The Most Expensive Pencil Ever.



caravan_dash
Check out my “Batman” pencil says Johnny as Dad’s peripheral vision sounds the alarm to his brain. Noooo!! One can only imagine the movie like slow-motion scene as Dad drops the groceries and attempts to sling shot himself over the passenger seat of the family’s hard working mini van in a vain attempt to thwart the evil villain known as the dashboard heater vent from consuming the Batman Pencil. But he’s too late, it’s gone forever, never to be seen again, or so he thinks.

Two days later the mini van surprisingly loses all interior heat.  Did I also mention it happened to be the coldest day of the year?  Dad has no choice but to take the van in to the dealer telling the service advisor that it has no heat, conveniently forgetting  to confess that his son may have deposited a Batman pencil in a place it really shouldn’t be.  The dealer does their best to diagnose the problem, quoting him a dash removal and replacement of a suspected faulty Heater Mode Control Motor estimated at $1400.  He declines the work, pays the $139 diagnostic fee and heads over to his dad’s longtime mechanic, only to get the same answer and pay another diagnostic fee.

This is where we enter the picture, albeit cautiously as I always have a certain amount of hesitation when taking over projects like these.

We approached the repair with the intent of confirming the dealer’s initial diagnosis and to try to provide the customer with options only to realize that we too would have to remove the dash to complete any kind of repair.   Begrudgingly he gives us the approval and only at this point do I find out that there “might be a pencil down there”.

Two hours into the dash removal we locate the pencil lodged in the heater mode control system and begin our Batman pencil rescue mission.  In short order it’s back together ready for a test drive fully anticipating heaps of praise from the customer for being the hero that repaired the problem at a fraction of the cost.

Ironically, Lady Luck turns its blind eye taking us for a roller coaster ride.   We are about to park the now perfectly functioning van when the heater suddenly stops working and the interior cabin temperature plummets back to frigid levels leaving us all shaking our heads in frustration.  Back tracking to where we just visited a few hours ago we realize that pencil managed to loosen off a gear mechanism that we couldn’t see within the heater and that gear was now sitting at the bottom of the heater box.   Our rescue mission has now turned into a fishing expedition leaving us no choice but to complete the repair as originally quoted now putting us several hours behind schedule as punishment for trying to be the nice guy.

At some point every child will bring into existence a great story that will be retold for many years.  However, it’s the Dad that really amuses me this time, as I will never figure out why some customers think that holding back important details may somehow benefit them in the end.

Till Next Time
Lou