(I’m putting this in GQ since I’d actually like to know how this stuff works. But it’s borderline BBQ, and a bit IMHO.)
Last Thursday, while parked on the street near a friend’s house, a jerkwad hit-n-run doofus knocked the driver’s side mirror clean off my car. I found the remains strewn along the street when it was time to leave. Grrrrr.
Friday morning I call my typically-reliable local mechanic and explain exactly what happened. Can he order a new mirror and do the repairs? Sure, he says. He should get the part by Monday morning at the latest, and do the repairs Monday. Great!
Monday morning I call to see if the part is there. Yes, but no. They ordered an interior rear-view mirror instead of the side mirror. That’s what they thought I meant. (I wondered out loud how they could have gotten that impression after I described how another car had knocked it off. They had no good answer to that.)
So, Monday morning (yesterday) they say they’ll order the right part, but this time they have no idea how long it will take to arrive. What? They can’t call the parts place and ask “when will you be shipping it out?” How did they know about the first mirror’s delivery to within a half-day, but for the actual mirror I need, they can’t even guess the week?
It’s the week before Christmas, and here I am without a car that’s safe to drive, and they can’t even begin to guess when they might get a simple part that I could order over the internet for next-day delivery? What the heck? Is that normal? (I offered to buy the part myself and bring it in the next day. They were offended by the suggestion, since apparently they also make money on the part itself, and likened my suggestion to bringing a steak to a restaurant. Fair enough, I said. How about I bring you the part and pay you the markup? No dice: “That’s not how they do things.”
I’m willing to do pretty much anything to expedite this process, but they give me a bunch of semi-evasive answers and in the end tell me flat out: “There’s nothing you, or we, can do to either make this go faster, or (worse, really) to even find out for you how long it’s likely to take. We’ll call you when the part gets in.”
Is this normal mechanic behavior? Would their part-supplier really have no idea how long it would take to ship the part 5 miles down the road? Given that side-mirrors for Honda Civics (not exactly an exotic auto) seem to be lying thick on the ground in Internet-land, why is this all so hard?
I readily admit that I don’t know how their business models work. Maybe this is perfectly normal, and I should just wait patiently with my hands folded. But still. Grrrr.