Don't shoot your customers!

Why is auto repair a disproportionately physical business in more ways than one?


An article in a recent PTEN newsletter got me thinking:

Everett Douglas, 38, was arguing at JC Automotive on Bert Road with the store's owner. When the argument turned physical, police at the scene said the owner shot Douglas in the abdomen.

No charges have been filed, although the owner listed on a Chamber of Commerce website, 29-year-old Juan Carlos Cintron, was initially detained on a failure to appear for a court appearance charge. He was released the next day, jail records show.

Reminiscient of the Zimmerman case, here a shop owner shot and killed someone after allegedly being physically attacked.

Now, no details have yet come out about this case, but I can speak from personal experience that I have seen things almost come to blows in the shop.

Now, not from me... I'm a pacifist. Rather, I have seen customers become enraged. The main reason I don't own a firearm is that I'm afraid of the time when I would have to justifiably use it and do something that no one can ever take back.

Once, when a customer had a tune-up and after he paid he had some sort of timing issue with his vehicle. He ran into my office like a raving lunatic and threatened to "eviscerate" me, as he said. My security equipment which would make Tony Montana of Scarface blush, and the fact that he had two masters degrees from two different Ivy League universities (so he had a brain), prevented him from getting physical.

Much more recently, I had someone follow me into the shop and get in my face. This was after I had politely asked him to pay a $20 bill when I saw him trying to get in his car and drive away without addressing his balance with me.

After he continued being incredibly rude I told him to "forget about it, take your car out of here." Granted, if it weren't 90 degrees and 6:40 PM on a Friday evening, I probably would have used nicer words and turned the other cheek. However, this non-customer (to be a customer you have to pay your bill) followed me in and started threatening me.

Whether it was my threat to call the police or the fact that a fight in a repair shop with all the dangerous equipment around can get real bad real fast sent the creep into retreat.

I have been yelled at, called names, stolen from and exposed to everything short of literal physical abuse as a result of being in the automotive business. If I was knowingly lying and stealing from people, I would not be surprised, as I know a shop up the street where that's the salesman's M.O. and every couple of years the police have to stop an altercation.

However, I run an honest business and yet people still get very "passionate" about their vehicles, probably more so than their doctor and lawyer bills.

So, I am not sure exactly what happened that caused Cintron to kill Douglas. I just thank God I have not been in a situation that bad.

How about you, readers? What's the worst situation you have found yourself in and how was it resolved?