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Old 10-14-2012, 10:51 AM
RetroJoeG RetroJoeG is offline
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Owner of the garage was a jerk - Need Advice please

I apologize for this lengthy story ahead of time, but I need to vent and I need advice - this being my first restoration, being a bit tarnished by an experience I had on Friday.

I wish I had more knowledge to be able to work on the mechanical parts of my car myself, but I'm a bit of a novice at this point. Instead, the owner of the garage that I'm paying to work on the car let's me come in the garage to watch and take pictures. I usually call and ask when he'll be working on the car, and lots of times it has got pushed off because things come up. I can tell he gets annoyed sometimes, but he cuts me deals here and there, so I try to be accommodating and understanding. I even gave him my brand new sandblasting cabinet as a 'tip' when I was done with it. He didn't thank me, but instead said to "leave it by the door' when I dropped it off. He had sold me a pancake air compressor a week earlier to use with my sandblaster (little did I know that wasn't enough pressure) so I called him and asked him why it wasn't working. He told me to bring it by and he's take a look at it. When I got there, he finished working on a car for about five minutes then shouted to everyone in the garage "I'm going to get a haircut. Be back in a little bit." 45 minutes later he comes back and takes two minutes with me and insists it's probably just too wide and long a hose and I'm losing air pressure over that. I find out soon enough that a 1/3 HP 3 gal comp. ain't going to cut it and borrow a bigger one from a friend. He gave me a low-ball estimate about a month ago on the rebuild cost for my engine, which sounded reasonable to me, so I went with it. The machine shop owner was ticked because he said the garage had no business throwing unrealistic numbers like that out. So, at this point I'm feeling like I'm being treated like a jerk a bit and my time is being disrespected, but the mechanic working on my car is a good guy, so I let it go...Then this past Friday happens.

Last week, I asked him to give me a certain day and he told me Friday morning. I took the day off work and showed up in the morning and was told to come back 3 hours later. (I live 20 minutes away) I came back and then the owner says "It's looking more like Monday, now." I was frustrated and said "I took the day off of work. This sucks." He said "Fine, I'll rush the other job out and get your car in." Then walked out to the garage and started working on it. I went around the building to the back bay and told him "Don't worry about it. Take your time. Monday is OK?" (I thought I was being very reasonable at this point) He doesn't thank me or apologize, instead tells me "Be here. 8 am sharp. I have other jobs I gotta do that day and it's starting to look crazy." I start walking back to my car, realize I left something in there, and when I get back to the open bay door, the owner has his back to me speaking to his son and I hear him say "Move this Mustang so we can get Joe's Piece of S__t car in here." His son looks at me mortified, the owner turns around, gets red in the face and says "I was just messing with you" and starts tinkering with the car. I stood there in shock and then replied "You didn't even know I was there." I was ticked. I went into the back room and grabbed all my parts and left.

I wanted to just have my car towed out of there at the moment, but didn't want to make any rash decisions on the spot nor speak when I'm mad - something I've learned over the years. I get a call from this guy an hour later telling me "You took your parts, but you forgot the biggest part - your car. If you don't want us to work on it, take it out of my driveway...You need to man-up and not throw a baby fit...This is the adult world and this is the way we talk in garages...you took what I said out of context, I call lots of cars pieces of s__t...I knew you were there. I'm not stupid. I knew you took it the wrong way when you made that comment and walked awayYou shouldn't have even been there to hear that because I let you go in areas other customers don't go and I've cut you deals here and there...you won't find another garage that will do that for you...I can take or leave this project so if we're not doing this then the car needs to go" I was appalled. I told him "It wasn't a baby fit. I'm putting a lot of money into this car at your encouragement and that means something to me, so to hear you say that...I was ticked and needed to walk away and cool off. I'd rather you just be honest and tell me you didn't know I was there and that you were frustrated. On the other hand, I had taken the day off work, lost money and was still understanding enough to tell you I'm cool with Monday." He denied meaning anything by it again and told me it did relieve pressure and to "Never ever take anything I say inside the garage while I'm running around to heart."

By the end of the call, he still never 'apologized' but I felt like maybe we could get this thing done and agreed to hold Monday's appointment. I'm just a little uncomfortable giving someone with that type of attitude my business. He's got a big ego because he does do good work and gets lots of business, but it bothers me he would disrespect myself with the call telling me to "man-up...not throw a baby fit" and my car with his comment. I still believe I caught him with his pants down and that he really felt that way and was just back-peddling on the phone. On the other hand, the mechanic actually doing THE WORK on my car is a really good guy - very knowledgable, loves my car and actually took my service manual home with him to read...he's also researched parts and parts rebuild places for me on his off hours, so I'd hate to lose him. The owner isn't really doing anything except taking my money and I've now lost respect for him.

So far, they have basically taken the engine out of the car (it's at a local machine shop right now) and Monday they are scheduled to drop out the gas tank and the power brake booster/master cylinder which I will take with me. Then the car will sit for two months until I have the engine back and they will reassemble it. What do I do here? Do I have them do the work on Monday then have it towed elsewhere or stick with this place since they're the ones that took it all apart. What to do? Thank you for any advice you can offer ahead of time...And sorry again for the lengthy novel of a post.

Joe (my first restoration)
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