August 8, 2011

That really grinds my gears!

Side note:  For those of you that don’t know me, I have a part time job at an auto parts store.  This extra money was originally meant to pay for the two weddings I was involved in this year, and then some “fun” money.  I also bought a new car in February, so this extra money was also covering my car payment.  So, unless I want to sell my car and take the bus, (and I don’t wish that on anyone) I do kind of need this job...

When I started this job, I knew some of the basics about cars.  For instance, I knew how to check fluids, tire pressure, and blown fuses.  I knew the basic parts that a car has, like a battery, starter, alternator, and spark plugs.  I knew that leaving your lights on overnight would kill your battery, and you need to get an oil change every 3,000 miles, and that you can put goopy stuff in your gas tank to clean it out and get better gas mileage.

Now first, let me say that after almost 1 year, there are still people who come into the store that know less than I did when I started this job.  And that’s okay.  Not everyone knows, or needs to know, the intricate inner workings of their vehicle.  That’s why we have mechanics, like my husband.  But, if YOU come into MY store looking for parts and advice, don’t you dare ask to speak to a MAN because you ASSume he knows more about your car than either of the two of us.  The same goes for calling me up on the phone.  On the flip side, don’t ASSume that I know EVERYTHING about cars because I work at an auto parts store.  I can’t read your mind, and I can’t identify one of the 50+ sensors every car has (unless it’s an oxygen sensor, but I’m still not going to know if it’s the one that’s before or after the catalytic converter).

Our sign out front does not state that we have certified mechanics on staff, so it’s touch and go whether you can walk in the door and get some hardcore advice.  A couple of the people I work with have done a lot of work on cars, so their experience makes them the go-to person when a customer has a question I can’t answer.  However, I do know a lot more than I did when I first started working their. 

It’s always amusing when I’m working a night shift with another girl (our store happens to have the highest number of female employees in our district) and someone comes in with an uber-technical question, like “What type of transmission fluid does my car take?” or “I need a new battery installed, can someone here do that for me?”  They kind of look around to see if some guy will magically pop out from the back room at the first sign of a problem (the problem obviously being that I couldn’t possibly know how to install a battery, let alone know where it’s even located).  There’s this slightly perceptible look of fear on their face when I offer to take care of it for them.

I also love when a guy comes in needing wiper blades and asks me to install them... in the pouring rain.  And then he and I stand out their getting drenched while his girlfriend sits in the front seat.  Yeah sweetie, your boyfriend can’t even change his own wiper blades.  Good luck getting the lid off the pickle jar!

The misconception that women know nothing about cars has to stop.  I can install your battery.  I can even carry the old one inside after I’m done.  Dude... it only weighs like 50 pounds.  I won’t cry if I get grease on my soft delicate hands from your starter as I test it for you.  We do have this new-fangled thing called soap.  I know that if you have a 2WD Chevy Silverado older than 1999, it’s actually a C1500 and it probably has a 350 engine.  What I don’t know is why it’s making that weird rattling sound when you accelerate. 

Bottom line... I wouldn’t STILL be working in an auto parts store if I didn’t know what I’m doing.  Next time you come through those doors, think twice before you look at me in a condescending way, because that really grinds my gears!

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