Whenever I have to deal with getting my car repaired, I feel like I'm wearing a T-shirt that says:
"Hi! I'm Pat, and today I'm a license to print money!"
When I got back from Hawaii, my trusty old Lexus would not turn over. So it was AAA to the rescue. My battery was not just in a coma. After eight years of excellent health, it died during the December blizzard. When the AAA guy put in the new one, he ran a diagnotic test to make sure it was working properly, and it showed my might have an issue with the alternator.
The car has been running well, but AAA guy promised me that it would only do so for a short period of time before conking out on me again. So today, I decided that rather than push my luck, I'd get it checked out.
As the warranty just ran out, I called my old friends at Murray's Auto Clinic in Silver Spring. They'd worked on my old cars and were terrific - they never took advantage of the many opportunities they had to cheat me. But they were fully booked until Friday. When I asked if they could suggest anyone else, the guy told me that Fenton Citgo (8333 Fenton St in Silver Spring, MD) was the only place anywhere near as good as they were.
So I called.
The mechanic spoke to me and asked a few key questions. Is the battery light on? Are any other lights on? How did AAA guy check it out? And he took pity on me, saying to come by in half an hour and he'd look at it.
He ran the same diagnostic test that AAA guy did, and the car seemed to be doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing. He did his incantations and all and then said he detected no alternator issues at all. He suggested that the AAA guy installed the battery properly, it looked perfect, and that AAA's tester might have been off.
Now, here's the good part. As he prepared to send me on my way, I asked him how much I owned him. And he didn't want to charge me! I had to force a $20 bill into his hands!
So here is one local business that has one loyal new customer! Like the mechanic who recommended Fenton Citgo, they passed on an opportunity to make money on this silly woman who knows zilch about her car. And the guy was totally honest with me.
What a great example for all small business people!