Lately I have been delivering auto parts for my husband, Ian, who owns the local Auto Plus store. I don’t know much about auto parts. As long as my car runs, I don’t give maintenance a second thought. So filling in as a delivery driver has been a challenge.
Orders start coming in even before the store opens for business at 8:00 a.m., but I arrived at 8:40 a.m. on my first day. Ian sent me out with parts for three service stations “that were needed an hour ago” before I had even said good morning to the other employees. I left the store piled high with rotors, a couple of bags filled with various parts, and a cell phone, ducking the mufflers hanging like stalactites from the basement ceiling.
Most of Ian’s customers already know me and know that I’m a lawyer in my day job, so they kidded me about finally getting a real job and working for my pay.
I had finished all three deliveries and was on my way back to the store when Ian called me to say that I had to go back to my first stop, Mahone Auto. I had given them the brake assemblies that were supposed to go to Knickle Brothers. He told me to make sure I always cross-check the parts with the slip each time I made a delivery, as there was no time for mistakes.
When I got back to Mahone Auto, Doug told me he had tried to catch me when he saw the extra part, but I was gone. I thanked him and took the brake assemblies to Knickle Brothers where Mark told me he too had tried to catch me once he realized some parts were missing from his order, but I was too far up the road. Pulling out of his beautifully landscaped driveway I looked carefully in my rear view mirror before I left.
Things were going much smoother later in the day when Ian sent me with a bag of parts and a slip to Lamb’s, reminding me to check the slip with the parts. Peter was working under the hood of a Ford Tempo and his customer stood off to the side watching. I checked the items on the slip with the parts I had in the bag. One was missing. I searched under the front seat, the back seat, and in the back of the truck. Nothing resembling a spare auto part. Peter and his customer were both watching me when I finally took what I had into the garage and asked Peter to check his order for me. I explained that I had found the wheel cylinder, gasket and wax liquid, but I couldn’t find the “thrust alignment.”
He told me I wouldn’t find one in the bag,–Ian was billing him for an alignment he did for him yesterday. They were still chuckling as I got back into the truck and punched numbers into the cell phone.
Needless to say, I have gained an appreciation for the complexity of auto repairs and the personalities involved in the business.