“Is The Manager Always Right?”
Depending on who you talk to, the phrase “The customer is always right,” is a constant debate. Employees most likely bemoan the saying while managers are usually more than okay with making folks bend over backward for crazy customers. In the end, its an argument as old as Karens and time itself. But what about flipping the script? From the POV of an employee, is the manager always right?
I mean at the end of the day, they’re the people signing off on your pay, but then again what do you do if your manager is completely inept? And even more, pressing what if disobeying a bad manager’s orders gets you canned? It’s a series of “what ifs” but in the case of Jared the motorcycle tech, it was a reality that jeopardized his job.
People make mistakes but when we’re talking about motorcycles those mistakes can get pretty pricey. Our pal “Jared” gets put into a precarious situation with his shop manager one day that put him at a crossroads. Will he continue working, his nose to the grindstone, or speak up and ask the right questions?
Either way, the situation ends with a side of karmic workplace revenge that he won’t forget.
Just Another Day In The Office
So first things first, let’s meet Jared. He’s a seasoned industry veteran with over 20 years of experience working on bikes, so he definitely knows a thing or two. This story occurred over a decade ago, once upon a time in a big city bike shop. All the guys here are passionate about their work, with about eight techs in rotation between two-day shifts. The shifts were run by a shop manager and the shop owner who was rarely in the building.
So one day, Jared came into work to discover a beautiful, brand-new Harley Davidson on his lift. It’s a Fat Boy, or as Jared jokingly calls an “Obese Robert.” Yes, biker lingo is always a little funny.
Jared, being a biker himself was always happy to work on a nice machine.
“Nice,” he nodded as he looked over the ride.
At the end of his workbench, he sees a brand-spanking-new Jims Performance engine still in the box. The hog already has a brand new stock engine but hey, the customer is always right.
Jared got to work disassembling the bike so he could start swapping the engines. Jared thought nothing of the job. For him, it was just another job at the office and business was booming.
Blondes and Burnettes
So here’s another piece of industry info for you. Out of the factory, Fat Boys came in either one or two finishes; either silver and chrome or black and chrome. In Jared’s shop, he and the guys made a habit of calling the silver bikes “blondes” and the black bikes “brunettes.”
“Don’t ask me,” he said, “I didn’t start the trend of using the slang!”
But in the end, you have various models of bikes but the powertrain finishes either came in silver or black, the engine and transmission were in chrome. Sure it sounds like a small detail, but don’t worry it will come in handy later.
So anyway, in comes Jared’s shop manager, “Tim.” Tim is a bit of a tightwad. Not really in the stickler, attention to detail sense, but a tightwad in the way that he’s on a constant power trip. But at the end of the day, he’s just looking to meet his deadlines which of course has its pros and cons.
Tim walked up to Jared’s lift and sees the bike he was working on.
“She’s a beaut, right?” he said.
“Sure is,” Jared replied.
“Better take good care of her, you hear?”
Jared furrowed his brow.
“What do you mean? Why would I not do a good job?” Jared asked, a little patronized.
Tim gives him a slap on the back.
“Because it’s the boss’s bike! You don’t want to wreck Greg’s new ride would you?” Tim jeered as he left the bay.
Jared’s eyes widened. “Greg” is the shop owner. Not only a bike expert but the guy cutting Jared’s paycheck.
“Okay, no pressure,” Jared thought to himself as he continued working on the bike. “I mean, what could go wrong?”
A Little Hiccup
Well, as it turns out, a few things can go wrong after all. After tearing down the bike, Jared turned his attention to the new engine. He cracked open the box and instantly discovered his first question.
Remember the bit about blonde and brunette bikes? Well, the boss’s bike is blonde (silver) and the engine is a brunette (black). It’s not rocket science, it was probably a shipping mishap after all, but Jared had a mismatching set on his hands. Jared shook his head. Greg won’t be happy about this. Who wants a mismatched Harley?
He got up to give Tim the bad news. He was the shop manager, after all, Jared he was sure he would understand.
“Hey, Tim!” Jared shouted across the shop. “No dice, on Greg’s ride. We got a blonde bike and brunette engine.”
“Okay, and?” Tim shot back.
“…and it’s not going to match?” Jared replied awkwardly. “It’s the big man’s Harley. You told me to do a good job, right?”
Tim rolled his eyes a bit.
“Jared, what’s your job here, buddy?” he asked.
“I’m a technician?” Jared replied.
“Okay, good,” Tim said, “So that means you work on bikes. Well, here’s your bike, it’s your task for the day to complete it…So do it.”
Once again, Tim just cares about getting the job done…even if it’s wrong.
“Tim, this thing ain’t gonna match,” Jared pleaded, but Tim wasn’t having it.
“Quit asking questions and do what I tell you,” he interjected. “Greg probably ain’t gonna notice anyway!”
“Okay, boss!” Jared said throwing up his hands. It was no use reasoning with him.
Orders Are Orders
Jared reluctantly got back to work on his project.
“At this point, I know I won’t get fired, and I don’t care to indulge the service manager’s lousy behavior. I start working on the engine swap on my bench, thinking I’ll probably get stopped before the point of no return when someone realizes what is actually going on,” he wrote.
Even though he was getting paid to do this work, Jared was not happy to do a knowingly incorrect job on a bike. Being an aficionado himself, it must feel bad wasting all this time.
“I should probably point out that swapping an engine out of a 96 Dyna is not a quick job,” Jared added, “I am dragging my feet a bit to give anyone else in the shop a chance to clue in the service manager.”
Unfortunately, no one came to the poor bike’s rescue. By now it was close to the end of the workday and Jared was nearing completion on the engine swap. He took one look at the hog and he was not very pleased with how things were turning out.
“I was mostly done putting the black engine into the bike, the bike with the silver transmission case and silver primary right beside it. This brand new 20K+ bike with a 5k+ engine looks really junky,” he admitted.
He took a long, exasperated sigh. Jared turns around to grab a tool when he locks eyes with none other than the owner of the bike himself, Greg the shop owner.
Greg, being the proud new owner of a Harley was smiling ear to ear at the sight of his ride…but his grin slowly dissolved when the reality kicked in.
Here Comes The Boss
“Greg saw me working on his new bike, and walked over to see it. I watch the smile melt off his face as he got about eight feet away,” Jared wrote.
This whole time Jared was wearing a tired scowl that screams, “I DIDN’T DO THIS.”
It was apparent that Greg read his countenance loud and clear.
“So uh, Jared buddy,” said Greg getting a little ticked off, “What the heck are we doing here to my bike? Can’t you see that the engine is black and rest of the bike is silver? I think that’s probably a problem don’t you think?”
“Oh yes, I definitely think so,” Jared said with a smirk.
“Then why are we doing this?” Greg questioned.
“Well, when I mentioned it to Tim he told me to stop asking questions and do as I am told,” Jared replied. “So here I am, doing as I am told.”
“Ah yes, I see that,” said Greg. His face was now pursed as he rubbed his chin with a scowl.
The shop owner walked away from Jared without another word. Jared wasn’t there for what happened next but there was definite chewing out in store for ole Tim.
Tim the shop manager returned to Jared looking a bit like a dog with its tail between its legs.
He raised his hand meekly.
“H-hey Jared, so uh we can just forget about this job. Go ahead and take that engine off the bike and back in the box, okay?”
Jared turned around with a smug grin on his face.
“Oh this one?” he said. “This black engine that I’ve been putting into this silver bike?”
“Yes…exactly,” Tim replied.
“Okay, you got it!” Jared said sarcastically.
By now Jared was 90% done with the job and now he had to undo a good eight hours of labor. It sure did suck but it was nice giving Tim the “I told you so” look.
The Truth Comes Out
That next day Jared spent the majority of his shift undoing Tim’s mistake. The whole time Tim avoided him like a scared child, most likely embarrassed for his lousy mistake. It sure was a humiliating error but the real damage had yet to have been done.
Even though Jared completed the wrong job he had to be paid for both engine swaps and since it wasn’t for a customer there was no money to have been made on the project. On top of that Tim’s mistake had put the shop even more behind schedule.
That’s because that black engine Jared had put in was for a different customer’s bike! Greg’s matching silver motor hadn’t even come in that day. Tightwad Tim had just assumed it was for Greg’s Harley like an idiot even though the parts didn’t match! In the end, wound up costing his employer even more money.
As you can imagine this did not make Greg the least bit happy. As you can imagine, Tim was subsequently fired for not only messing up his boss’s order but costing him even more money for a service at his own shop.
Jared couldn’t help but chuckle at the news. He remembered the morning of that fateful day when Tim walked in and teased him about messing up Greg’s bike. Oh, how the tables have turned. Ironically, Tim should’ve given himself the same advice!
So to answer the question from before, is the manager always right? Well, in all honesty absolutely not, but in Jared’s case, the best way to get rid of a stupid manager is to let them get caught for doing stupid things.