. :beer:


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ifixalot
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Re: Neighbor in need

Postby ifixalot » Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:00 am

Good suggestions. I didn't think it was going to be a bad gear. I thought the bendix was just stuck with rust.
I'll chalk it up to being nice but I'll try and remember to put on my business hat if it ever comes up again.
I have another elderly neighbor. His brother found this mail alert system that lets you know the mailman has
been there. He bought one for all six people on our street and left them in our mailboxes as gifts.
I liked the idea and installed mine right away. I dropped a thank you note in his mailbox and I told him
if they need anything, I'll be happy to return the favor. A few weeks later, he told me I was the only one to
say thanks and as far as he knew, nobody else installed them. They cost about $40 each.
So sometimes people are a pita.



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yellow3800
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Re: Neighbor in need

Postby yellow3800 » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:26 pm

I never help anyone who doesnt ask for it. I like and use quai chain cains style from kung fu the legend continues "come to china town. Ask for cain. I will help you.". This does a couple things. Illimination of those who dont care because your passing the ball to them, and if they dont come back its a darwin like way of ridding a problem client before ot starts and makes them shop around with the newfound time they have which may induce their appreciation.

As i get older, i approach favors that i shant expect a return. If i have to charge for my time, i just pass. Itll save me the headache of the client not appreciating new synthetic brake fluid bled when changing pads to the tlc of using dow corning #4 on oil filter gaskets over sticky engine oil. Im worth more than that and more importantly, YOU are worth more than that since you are reading this.

Get a new girlfriend? No way. My gf appreciates everything i do to her accord from a $500 16 speaker tri amp stereo to custom trans computer mods because the dealer (used as phocecious reference to the mechanic god shop that they are so far from) would never fix a bad design. They are parts replacers. We here are not.

Anyone can swap a different part on a new car. When is the last time you replaced all your fuel lines and fittings on your good shape and taken care of beretta? Yes, they all probably need it. We keep our cars as perfect as we want them and we should share the intrinsic value of our collective accomplishments, not succomb to someone who doesnt understand value. That phone hang up example is what im talking about. Thats what makes me burn up inside.

Our english neighbors have a hierarchy where drivers and mechanics have separate social orders. You guessed, the mechanics are dirty good for nothing underclassmen and arent invited to the picnic. They are socially snubbed. Excuse me. And yes, there is no questionmark there... Mechanics stop at nothing to fix a problem and dont accept no for an answer. If we were dumb, we couldnt do that. Stuff like that makes me glad to be an american.

And if youre on the board and not mechanically inclined, youre not dumb either because you are here learning and are taking care of your car. Thank you for that!

Andy




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