Doing favors doesn't pay, that's for sure.

Discussion in 'Rants and Raves' started by M. Sage, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. M. Sage

    M. Sage TGT Addict

    Jan 21, 2009
    San Antonio
    So tonight I wound up not having enough time to look at another TGT member's car because of what happened with another car-related favor I had to do. Before I start, let me say for the record that the TGT member is being very cool about everything and isn't being demanding or torpedoing my weekend like the person I'm about to rant about.

    It all started the other night, when my wife gets a phone call and tells me that her manager's car is dead and could I please go have a quick look at it? It's almost 10 at night, but the guy doesn't have any other form of transportation (which is an utter POS) so I agree. I grab what few tools I keep around the house that might help me figure out and hopefully fix the problem, pile the wife into the car and go pick the guy up at work. He gets out of work (with his brother who he lives with... and both need a ride) and we head over to the scene to see what's up, where we meet with brother #3. The car is dead - cranks over great but won't start, which is an improvement on the last no-start I fixed on this car. I wind up not even using the tools I brought, I simply started with the basics.

    Spark? Yep, I can hear it popping like mad when I pull a wire part-way off a coil. Fuel? I take the cap off the Schrader valve and push down on the valve... no fuel come shooting out at me. Not even a dribble. No pressure at all. Houston, we have a problem.

    I spend a few minutes doing little more than poking at the car with a stick to make sure it is indeed dead and asking questions like "it's not out of gas, is it?" "You're sure the fuel gauge is accurate?" By the end of the night, I'm stuffing the trio into the back seat of a Grand Am so they can ride home, and we've agreed that I'll price parts and fix his car for him Saturday after I was done working at noon.

    I was not looking forward to this at all, since the car is a mid-90s Camaro, and changing the fuel pump means removing the rear axle and exhaust from the car. What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. They asked if I could fix it sooner, on the ground. I laughed out loud.

    The fun started after I priced the parts. They were too expensive (probably because I priced out OEM stuff - cheap parts suck), so they were going to get their own. This worried me since finding parts on a Saturday afternoon takes an act of Congress, but I figured that if they got the wrong pump, I'd just have to push the car into the parking lot and let it sit for the weekend - not my fault if that happens, so my worries went away. This, after my wife asked me if I could fix the car for only $150. Yeah... right. $150 barely was going to cover parts. I'd like to see some money for my troubles.

    So today at around 11AM, I start getting that worried feeling again when the car hadn't been towed to the shop yet. I like to have everything lined up neatly before starting something like this, because one little hiccup and things will go very badly indeed. So I call the wife's boss, and he sounds like he's just waking up! Worries returning big time!!! I let him know that it's nearing noon, and that since I do not have a key to the shop and will be locking a door behind me when I leave that means that when I leave, I can't come back... Implication here is that I'll be forced into a choice between sitting around waiting for hours on end or simply telling him to piss up a rope.

    I'd have offered to do it next weekend, but I'll be at the Reliant next Saturday. Didn't tell him that I wouldn't be in town, either, so he may have been mistakenly counting on me doing this next weekend if this weekend fell through. I'll admit, it would have been worth the look on his face.

    So they call a tow truck... and my wife has to go pick one of them up so that he can meet the tow so they can give him a key. Tow driver is getting pissed because they called him with no way to get to the car, and he's wasting time idling around waiting for them to get there so he can get on to other jobs. Oh joy.

    They get it all settled out, the tow truck arrives pretty well after noon (grrr), and I get the beastly job knocked out. I finally cleared the shop after 6:30, called the TGT member and he tells me that tomorrow would be fine. I really hadn't called to bail on him - I wanted directions to his house - but was pretty relieved when he suggested it.

    On top of it all, the exhaust that this guy's brother had someone put on the Camaro was a total POS, and I had to cut a couple of the hangers to get it off, then weld them back on again... along with welding up a multitude of holes that the previous welder missed because he was inept/retarded or maybe simply blind - the booger welds he left behind suggest all three. The only good thing that came about was that I didn't wind up pulling the axle assembly completely off - I pulled it most of the way out and let it droop there at the ends of the control arms. I didn't want to have to tear the rear brakes apart (the car has drums) to take the parking brake cables off, too... That would have added another hour, easy.

    And at the end of all this ordeal, one of them offered to give me a few bucks, he had maybe $50 he could pay me on the spot. I told him we'd settle up later when he could afford it. Honestly, the amount of labor charge for that job (at $40/hour - my buddy rate - 4.6 hours for the fuel pump, figure you can add in another .5 for the fuel filter and I don't even care about ten minutes' welding) is high enough that it would be like offering to pay $2.50 for the meal your family just ate in a decent restaraunt. Not much more than a token... or an insult.

    So that's my weekend so far. How's yours?

  2. Jason

    Jason Well-Known

    Apr 20, 2008
    Austiin area
    Sounds like you should have wired an external kill switch to the pump so if they don't pay up you can hit the switch and when they call you to fix it again tell them to pay in advance and hold the car for a few hours, hit the switch then call them back!
  3. gladi8r

    gladi8r Active Member

    Jun 5, 2008
    Troy Tx
    When stuff like that happens to me I just hope there is such thing as karma that is really cool of you to help people out. Even though it was a rough deal you feel good doin it huh.
  4. TxEMTP69

    TxEMTP69 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

    Feb 17, 2009
    that blows giant hairy donkey balls
  5. navyguy

    navyguy TGT Addict

    Oct 22, 2008
    DFW Keller
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.
  6. 1rightguy

    1rightguy Active Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    He would have lost me when you woke him up with the 11:00 phone call.
  7. oldguy

    oldguy Well-Known

    Mar 6, 2008
    If I'm reading correct think I would ask spouse to find another job.
  8. usmcpmi

    usmcpmi Active Member

    Mar 15, 2009
    Central Texas
    Sorry to hear about your lost weekend... I can relate... been there before. Finally got tired of it. Now the only ones I do "favors" for are my parents and close family. Every body else pays cash, or trade....the only time I will consider a charity case is if I feel they deserve it. Helping someone is fine, but having them dump the entire repair on you is B.S. MG
  9. DCortez

    DCortez TGT Addict

    Jan 28, 2009
    Houston, Cy-Fair
    Rule #1 of The Fight Club ... caller ID
  10. oldguy

    oldguy Well-Known

    Mar 6, 2008
    We have a generation of mangers who believe they own you 24 hrs per day,personally I will give all I got while on the job but when I walk out the door it's my life,cell phones, email, end at the door. Its a large contributor to the break down of families.


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