Swearing at service people...

Three part question: have you “cussed out” service people before? Do you think it helped? Did it mat least ake you feel better?

Background: Over the weekend my 20 year old pickup started overheating due to a cracked radiator. Feeling tired(I’d just finished a shift), I swung into a local garage and asked for an estimate to replace it and walked two blocks home. A few minutes later, they called with a figure - $1152. I said pass and went to get it, then had my brother drive me over to Autozone to get a new radiator for $120, and spent about a half hour putting it in (two clips, two screws, two bolts is all it took).

My brother, the entire time, was insisting I return to the shop and express my outrage at their estimate, saying he would have cussed them out (which he would have, he’s waited on with dread all over town). My counter-argument was that it wouldn’t have helped anything and just make some poor slob’s working day worse. “People like you are part of the problem” he pronounced.

We spent some of the cookout on Monday batting the situation around. Curious what others think.

Did you ask him what “problem” you are part of?

Returned and cussed them out because their estimate was very high? I wish I had that kind of free time (not that that’s what I would do with it). The worst I’ve probably done is told someone “I’m taking my business elsewhere.” and done so.

So your brother is “waited on with dread all over town” ? And he thinks that gets him better service and prices? Has anyone ever cursed him out and thrown him out of their business?

No, I don’t swear at service people. I try to be as polite as possible, and just leave if I don’t get the service I want.

Afterward, though, I go to an Internet message board and complain. Doesn’t do much good, but it makes me feel better.

I don’t swear at service people. I leave bad reviews.

Companies seem to care about bad reviews, whereas a manager has hired service people specifically to act as abuse sponges, so they don’t care if the front-line people get yelled at.

I’ve found that the most effective method to deal with this issue is choosing to spend your money elsewhere. If enough people do the same, the questionable shop either closes, or finds new management.

I don’t know what they were offering to do for $1152, but if you only needed a radiator (and I would have changed the hoses while I had it apart - just sayin’), it sounds as if “someone” was trying to take advantage of you. Maybe?

If the shop’s staff were rude, or abusive, I have no problem returning their behavior in kind. However, at that point, I’ve already determined that I will not be spending any money at that shop.

See this attitude here is why Luthien was able to send you crawling back to your master.

Did you ask what the estimate included? It almost certainly included hoses, since it’s pretty common for hoses to get damaged when you replace a radiator; if you managed to reuse the hoses, you probably save $80 in parts, and another $80 in labor right there. They probably also don’t charge what it actually takes to do a job, but what a book says a job takes. In other words, if the master book says replacing a radiator is a 2 hour job, then it gets $160 in labor. If the mechanic can do it in 1/2 hr., but he will get paid less, he isn’t motivated to work quickly.

Also, you probably got quoted the price for a make a model specific new radiator, while the one you got from the auto parts store was a generic one, and could have even been a rebuild. The one you were quoted was probably 2-4 times as much as the one you bought. The radiator replace might include a flush and fill as well, because they don’t want to see you back in two weeks when your new radiator is clogged with debris from the broken one.

Just explaining all that because a lot of those things are negotiable. If you sign off on accepting the consequences, they may skip the flush and fill, and even reuse the hoses (probably not though, because it’s way faster to cut them off).

But as you found out, the cheapest thing is to do it yourself. Radiators are easy. I’ve replaced four or five.

As far as cursing out the shop: waste of time. The people you would have cussed out don’t set the prices; they will offer to give you the address of the person who does, and that is all they can do.

Most people who cuss out employees don’t address the right people. The people you see face to face in any establishment rarely have any power. There are usually plenty of literal and figurative walls between you and the people who can effect any change.

And I don’t know about other people, but I usually tune out anyone who is letting loose with a stream of oral diarrhea. There’s no content to process. If I’m going to change anything (and I’m on a position to do so), I need specific details. Fuck me isn’t a specific detail.

I think the only people I’ve ever wanted to cuss out are the telesales folks. I usually settle for hanging up (if I’ve been stupid enough to answer in the first place) and blocking their number.

Otherwise, what’s the point? I don’t like the business, then I leave. If I have a problem that needs resolving for some reason, i ask for the manager.

Never would have returned to cuss them out.

Have to admit that there has been an occasion or 2 - likely in the remote past - when I dropped an expletive out of frustration over poor or non-service. Guaranteed to be a mistake, because the other person instantly makes the focus of the conversation your language, instead of his or his employer’s ineptness/incompetence/whatever.

What’s to curse out? They weren’t rude, obnoxious, or did a shitty job. They didn’t bait-&-switch either. Their estimate was high. When I went to pick up my car, I’d tell them (in a polite voice) the work is being done elsewhere because their price was ridiculously high & leave it at that.

If you tell them their prices are high while foaming at the mouth they’re probably going to ignore you; however, if you say it in a calm, reasoned way they might listen & do something about it.

This. The moment you raise your voice to someone working in service, you can almost watch their ears close. I have exactly no time to listen to invective, and even less use for it, unless you have an incredible command of swear words and can drop something I’ve never heard before. Otherwise, you’ll be sent on your way and will probably receive worse service the next time, if you deign to return. All it does is make you look like a tool to everyone around.

I’d say the only time it is justified is if the service person themself is doing something completely wrong. For example, if a waitress drops off a plate of spicy food and I ask for a drink refill, I’m going to be angry if I see her outside smoking a cigarette while I’m waiting for my drink. I don’t think I would resort to profanity, but if I was in an awful mood, it might slip out.

But a repair shop giving me a high estimate wouldn’t cause me to have an outbreak, unless, maybe it was the only shop in a small town and I was stranded. Still, even in that situation, I’d hope I’d remain calm enough and just accept the fact that I’m going to get screwed and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

Your brother has an interesting world view. A world where everyone goes around swearing at service people they don’t like is not the kind of world any reasonable person would want to live in, and furthermore it’s completely ineffective. If anything, that sort of attitude makes relations worse and life miserable for everyone involved.

IOW, I agree with you. The only reasonable things to do are either (a) nothing at all, as you did, or (b) calmly and politely ask them to itemize their estimate so that you understand what they’re proposing to do and why and what they’re charging for it. If it still seems out of line, then refuse the work, and if you REALLY feel strongly about it find out who the manager or owner is and write him a polite and reasoned letter or email. However, it’s entirely possible that their estimate was in line with what other places would charge for a complete job with original replacement parts, the only problem being that it wasn’t justified for a 20-year-old vehicle. That’s the kind of thing that could be negotiated. But you don’t find this out by cursing at them. What you get by cursing at them might justifiably be an invitation to never darken their door again.

Cursed? No, but I have laughed in a similar situation. I get my oil changed at a local chain for $20 - cheaper than I can buy the oil and filter at the auto parts store. That shop was closed one day when I wanted an oil change, so I stopped in another chain 1/2 mile down the street. I walked in, asked the price of a basic oil change and was told “$50.00”. I actually laughed out loud and said “You’re kidding, right?”. The guy said “Nope”. I replied “Oh, then no thanks. I’ll get it done tomorrow at your competitor for less than half that.” He was thoroughly unmoved.

Must be my years in process improvement, but I never blame the person dealing with the customer at the end of the process because it’s rarely their fault.

Much better to get the owner or manager and say “You have a borked process that results in output X that is pissing off your customers”

Your brother eats and drinks quite a bit of spit, gets overcharged and under serviced, and people make fun of him behind his back.

People don’t wait on you with dread, people hate you*, and do everything they can to make you miserable while still keeping their job.

*by you, I mean your brother, and others like him.

I need to answer the phone, and sometime I even run to get it before it goes to voicemail. Then I get the familiar “bloop-ca-chunk” as I am connected to a telemarketer. I’ve had a few choice words with those people, as I have no ethical issue with tearing someone a new one who feels my time is worth nothing.

I sometimes have people tell me that my prices are too high, sometimes politely, sometimes rudely and angrily. I just wait for them to leave and serve my next customer that has no problem with my prices. I am not going to do work at a discount just to mollify someone when I have other customers that do not have that problem.

If this shop was nice and busy, then they will not miss the business of those who feel they are too expensive.

Had you gone back, screamed and shouted at them, then stormed out, know what would have happened? They’d have all started laughing the minute the door closed behind you. They’d have mimicked your swearing, and given special attention to the word you mispronounced in your anger.

Over the holiday weekend I went to my business to throw stuff in the dumpster (I rearranged and cleaned out our shed at home). While I was there, a client stopped in wanting something done. I calculated out a price, then doubled it. He was surprised by my estimate. I explained that it was Sunday and I would rather go home, but I had calculated what I’d be willing to stay for. He paid, I did the work, and we both left happy.

That’s life.

I don’t tend to swear at service people unless they’re being rude and swearing at me.

I will complain on your website, and if I don’t think that is enough, I will give you a bad Yelp review.

Probably the worst recent incident, one where I actually did swear;

About a year ago I went into a Holiday station to get something. Walked up to the register only to have that clerk suddenly turn and walk away. Walked around to the other one. That clerk did the same thing. Five people behind the counter including the manager and I can’t get help? I threw up my arms and said “what the hell?”. The manager snapped at me that they were busy. I said I walked up to two registers and both people walked away from me. There’s FIVE of you! Manager got very rude about how extremely busy they were and they would get to me.

Nope, walked out, complained to corporate, have never gone back. You obviously do not need my business.

For that? nah, i would have giggled and said yea no thanks guys.

Now there are people i get fed up with and let loose on

Like The lawyers office who continually call my phone making nasty threats of litigation incarceration etc
Mistakes do happen but i have told these people probably 30 times, wrong number no idea who this person is, you are not even calling the right state, and i definitely don’t sound like a female.

And yet they keep calling, so they get a very unjoyful phone call.