10 June 2010

Putting in my papers ...

Finally.

I'd had it with the car business years ago. Just burnt out and tired of all the crap so this past week I gave Nunzio notice that I'd be packing it in at the end of October. I was finished 2 years ago, when I left Harry's, and had it not been for Nunzio's guy leaving him suddenly, I wouldn't be doing it this long. It's enough.

Once upon a time, I used to love cars; working on them, talking about them, driving them but I've been doing this for close to 40 years (overhauled my first motor, a Buick Straight-8, when I was 10 years old) and been getting paid for it for the better part of 35. I can't stand 'em anymore. I have to talk myself into going to work every morning and it gets worse every day. It's one of the reasons I've basically ignored this blog for a while. Just can't bring myself to deal with it when I'm home.

Now that I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it's not an oncoming train, I've got a few things to say about the business.

Car Makers:

I hope all of you fall on financial hard times. You deserve it. Not the good folks who break their ass for you on the lines and in the dealerships, but those of you white collar assholes, from the corporate/management types to the engineers. Are any of you car guys anymore? Have any of you worked on the crap you foist on the American people? Do any of you think about what it takes to service the pieces of shit you design and how much extra it costs your, and my, customers because designing something that's easy to maintain is the last thing on your minds? I bet customers $5 that they can't find the oil filter on their cars. Shit, on some cars, I gotta look at the manual so I know where it's hidden. What the fuck? I gotta put my hands on it every 3 months or 3000 miles, why the fuck you gotta hide the bastard, you bloody simpletons?

You've turned cars into plastic shitboxes (even the most expensive). Try disconnecting a plastic vacuum line (or fuel line) when it's cold, or the little fucking plastic clips that hold door panels or interior parts on, or electrical connectors; old and dry. It's ass-puckering trying to take anything apart, waiting to hear that little "flink" and see a piece of plastic shit go flying away, needed to lock a connector or panel in place and now broken.

Cars have gone from being "driving machines" to people's living rooms. There are more lights, TV screens, automatic this and that, but actually driving the car is more of an afterthought. Half the crap today has more blind spots than a semi truck, yet shit beeps and lights go on when you get close enough to something else. Your car tells you everything, when to get the oil changed, when the tires are low, when your window washer fluid is low (my new car will even email me when it's pissed off about something), and most folks disregard the shit anyway. Either that or it scares them to death. Jesus Christ, owners manuals are now several volumes and look like the manual for the Space Shuttle.

And aside from all that; since 1973 (the first gas crisis), we've known the internal combustion engine was a dinosaur. Its essential parts haven't changed much in a century; Henry Ford would recognize an engine for what it was, and while we've refined them, they're basically hundred year old technology. Oh yeah, there are more bells and whistles; engines are tunable to forty times a second to produce fuel economy, low emissions, and horsepower per cubic inch that we couldn't have dreamed when I got into this business. Thing is, a hundred years later, we're still burning gasoline or diesel. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Parts Places:

You're almost as useless as tits on a bull. Auto parts isn't a profession anymore, it's a minimum wage job and those (generally) who work behind the counter don't know shit about a car, let alone what they're selling. Used to be, a parts man knew about how shit worked together and could make recommendations as to brand and quality. Nowadays, even at NAPA dealers, you get whatever shit they get a deal on from the manufacturer or rebuilder. I've replaced 3 alternators over the course of 6 months in the same car because of crap rebuilds. Yeah, they replace them under warranty but they don't pay me for doing the job twice, or thrice, and the customers sure as hell don't give a shit I can't get a reliable part, they look at me like I'm some kind of fuckup. I'm the guy they see and it's my responsibility, ain't it? They ain't coming to you bitching when they have to pay for a tow because the rebuilt alternator (or brake caliper, or starter) decides to take a shit a month after I install it. Whores.

Car Dealership Service Departments:

You, single-handedly, have done more to destroy the reputation of mechanics than any other cause. It's called "upsell" and you all do it so well. It's a dictum that no one leaves a dealership service department without buying something. Take your car in for warranty or recall work and see what happens. You get a laundry list of things wrong with your car, from the brakes to some kind of service, to a cooling system flush, to a tire rotation, that "you really should have done now before something bad happens". And they get you for a thousand bucks. And people wonder why everybody thinks most mechanics are crooks. Rotten fucking scumbags.

Car Makers, Fastener Makers, and Tool Companies:

All of you are in it together. What the fuck happened to hex-head nuts and bolts? What ever happened to Phillips or Slotted head screws? Fuck no. The fastener guys dream up some new way to tighten a bolt and sell it to the car makers. Once they incorporate it into their line, the tool guys have to make a new wrench, or socket, or special fitting, to remove the fucking thing properly (without breaking or stripping). Mechanics spend hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year just keeping up at Snap-On, Mac, Matco, S-K, Gearwrench, Craftsman, or any of the others. The boss sure ain't buying me what I need. You should see how many sockets, wrenches, cups, and pliers I have just to take off the million different oil filters that come on cars nowadays.

K-Mart, Wal-Mart, Jiffy Lube, Sears and the others:

You have done more than anyone to take the profession of mechanic and put it in the same league as burger flipper. You pay your 'mechanics' nothing, you work them to death, and most of them don't know any more than to change oil, mount tires, and change batteries. You shouldn't be allowed to have auto repair facilities.

Most of my customers:

Most of you are self-centered pieces of shit.

Let's see:

You make an appointment for tomorrow, don't show up, don't call to cancel, and then leave your car (before we get in, drop the keys through the mail slot) three weeks later unannounced, and expect us to drop what we're doing and get the job done "because you need it by noon".

You call for an NY State inspection and we ask if the "check engine light" is on and you say no. You drop it off and it's burning brightly. The inspection expires tomorrow, but you need the sticker because you are leaving on vacation tonight, driving to Florida.

Your biggest concern is the red paint on your beautiful white car (came a little close to something, didja?) yet heaven forbid you'd come in and get your oil changed a little more regularly than 15K intervals. Yeah, the car looks nice but the motor will be junk long before the paint fades.

You bring your car in for a service, brake job, and exhaust work and you "can let me have it for an hour".

You let me know you're looking for a used car. I tell you to let me look at it first before you buy it. You go buy it, disregarding my admonition, and then cry when you bring it in when I tell you it needs a lot of work for it to pass inspection. Told ya to bring it to me first, idiot.

You're a rich fuck and you cry about every dime you gotta spend on your "baby" that cost as much as somebody else's house.

You think you know about cars so you sit there and tell me what I should do, how I should do it, and what parts to use. Do it yourself, dickhead.

I could go on but you get the point. Just can't do it anymore, both mentally and physically. I got a bum shoulder, hip, and knees, in addition to arthritis in most of my fingers. Can't do another winter. It isn't fun anymore, no challenge and too much headache. I'm tired of coming home cold and tired, or hot and tired, or wet and tired, or all of the above. I'm tired of cuts, bruises, busted knuckles and fingers. I'm tired of being spooged with chemicals, boiling oil, and coolant.

I'm done and I'm looking forward to doing something, anything, else.

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