Greasing the wheels of conversation

greasemonkey.jpegThe difference between dull and outstanding service is the one thing that will determine my repeat business.

For reasons beyond my control, I was recently forced to continue a relationship with a supplier when I really didn’t want to. It was the supplier’s call: use their discretion and almost certainly ensure a renewed relationship in 12 months time, or force me to the table to ensure a guaranteed revenue stream for the next year, whether I liked it or not. The supplier chose the latter. There’ll be some interesting conversations taking place in 2008.

Today, I was standing in a garage while a young grease monkey examined a noisy wheel on my car. He spotted the problem – a barely visible bolt that had become embedded in the tyre. Oh great, I thought, another new bloody tyre.

“Don’t need a new tyre, mate. Easy fix. Fifteen quid.”

The offending tyre was skilfully spun on a fancy machine, brushed with an oily glue, ignited, and doused in water. And while this was going on, the young lad responded to my curious admiration of his handiwork by recounting the most extraordinary anecdote.

“Never,” he said, “pump your tyre above 100 psi. It can explode, and if you’re driving it at the time then the car will end up on its roof about twenty feet away. You see this glue? It keeps the tyre sealed against the wheel. Absolutely air tight – as safe as the Bank of England. Unless this was a lorry tyre, of course. I wouldn’t do them.

“Knew this bloke once. Nice old geezer – had his own gaff and fixed lorries. One night, he didn’t come home. Someone went to his garage to look for him. Couldn’t find him anywhere. Except there was this big lorry wheel in the middle of the floor, and shreds of rubber all over the place. But where was he? Called the police. Nothing. Until one of the coppers looked up.

“There he was – spread all over the ceiling. The tyre, you see. Didn’t take it off properly. Pop. Dead.

“No, never touch lorry tyres, me. And don’t go pumping yours over 100 psi.”

The difference between a new tyre and a puncture repair was about £50 – an easy rip-off which would have left me none the wiser. I got what I needed for a good price, with a good story thrown in too.

I’ll be back.


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Self-important bit

I’m Victor Houghton, a, er... something or other in one of the UK’s largest advertising agencies. My job title has a comma in it, which is embarrassing. I’m the chief finder-things-outer with a splash of trends who is lucky to work with all the major functions of the agency, even though I am most closely associated with strategic planning. Everything in this blog has most probably been stolen from other, infinitely more talented people, although the opinions are most definitely my own and not those of the agency.



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