Observations from a Family Vacations
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Welcome to get another episode of diagnosing the aftermarket a to Z. I am Matt Fanslow I guess I'd like to start off right off the bat by thanking my sponsor. Napa It's no secret. We're facing a technician shortage and Napa Autocare is addressing that the free two-year apprentice program offers a variety of training to produce a technician with three ASC certifications to learn more members can visit member dot Napa autocare.com. So it's starting out just to be honest. Uh, I just got back from a family vacation and I'm not really the vacation guy. Like I don't usually get a whole lot out of it. I do have fond memories of some family vacations as a kid. Usually traveling to see family or, uh, even some shorter ones with family, but I don't know normal vacations for me.
I don't know. They're not all that appealing. I usually find myself and some other state or venue or whatever. And. Looking up stuff to do with, you know, technology or auto repair or physics. I just don't catch myself really gearing up and getting excited about going on a vacation, but this vacation, we drove, from Southeastern Minnesota where I lived.
To uh, garden city. So if you guys caught, I think the second to last episode, uh, about silver linings, I tell a story about taking a job that led, my kids and former wife, uh, to Southwest Kansas garden city, and part of our trip, which, You know, ended up in near Denver, just outside of Denver, by the Rocky mountain.
Uh, national park, we stopped at garden city really, uh, was four. Two of my older kids went with, along with my granddaughter, but the two older kids, they kind of wanted to reminisce, I think a little bit, it's been a few years and they kinda wanted to. Maybe see some things, you know, places, that they have fond memories of and maybe visit some people.
And then just in general, there were, , fond memories of the garden city zoo. Uh, it was quite, quite good. So we all went to that. , next to it is a big or relatively speaking, fairly big water park. And, uh, yeah, the older kids and I kind of took a trip down memory lane and drove around and it is amazing, amazing how much can change in 10 years.
It's just, it's. Mind-boggling so lots of new stores, um, kind of a new strip mall. A lot of the old stuff. So anyways, where this is going is, I did get to do something that was very, very important to me. And that was to visit the grave of a coworker, but really a friend, uh, Richard Boyd, who was one of the big reasons I took the job, uh, with CRA technologies.
uh, you know, a distributor of picoscope and got to kind of, you know, be the automotive department, if you will. And he was the general-purpose department and really the guy I could go to with any, anything, and we'd figure it out or he figured out, or he knew he's just a really, really smart guy. And, unfortunately.
At the age of 30, you kinda had some stomach pains and I'm not trying to scare people or give people a bad case of, um,
Do you have anyone, any kind. Case of, , illness, anxiety, or anything like that. But the, you know, this is just what happened. He had some stomach pains and, you know, not that bad, but, uh, one day he, uh, woke up to get ready for work, looked in the mirror and his eyes were jaundice. So, you know, go to the doctor and they tell you, liver failure, 30 years old.
Kind of a weird issue, but get him on the list for a new liver. And when they kind of do their checkups and testing, before you can receive the liver, they find that he has BI duct cancer and that he really needed to go get his affairs in order 30 years old. And he handles it like a freaking champ. I mean, just
I don't care what anybody says. You take Manning up or whatever you want to call it up, call it, you know, since he was a man will call it Mann up, plenty of women do the same thing. He did the stuff he needed to do. Got it done. And, uh, you know, it wasn't long. He, you know, a strapping young man taking down quickly.
So I got a chance to, uh, see his grave. I attended his funeral online. I was back in Minnesota. For the funeral, but I was there virtually if you will. And that was rough to watch. But to just kind of stand there with the kids and he's got a very nice headstone with a picture of him. remember all those good times, and then just talked to the kids about.
Making use of your time. And it's kind of that one commodity, the most valuable thing we have and none of us knows, you know, how much is in the account at all. We have no idea but is by far your most valuable possession. And to talk about that with 'em, you know, the older kids, we left the little kids,, at the hotel swimming and also just, if you think you're having a bad day, you, do you really know what a bad day is? And some of you do, some of you absolutely do. but a lot of us, I think you, uh, is relative again, right? It's relativity that, is your bad day, really that bad, you know, and, uh, to qualify that. And, uh, I think it can put you in a, a little bit better mental state to better handle what's going on when you kind of start to consider like, well, okay.
It's, it's not that bad. All right. Now, now, since I'm not. Focused on, you know, just how low or severe this bad day is. I can now focus better on solutions and sometimes the solution is to wait for tomorrow. Right. You know, just kinda like,, uh, the movie, Annie, I guess sun will come out. So, yeah we stayed there really a whole day, uh, and then off to Denver.
And initially when I sat down was thinking about what to record here, I was thinking about, you know, self care and taking time for yourself, taking time for your family. And that's, that's important. I don't wanna ignore that. You know, I think we all need to decompress. Find some things. and again, it's like that back to that commodity your, your time allocating that time that you have, that you don't know how much you have, uh, in this case.
I just can't um, I can't ignore a few observations. I, I just, I can't one is. The costs, the costs of going, uh, we took two vehicles because there were seven of us, really? Uh, so four adults, uh, my wife, my middle daughter, who's in the army, but here visiting my, uh, son,, who just graduated high school, my stepdaughter, my youngest son.
Who's seven. And my granddaughter. So we took two vehicles. There was no reasonable way to take one vehicle and have, you know, we could all fit in one vehicle, but then there was nowhere to put our luggage. And I I'll let you guess who packs a lot of stuff for about a week. it wasn't just one. and one hint is wasn't me.
Anyways, two vehicles, that's two gas tanks to fill. so gas is expensive. And then we got to our place in Gramley and Colorado, and we rented a house, which sounds really stuffy, like just saying it sounds really. Really stuffy like, oh, Matt, you must be doing really well for yourself. You rented a house.
It was cheaper than the hotels. I'm not kidding you. It was cheaper than staying in a hotel. And we had a house to ourselves bedrooms for pretty much everybody beds for everybody. you know, I think there are four bathrooms in this house, so there's almost a bathroom for everybody. Uh, a Whirlpool.
Outside which turned out to be like a highlight. So it sounds really stuffy to say, oh, we rented a house in the mountains in Colorado. No, it was cheaper than the hotels. yeah, we were budget conscious with this move. the, the house was great. The people who, uh, are the company, I guess that in this case run the house and stuff were.
Tremendous to work with, just nothing but good things to say. However, we had some experiences at restaurants and I just can't help, but equate it to us. And as a profession, one of these restaurants we went to was kind of badged as being finer dining.
so, you know, everybody orders what the order and I broke down and ordered a steak $40 for, uh, filet minion. you know, I like steak definitely fits in my Cal, um, diet constraints. And I ordered it medium rare because I'm pretty sure if I let any. One of my friends know that I ordered a steak, anything, but, uh, I would be getting some, uh, phone calls and some criticisms rightfully so.
Right. It shows up it's, it's a hockey book and maybe they knew I was from Minnesota. I thought I was from Canada and we're just trying to do me a solid, uh, they definitely sent me a solid. Initially, I thought maybe they just got a really, really good thick crust on it, overly thick. And I suppose that's true because the crust went almost in, through the entire stake.
So I cut it right down the middle and this thing was way over done. Uh, it might, might not even qualify for, um, well done. So there I sit as a consumer, like. don't really wanna rock the boat
and, you know, it's $40 a lot for a steak. I mean, my gut is, yeah. I mean, I've been to other places where there're more and then it's really got to the point where the dollar amount had Jack squat to do with it. This was not an issue with the cut of meat. It. An issue of preparation. It was not prepared for my request.
My order, I ordered this could have meat cooked a certain way, or at least to a certain doneness. And it wasn't. So, you know, it is very uncomfortable for me, but I, and I apologize. I'm the one apologizing. But I I'm, I can't accept this. please take it back. And the waitress that we had or the server, she was quite polite, but nobody else was, it became very apparent that they were almost disgusted with me.
I'm not kidding. You. There was a bartender who I believe was either the manager, the restaurant manager store manager, or she owned it. And before I sent the steak back, she was nice. She was polite, bantering back and forth with, you know, everybody after I sent the steak back, that changed I just felt like I was the one who was somehow in the wrong.
But, you know, they said they would take care of it right away and, uh, right away, it was like the better part of an hour. So we had spent about three hours at this restaurant, for basically what equated to, uh, I ordered that steak. My daughter ordered the same steak, but she likes hers done more.
So she ate hers. My son had a burger. He did not finish, was not good. And anyway, we wait, the state comes back and okay. You know, it's cooked right now, but man, they did nothing in preparation. Like there's no seasoning, no flavor. And it's like, wow. You know, and I didn't send it back. Um, I didn't eat at all.
But I just left kinda, I mean, not kind of actually quite upset. And I'm thinking to myself as a technician and relating to
the cook that this state came back like I messed up. And that, that feeling of, you know, failure messing up, making a mistake, honest or not like, you know, honest mistakes happen. But, this didn't seem like a mistake thing. This seemed like an experience and, or training, or honestly just a complete lack of interest in doing the job.
And we as professionals. Take pride. Like when we're working for someone, , we've accepted the terms of employment and we take pride in what we're doing. Like, I am not going to turn out poor work, hopefully the shop and the shop management is looking for quality. I know quantity is really shoved down a lot of your throats, turning and burning production, production, production, production. Hopefully, the systems are in place to allow not only production, but also quality, probably a subject for a different podcast, but, when does the ego come in to play in a positive manner?
You know, There's ego that's negative. , I think Chris cloudier did a really good episode with car. Talking about ego.
I believe it was remarkable results. Radio episode 7 17 7 1 7. Or Chris talks about negative ego, but there's also ego that can be net positive and that it drives you to do better pride, taking pride in your work ownership, ownership of your mistakes. Hopefully you take ownership of also your successes, but, you know, where's where did the ego kick in?
Where was, um, not only the ego of the chef or cook themselves, but management,. Not one person came over and apologized for the mistake, you know, just to come over and acknowledge like, Hey, you know what? I'm glad you sent this back. This is definitely not medium-rare. I'm I'm embarrassed. We're gonna take, we're gonna get you one cooked right here.
Thank you so much for your patience while you're waiting. Is there something I could do something, you know, I'm not saying I need free stuff. A lot of times, for me, it's just the offer. The acknowledgement. the offer means everything means more than the delivery of something. I definitely want my mistake the way I ordered it, my meal, the way I ordered it.
But, just kind of that offer that, uh, I feel is heartfelt. Not like they feel like they're required to do so because of some social construct. And then as a manager, as management witnessing that, of course, I've already kind of bogged down on for not coming over and apologizing profusely, showing some embarrassment, showing some pride.
Like I am trying to run an honest business that delivers what it says it's going to deliver. We didn't do that. And I feel awful on what can I do to make this right. Other than, you know, getting you what you ordered. And it's the same thing at the shops I've been to shops undercover if you will. You know, cuz sometimes I don't feel like fixing my own fricking vehicles and they don't know who I am.
Not that I'm anybody, but just, you know, that I'm not, you know, they don't know that I'm a tech. Okay. That's, that's where I'm going with that. They don't know that I'm a technician that if they mess up sometimes it's like, nobody really gives a rip. Like they are doing me a favor by just being in existence.
And like, I, I can't understand the, this. Flipping of that equation. Like I am here for you. That makes perfect sense, but I am just so happy you chose to walk through my door to, to call my phone. That seems VA way more logical to me, but what, where, you know, does management take pride in what the shop is producing, providing, and putting everything in place as best it can.
let's be fair too. Not everything can happen overnight. So if the shop's not perfect yet, and we can argue, it never will be, but our changes in place to get it where it needs to go. And when it misses doesn't hit the target. Are we displaying some pride? Are we taking pride in showing our clients that we really do care that there is an ego involved that a professionalism there's a professionalism involved in that this is what we're seeing.
We are providing. We're providing you a accurately. Diagnosed vehicle. We are providing you a properly repaired vehicle that we're willing to stand behind for whatever the determined amount of time is. And if we missed the mark, we got your back. And because not because of some piece of paper that says we're going to, but because we care.
, I need your repeat business. I don't just want it. I need it. And I want you to be able to go around to people and say, I had a great experience. Even if things went sideways, they can say things went sideways, but then hopefully they're also, uh, quick to point out that we did everything we needed to do, and maybe that's being very optimistic, but it happens.
you know, a lot of times it's very difficult to separate tiers. If you will, uh, in the hierarchy of auto repair shops, the different tiers of the, you know, lowly shop versus the, you know, top dog shop in repair up and repair until things go sideway. And that's where you would expect the, you know, quote unquote lowly shop to not stand behind their work.
Oh, well you can pay us to do it again or go somewhere else. You don't like it here, go somewhere else. And that's where the top dog shop shines. Things did not go the way we had hoped something happened. We messed up part failure. Doesn't matter. We're gonna take care of you. We got you on this and man just witnessing it.
And I kind of wonder as technicians, as managers, as owners, when going on a family vacation, going, even if it isn't a vacation, you going to a training event, you end up going to a restaurant and you get, as perfect of a. Dining experiences you can, but taking notes, like what made this so great.
Can I apply this to my shop? What made this meal? So great as a technician? What made this experience so great. Can I take any of this back with me, and apply to my job, to my task. I just think there is, I, I, I don't see how there can't be. I,
I, I just, I guess I'm campaigning here very, very,
um, almost pleading to always have our eyes open and that we can take. So many experiences from different venues and apply them to our world, to our careers, our professions, our trade,
really the same thing as with, um, the hotel experiences where for the same amount of money. a hotel, we had a wonderful experience. The, the room was clean, smelled, clean the staff, extremely friendly, helpful. Not that they have to do so much, I mean, as a hotel,
but in one, you know, on the way out, we stayed at that one. And it's, you just felt welcome. And on the way back and that's the worst one really on the way back is cuz you're, you're kinda whooped you. Can't wait to get home. You're paying a lot for this hotel room. You're, you're paying more for the hotel room than you did for a night in this big, beautiful house.
it's crazy. It's just crazy to me. And you're treated as if ever seen the movie clerks? I mean that the bot sums it up where you're just mildly tolerated and that's how it felt. It just blows my mind. It blows my mind. Those are some of my big, big takeaways from this vacation is I found out I can't turn it off I can just, there's no shutdown and maybe there should be, maybe that's a, that's a subject where I get another podcast is being able to turn it off. But I, I can't, uh, I brought a scan tool with it, connects to my phone.
It was fairly capable. We did have a check engine light come on. I get to turn it off because I hope it doesn't come back on for what it got turned on for. You probably can figure out what the code was. And , I guess some people at gas stations find it very awkward to have somebody offering them free health reports.
but what can I say? I was bored and, the scan tool made it pretty easy. To go around and send health reports via email. Uh, and it was kind of fun, yeah, to wrap this thing up, I mean, seriously, uh, of course, value time, uh, that could be a running message for the rest of our lives. And I still don't know if it'll ever sink in until the Twilight years.
I always felt I was fairly cognizant of time and it's still evaporates on me. It's an annoying thing. Love, hate relationship with time. and then just eyes open ears open. I think you can take so many lessons from your experiences. Be it you're a manager, be it you're a shop owner. Be it that you're a technician.
And take that back with you, to you're the business to the bays and whether your experience is great or less than stellar or horrible to yes. have those experiences enjoy the good ones. , try not to let the bad ones get to you too much, but. Can you take some of those lessons? Can you really step back, assess the situation and go, okay, what if I'm in this role?
What if it's not me as the consumer? What if I'm the server? What if I'm the chef? What if I'm the manager? What if I'm the owner and you know how they should have, because you're still the consumer, right? It's hard to put yourself in other people's shoes, but. You know what you think they should do as the consumer, but now can you take that back and turn that,, you know, powerful lens on yourself and go in a somewhat similar situation, I would do what I would expect them to do.
And can you be honest? I know a lot of shop owners. If they have a very bad experience and not just shop owners, managers, even technicians, they have a very, very bad experience, dining, any kind of cons, you know, consumer, or, or when they're receiving some sort of a service that if it's not up to their expectations, they're very strongly opinionated about what should be done about it.
But now you take it and you turn the tables a little bit and put the shoe on the other foot and now it's happening in their business. yeah, I guess parameters have changed, but not that much. Somehow those solutions don't actually work. And if you're one of those people, then I on really come on.
I, I can't urge you enough to just step back and think about that. A. And try to relive in your head, some of those experiences where you had strong feelings of what should have been done, how that should have been handled you as a consumer should have been, treated a certain way after this.
Now, can you put yourself in the shoes of a consumer, a client of yours, a new customer that came to your business to your shop and something happened? your fault, text fault, system's fault, part fault. And can you put yourself in their shoes and figure out if that was you, what would you want?
How would you wanna be treated? And then will you do it?
So with that, Um, wrap up this latest episode again. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you so much for, the feedback you've been sending. I really, really appreciate it. Thank you for the ideas. Thank you, Napa. Uh, again for sponsoring, been very great to work with thanks to Carm and the aftermarket radio network.
Be sure to check out many of his other selections on there. he's got a growing, team of, uh, content providers. , so give them a listen. And, uh, if you find any of these podcasts helpful, or meaningful or where you feel they could help somebody else, please, please don't hesitate to share.
I hope they do. I, I really do. And. Like always, if you have any ideas, please feel free to reach out via social media, or email me at Madon podcast, gmail.com. And I look forward to