All of these accounts are true. I know, because I experienced them myself. I used to work in automotive parts, and one of my responsibilities was answering the phone. Now, you may have gotten some phone calls that made you scratch your head, but did you ever want to laugh out loud, or look around to see if Rod Serling was watching? Keep in mind that none of these instances are fiction. They are all true…
A man called saying that he had been in an accident and wanted prices for some front-end parts. He gave me a list; headlights, front bumper cover, hood, fenders, and…”that main piece of glass up front. I’m not sure what you call it. The windshield wipers go back and forth on it.” To which I replied, “That would be the windshield.”
A man called to get a price on a speedometer cable for his ’91 Accord. That model Accord does not have a speedometer cable, it has a speed sensor mounted on the transmission that sends a signal to the electronic dash unit. So I said, “Sir, that car doesn’t have a speedometer cable.” He turned to his buddy and said, “This fellow said your Accord don’t have a cable.” I heard his buddy say, “Well no wonder the speedometer don’t work.”
When I heard the man say that he was rebuilding his engine, I started to see dollar signs. I asked, “What parts do you need?” He said, “Do you have any used head gaskets?”
A man asked for a “key solenoid.” After a five-second pause to figure out what he was asking for, I finally said, “A what?” “You know. That slot you put the key in to start the car.” (Ignition switch.)
A Soldier called long-distance from Germany, explained that he had bought his car at my dealership and asked about the windshield wipers. “Here in Germany, they only sell by length, not by application. Can you tell me how long the blades are on my car?” To which I replied, “Sir? Do you have a ruler?”
Long before electronic keys were introduced to the market, a man came to my counter with the key to his ’79 Civic. He held it up and said, “Can you cut me a new key? This one won’t start the car anymore.”
A man at the counter explained that the Corvette he had just bought from us wasn’t idling right. Then he put the four-barrel carburetor on the counter and asked if I could adjust it to make it run better.
A man called and asked about the tires on his car. “I bought it from you. What size are my tires?” I said, “Sir, the tire size is indicated on the sticker on the door, and in your owner’s manual.” To which he replied, “There’s a lot of crap in the owner’s manual.” And hung up.
A man bought a headlight for his car. Two days later, he came back demanding his money back. “The headlight you sold me made the other headlight blow out.”
A man came to the counter to get brakes for his Accord. “Your service department wants too much to put these on. I’ll do it myself.” The following week, his car was towed in. He had installed the pads backwards. Now he needed pads and rotors. I saw him sitting in our customer lounge. I didn’t say anything.