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Re: Expectations. Was re: Denver free in

At 07:15 PM 10/7/97 -0400, you wrote:
>> Again, IMHO, this is simply the nature of the repair business, automotive
>> or otherwise.
>I disagree ... it's the flat-rate labor charge that causes it.  I know of a
>mechanic who'd happily spend hours troubleshooting a problem but doesn't do
>it because he only gets paid for X number of hours regardless.  Since it is
>not hard for them to double their flat-rate hours (and good ones can triple
>them on occasion!), they take it in the shorts financially for spending any
>more time than absolutely necessary to get a car out of their bay under its
>own power.  Factor in the fact that the Service Manager and Service Writers
>are paid on commission and can steer the choice jobs to their favorites and
>you can further see why no one wants to buck the system... 
>     _             _             
>    / l       l o l  \       l o   Jeffrey Goggin
>   /__l l l / l l l  l l l / l l   AudiDudi@delphi.com
>  /   l l_l \_l l l__/ l_l \_l l   http://people.delphi.com/AudiDudi

Here is were the good independent shops are at some advantage. They
lack the sort of management pressure that you decry and the political
climate it creates. Yet they still feel the heavy presence of the clock.
I suppose they have been confronted by enough clients shocked
by their bills to dread the experience. I know, too, that my mechanic
often eats big chunks of time when repairs take longer than they
typically would due to unforeseen complications. That is taking
it the shorts, as you say. Also unpleasant, I'm told. Other factors
include the overwhelming diversity of complex automobiles,
documentation and the brisk pace of technological change.

For whatever reasons, a key point is that technicians tend to develop
a mindset in which they attack problems unsystematically and
start by throwing a best guess at the problem rather than actually
demonstrating a component is defective before replacing it. Works
more than half the time. Mechanics I know and hold in high esteem
find it virtually impossible to avoid this kind mental trap.

DeWitt Harrison    de@aztek-eng.com
Boulder, CO
88 5kcstq