Monday, November 10, 2008

Joe vs. Norm

being boring
Originally uploaded by scottelbot

My truck broke down on the way to work this morning. I did what I could to limp it the rest of the way there and then had to figure out what to do. I had a pretty good idea that it was the alternator from the way it was behaving. I'm no grease monkey, but I've been known to take care of my own car repairs in the past. This time though, I didn't want or need the hassle. I was prepared to pay someone to make the repairs instead. So I called the shop I've usually gone to in the past.

They've never been remarkable in any particular way. I can't say I've recommended them to others very often. They had always just done the job and moved on. No frills. No free prize. Nothing spectacular. Basically, they had just never messed up or over charged me.

So I called them. The mechanic, whom we shall call Joe the Mechanic (Regular Joe's seem to be popular these days), that answered sounded pressed for time. He didn't seem to want to be on the phone talking to me.

Me: "Hello, I have an alternator that has gone out on me. I was wondering if you would have time to get me in this afternoon."
Joe the Mechanic: "Not real sure."
Me: "Well, maybe tomorrow?"
Joe the Mechanic: "Possibly, we're pretty busy."
Me: "Okay. Would you be able to give me a ballpark figure of what I'm looking at to get it replaced? It doesn't have to be real close. Just something to give me an idea."
Joe the Mechanic: "It's not going to be cheap."
Me: "Okay, what are we talking about?"
Joe the Mechanic: "It's not going to be cheap."
Me: "I understand... "
Joe the Mechanic: "It's just not going to be very cheap."
Me: "Okay, what about...

I didn't even get to finish my next question. Joe the Mechanic had hung up on me. Joe the Mechanic did not get my business. In fact, he had convinced me I was better off just doing the job myself. So I went to the local O'Reilly's Auto Parts store to get the alternator I needed. This is where Norm the O'Reilly's Clerk comes in.

What Norm did:
  • He remembered my name from when I had to make some repairs back in May.
  • He ran a free diagnostics to make sure the problem was indeed the alternator.
  • He stood with me in the freezing rain while running the test.
  • He offered to use their jump box to jump start my truck again (I had my own though).
  • He took care of me promptly, did not cut me off, and did not tell me it was going to be expensive.
Most importantly, Norm the O'Reilly's Clerk actually made me feel okay with the fact that I was choosing to do the manual labor myself. He convinced me I was making the right move by providing me with outstanding customer service. He gave me a free prize. He went out of his way to be spectacular. He made my visit worthwhile.

Personally, I'll take Norm over Joe any day and I think it's pretty safe to say you would too.


Chris McDaniel said...

Sadly, Norm didn't really go above & beyond -- he did what should be expected - that is, provide you with complete, honest, and truly helpful service. But because the "Joe" experience (and so many like it everyday) went SO badly, Norm comes out looking like Mr. Uber-Service Guy.

Kudos to him for doing his job right; and to you, for not putting up with or making excuses for Joe!

Deron said...

Great article A-Weave. I love the idea of a free prize too. (I can't believe that guy hung up on you. Crazy).

Steve Harper said...

That is exactly why Cliff Clavin likes Norm so much. No matter the circumstance, Norm was always there to support him with a smile and a raise of the glass or in your case...a tow.

Seriously - great post!

Ripple On!!!

Andrew Weaver said...

@Chris - While it's true that Norm (actual name actually) did do what he was expected, I'd argue he still went beyond what was expected. He isn't expected to remember my name when I walk in the door months later & he didn't have to offer some of the other things he did. IMHO.

@Deron - Thanks, man. Hope you checked out the link to Seth Godin's site about the whole free prize idea. Some excellent stuff there. The man is a genius.

@Steve Haha... I thought of the Cheers correlation. See, my problem the first time was I didn't go to the place where everybody (Norm) knew my name! Thanks for stopping by and the comment!

Anonymous said...

First off, I seriously doubt the guy told you 3 times "It's going to be expensive," and then just hung up on you.
I know for a fact that car repairmen are very busy people. When a job is billed on an industry established estimated time, if the repairman can complete a 5 hour estimated job in 2.5 hours he can double his money by doing the same job twice in the amount of time as estimated in the original quote.

As for Norm going beyond his call of duty. Anyone that goes to an autopart store, Wal-mart automotive, etc. should know that the employees job is to test a battery if that is what the custmer asks for. It is what they agreed to do when they accepted the job. Unfortunately for the employee you mentioned it was raining on the day he fulfilled his job commitment.
As for Norm remembering your name...
I have two trains of thought on this:
1. Norm looked your license plate number up on his computer or by your telephone number,
2. You did something very memorable during your last visit to the autopart store, whether or not it was something great or not is unknown. (Maybe you were the guy that went in asking for a replacement muffler belt?)

Kudos on the creativity for naming the first gentleman "Joe the Mechanic." Did you come up with that on your own, or did you just plagerize that idea like most of the tripe on your blog?

Alisha Hurt said...

Your posts uplift my days Andrew. You always have a positive outlook on life and that's a rare thing to find here on this earth.

Chris McDaniel said...

"anonymous": I'll say what our host is too gracious to say:

Dazzling display of courage, leaving an unclaimed flame on the blog of a guy you probably don't know.

Do you go by "Joe" or "Joseph"?

Andrew Weaver said...

@Alisha - Thanks very much! I'm always glad to hear that I'm doing some good. =)

@Chris... Haha... thanks to you, too.

Anonymous said...

I may or not know the person that created this blog. I have a feeling that eithr way, whether from a personal experience or just a hunch, that Mr. Weaver is beside himself wondering:
"Does this guy really know me or is he just that astute at being able to pick apart my m.o.?"

The ideas that Mr. Weaver offers are nothing new or ground breaking.
As Alicia said, "Your posts uplift my days Andrew. You always have a positive outlook on life and that's a rare thing to find here on this earth."
There is a myriad of positivity out there in the world. I am a very positive person actually but I don't try and pass others ideas off as my own or try and make myself look to be an authority on the subject.
What I do believe is Mr. Weaver is an insecure person that tries to make himself into something that he trully is not. My guess is that Mr. Weaver is a huge supporter of the self help book industry and like I said earlier is passing off what he has read as his own. I guess maybe you all should consider the idea of "The blind leading the blind." ;)
Andrew is always posting this or that on his blogs and twitter and basically name dropping purchases or events. This is a common thing for an insecure person. It seems Mr. Weaver is trying to compensate for something.
Mr. Weaver a simple question for you as an example from my perspective.
You seem to be interested in photography and talk up the subject quite ardently. You talk about your equipment but where is your own original work? Hmmm......
Interesting too that previously you have mentioned being asked to be a wedding photographer, but also you stated that you just received a fast track guide to wedding photography.
Oh my.....poor girl!!
AS a photoshop expert myself I know that one can only go so far with a bad photo.

To go back to a comparison of Mr. Weavers blog I present Dave Ramsey.
Dave Ramsey is a person who gives financial advice to others. The advice he gives is nothing ground breaking, he just simply states what the person is to thick headed to understand themselves.
Caller:I don't have enough money to pay my bills. What should I do Dave?
Dave: Caller what expenses do you have and what is your income?
Caller: Well Dave, I have a $1200 mortgage, I just bought a new Escolade for $650 a month, I need this to haul the wife and kid around to the movies, the local theme park, and to the steak house downtown. I also have a member ship to the local golf club and a Best Buy credit card to pay for the new HD T.V. and Satelite service. Dave I make about $2500 a month.
Dave: Do you really need an Escolade? Must you go eat dinner at the steak house, was it a nessecity to take the wife and kids to the latest movie. STOP spending what you don't have on things you don't need idiot.

The parallel is clear to you all.
You don't need someone to tell you something you should be smart enough to figure out on your own. Do what you already know.

Mr. Weaver I beg of thee for a response. Unless, that is, you are to afraid even over the internet to stand up for your precious blog.

P.S. A little constructive criticism. Your title that reads,
"The wife and I"... Think about it. ;)

Chris McDaniel said...

Until one comprehends the difference between "to" and "too", one should keep their piehole firmly closed regarding others' musings, online or otherwise.

Just sayin'. Troll.