This is what customers see as they walk by the bays into the office.
Image: His Stigness

So the owners came by Saturday to finally go over my ideas to improve the shop and get more cars in. But instead, it was one owner bitching and complaining that I have the shop and office set up “wrong” and it’s too cluttered. I was so fucking pissed. And I still am pissed.

So it wasn’t busy at all when they were here, or at all on Saturday. This is typical. I’m lucky to do ten cars on a Saturday. I usually spend most of the morning sitting on my ass. Or people all come in the morning and then I sit around the rest of the day. But because of this one of the owners was noticeably pissed off that there weren’t any cars, and his tone seemed to suggest that he thought it was my fault, which is absolute horseshit.

Let’s recap here: I was the one that knowingly came into the shop with a pending BAR citation. I was the one that took a PAY CUT to try and dig this shop out of a deep hole. I was the one that went from having weekends off to working six days a week. And did I mention I took a pay cut? Not only did I take a pay cut from just being a smog and repair tech, but now I’m making less money doing that, AND managing a shop.

Now, I will grant you I wasn’t forced to take the job, but this is still a hell of a lot better than dealing with an owner that pees all over the toilet, cusses me out, and does illegal shit. And my commute also sucked.

But let’s go over some of the highlights of the meeting.

I had my new Sonic S9 toolbox get delivered the other day. I spent $2,000 on it so I could have tools for repairs while minimizing crap in the shop. I didn’t need it at all. I could have easily brought my toolbox from home which is much larger. But I also brought two small NewAge cabinets to store all my diagnostics tools I will need for smog repairs.

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He’s lucky I only brought this. I really need a toolbox the size of the shop for all of my tools. And re the ladders. Two of them are attached to the building. I need to move the blue one and need to get rid of the aluminum one.
Image: His Stigness

The owner did not seem happy. His response was, “We’re trying to declutter the shop and you’re just bringing more stuff into it.”

Uhh... ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!?! They specifically brought me in to make this a test AND repair shop, and they also want to do brake and lamp inspections. I’m gonna need tools for that you fucking idiot.

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But this is fine?
Image: His Stigness

But in response to that, I said we needed to get rid of the desk that was in the shop. I told him I don’t use and it’s just in my way.

“Well, you’re going to need that when you start doing repairs. You’ll need somewhere to work from. And you know who always used it.”

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Holy fuck. First off, technicians don’t work from desks, they work from their toolbox and workbenches. And second, I’m not stoner dumb fuck. I use the desk in THE OFFICE so I can greet customers. Jesus H christ. He says we have too much stuff so I suggest we get rid of something but that thing is fine.

And if you want to talk about clutter how about you get that fucking Blazer out? I mean the two biggest complaints about this shop have been his stupid Pepsi machine, which he finally took out Saturday, and that Blazer. He is under some delusion about both actually being a talking piece. Well, he’s wrong. When the consensus is both look dumpy and make the shop look like shit, you’re wrong.

But to suggest that my TOOLS clutter up the shop while his Blazer sits there leaking fluids all over the shop floor, we have a problem.

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Such clutter
Image: His Stigness

But then we come to the office. He started saying everything was too cluttered, and I had it all set up wrong under the desk. He said if he came in right now to try and help me he would be lost. Well, news flash: YOU’RE NOT HERE EVERYDAY! I have the office and desk set up to make ME efficient. AND I AM! Customers actually remark how fast and efficient I am, and I told him that. “Well, I have it set up to work for me, so I am fast and efficient. And customers comment on it all the time, so obviously, I’m doing something right.” And it gets worse. Most of the shit he was bitching about IS OUT OF SIGHT OF THE CUSTOMER! He’s basically bitching because it’s not how HE would set it up.

And then we come to the waiting room. He thinks coffee and sodas are a bad idea, and everyone will steal everything and make a mess. “The soda machine is perfect for this. It’s all in one place and you can control it.” Dude, show me on this doll where the bad man touched you. It’s okay, you’re safe now. No one is going to steal all your sodas and coffee. He also said the candy bowl is a “distraction.” He went on, “Before you were here and we had one out another shop owner said it was a distraction.” I have no fucking clue what he is talking about. What I’M SEEING is everyone loves it. Maybe that shop owner is an idiot. And maybe he meant it was a distraction for him at his shop as it’s something else to clean up and maintain. But I don’t give two fucks about his shop. My customers all love it.

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OH MY GOD THE CLUTTER
Image: His Stigness (His Stigness)

Then we get to the shop hours. I tell them we need to open later. So the reasonable owner and I were thinking 9-6. But the other owner was too worked up and never gave either of us a fucking answer. I decided yesterday to make an executive decision and go 9-6 Monday through Friday, and 10-3 on Saturdays.

He other stupid complaints. He said my chains across the bays seemed like we were closed, and I should get rid of them. The other owner thought they were great. But I explained why I had them. Without them, customers like to just wander in and think it’s okay to stand over me during a smog test. “That’s what the cones were for.” Okay dumbass, no. Just no. The cones didn’t work, that’s why I got chains. And I refrained from telling him that stupid fucking Blazer is the reason people think we’re closed or too busy.

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He also said I had “too many” open signs. Uhh... I had two small ones on the door. Are you shitting me right now?

I’m starting to see the drawbacks to this owner situation. The other owner who I deal with all the time agrees with all of my ideas. Every time I suggest something he thinks it’s great. He wants the stupid Blazer out. He wanted the soda machine out. His wife said it looked stupid. He sees no issue with my tools. And he thinks the desk in the shop is stupid. He says if I say it needs to go, it needs to go. He also saw no issue with the office. He remarked, just as I have, that the customer doesn’t see any of what he is complaining about.

As you can probably tell I’m back to being pissed off. I don’t know what the fuck the owner’s deal is, but I agree with my mom that I’m not being paid enough to deal with this bullshit. She also remarked that partnerships like this don’t last. My Grandpa ended up buying out his partner for his auto shop years ago because it was causing issues. When two completely different people need to make big financial decisions, it doesn’t work.

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So I guess it’s time to go back to looking for a job. l think I will hold out for a state or other government job. I’m not miserable, and I can ignore his shit. But I don’t see this business growing. I think the previous and current owners fucked the shop up way too much and the shop will be dead in a few years. It’s not sustainable at 10-15 cars a day. I would consider offering to buy them out if I had any assets. But even if I did, I would probably net the same salary after loan payments and expenses. Right now a “good” month is only bringing in $15,000 before rent and utilities and my salary. But the last few months have shown an average of around $12,000.

So I probably shouldn’t even consider buying it. I would be buying it with the hopes of turning it around, and I don’t know. With the new law in California, we don’t smog cars for eight years now. So that’s a huge chunk of business everyone just lost.