So, we've been plagued with vehicle trouble lately. Most recently, the truck-truckity-truck needed a bunch of stuff done to it all at once. Part of what needed doing was the fan belt. So, we took it to a neighborhood oil-change place that does repair work on the side, where all was made well for a fairly reasonable price, and I was pleased. The next day, the truck overheated, and it was discovered that whoever had reattached the radiator shroud had used a bolt that was too long, and so had punched a hole in the radiator. ... Much less pleased. So the next day, Al takes the truck back to the place to have this issue "addressed", and I stand by via phone, in case any shiestieness is attempted. ...
First, the guy tells her that it'll need a new radiator, which was to be expected. Then he tells her that he'll only charge her for the radiator, and do the labor for free, out of the kindness of his heart. That's when I got involved, and explained to him that yes, it did need a new radiator, but instead of just doing the labor for free, he'd also be providing the radiator for free, because it was his shop that punched a hole in the old radiator. He said that he'd go check, and call me back.
Later on, the truck is returned to Al, without any attempt at a charge, so I assume that all is well.
When I got home that night, I checked it over, just for the hell of it, and discovered that there was no new radiator in place. The hole had been patched, which resolved the issue for the nonce, but patches can fail, especially patches made to the outside of a radiator. I had visions of being told that since they had patched it, their job was done and these visions were not pleasing in the least. Also, the offending bolt had been removed, and replaced with a plastic zip tie. the cherry on the sundae was that the clips that hold some of the internal fairing in place were missing, which allowed it to shift around a bit, instead of being held in place. (It's an F-150, and fairing might not be the right word. It's not the shroud, but rather the piece of plastic covering the top of the radiator, directing air in from the grille in front of the radiator, so you figure out what to call it, if not fairing) So I spent several hours cooling off and rehearsing how the next morning was going to go. The next morning, I took the truck down to the shop for the battle. ( and yes, I was rather looking forward to it. I used to be a mechanic, so yeah, having someone try to screw me over on a vehicle repair job kinda got my back up. I decide that what I want is a guarantee on the patch, for the life of the radiator, and for it to be reassembled properly. (extra parts are fine when I work on my own car, but if I pay someone to do it for me, it really needs to be done in a workman-like fashion)
When I got there, I went into the waiting room (with a book, naturally), and settled in. The manager was on the phone with some kind of tech support, discussing the error message on the screen of his computer. The error message said that "vehicles.mdb" was not available, and he should restart the program. Over the course of the conversation, he restarts the program a few times, and puts the phone down to yell at one of his underlings for unplugging the computer the night before. (Anyone other geeks out there connecting the dots to see where this is going?)
I remember the message, because I happened to recognize the extension as an older version of an MS Access database and him yelling at one of the workers for unplugging could well have been because the geek on the other end of the phone had just explained to him that his database had been corrupted by a hard shutdown. Once he's off the phone, I offer to fix his computer for him. Since he's got no invoices until it's working, he is understandably eager for this to be done, so I have him open up Access, and then open up the mdb file itself. Of course, it throws an error, crying that it's a corrupt file, which makes him sad, because he thinks that it's not working. Then it does what Office programs do when encountering corrupt files, and asks him if he wants to repair it. His face lit up like a kid on Christmas. Really, you should have seen it, it was fantastic. (especially given the discussion we were about to have, which he as yet had no inkling of)
So, his database was repaired, his invoicing computer was operational, and all was well with the world. Then he asks me how he can help me, still glowing from the relief of not having to call in whoever he would have had to call in to fix it. As I explained, very politely, exactly why I was there, and what had transpired to bring me there that morning, I watched his face very carefully. He says that he was not the guy that Al talked to, and I believed him. He said that of course there was a lifetime guarantee on the patch, and yes, all the bolts and clips would be redone at once. So I took a seat, and watched as he took one of his workers aside, and bitched him out up one side and down the other. That made me smile a bit, that did. While the truck was being worked on, I asked him to give it an oil change, too, since it was getting close to time for one. So he goes and yells at the other guy some more, and a few minutes later, I'm on my way, with a free oil change. What was cool about that, though, was how he explained why he didn't charge me for it. Basically, his reasoning was a differently (substantially simplified) phrased version of the whole enlightened self-interest thing. That was kind of spiffy, I thought. So, it was a win-win, except for the poor bastard that had done the shoddy work. And I was reminded that the best way to destroy a foe is to make them a friend.
--- Edited because I apparently can't spell "bolt" the first time 'round.