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Comments The Locksmith Journals
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  1. #41
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    DL,

    You definitely get to meet some interesting people....

    Texican....
    And I meet them at the strangest times of day and night. I waiting for one of them to smile at me and show their fangs.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  2. #42
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    There are more natural hazards to the profession than dogs and drunks. One we are all familiar with is other drivers. I will never understand why people who seem to have gotten their drivers license out of a box of Cracker Jacks always just have to go out for a spin in lousy weather. On top of that with the University of Florida being here we have to deal with bad driving habits from all fifty states and several foreign counties. Being on the road as much as I am, I see it all. And so far I've managed to dodge them, but I can't say the same is true for them. One night last December I was parked at an apartment complex getting a young lady inside. I finished the job and went to the next. I always get into and out of the car on the drivers side, of course, and keep the necessary tools where they can be reached on that side. The next job was opening a car at Walmart and I parked sort of nose to nose with the other car. I got my tools, opened the car and as I walked back to my car I saw that while I had been opening the apartment someone had backed into the passengers side front quarter panel of my car. Then in their hurry to leave they raked down the passengers side of my car. The only things they missed were the front passengers door and mirror. When they hit the quarter panel the pushed up against the front bumper and popped the corner of that loose. Then the dented the rear door, quarter panel and nicked the rear bumper. Over $2700 worth of damage. I'm glad I have decent insurance.

    I actually will call 911 when I see a problem. Just after dark one night I'm in the left hand lane of a three lane road. All the way over in the right hand lane, next to the curb is a small car stalled in the road. And he didn't have his lights on. This is a very busy road and a major accident waiting to happen. I called it in to 911, gave them the location and direction the car had been traveling in when it stopped and went on down the road to the customer who was waiting on me. I found out the next day that one of the other guys was opening an apartment a block or so away from the stalled car. At first he was convinced he heard a couple of gun shots. It wasn't. About ten minutes after I called it in, a car came speeding down the road and slammed into the stalled car so hard he flipped. I never did find out if or how badly the driver was hurt. But I must admit I'm royally pissed at GPD. They had time to get there. The car was near one of our local Walmart's so I know there had to be an officer nearby. But they delayed getting an officer to the scene and someone got hurt and possibly even died because of them.

    I've called for other reasons as well. Twice now I've been returning home from a late night job only to find a large tree across the road leading to my house. Fortunately I can go around the block and get home that way, but it is surprising when it happens. It also happened one time when I was going to get a man into his house. This was one of those "turn off the paved road" jobs. Thank The Lord I was able to go around the block and get to the customer that way. It was amusing to both of us that while I was opening the house several people went down that road going wherever only to turn around and go the other way. And that was one of those weird jobs. His sister had left the house and accidently locked the keys inside. He had "smart key" locks everywhere and all of the windows were locked. At this point most people would say drill the lock. BUT the garage door was open just a little bit. I squeezed under it, pushed the button on the wall and opened it for him. (He is quite a bit larger than I am.) Then I opened the door that goes from the garage into the house. More work for me but less expense for the customer, which they always appreciate.

    Many has been the times when someone will come screaming around me doing about 60 in a 45mph zone. Usually not a problem but there was once when not only did he zoom past me, he nearly took off my front bumper when he cut over in front of me. I hit the brakes and said a few choice words about Bozo, and wouldn't you know it? There was another flash of a fast moving vehicle to my left and this guy cuts me off as well. I'm about to get really mad. That's when I noticed the second car was green and white with flashing red and blue lights on top. I felt a little better after that.

    I've been doing this for almost four years now. In all that time I've only had three vehicles I've had to walk away from. And one of those was my boss's fault. It was an eighteen wheeler. Do you know that the door on one of those rigs is four inches thick? For cars I use the air jacks that are about 6"X6". For the big rigs you have to use their big brother. That one is about 8"X10". Even then you still have to use both of the smaller air jacks to get the space needed to get the rod inside and unlock the door. On my first big rig the boss had forgotten to give me that bigger air jack. I worked on that thing for an hour, but there was nothing I could do. But it was worth the trip. While I'm trying to get the door open the customer is showing me pictures his girlfriend is sexing him to encourage him to get home as soon as possible. And yes, I spelled that correctly. Nice looking girl.

    I once had to walk away from a BMW. The guy had locked the keys in the trunk and left the lights on overnight. The battery is dead so unlock button didn't work, pulling the door handle on the inside got me nowhere. And there was no manual lock button or lever to open the door. Sorry friend you've got to call BMW on this one.

    The third one was a super nice Vette. The problem was that it was a T top. The windows on that car are somewhat recessed. While it was possible to get the air jack in the window, if I inflated it enough to get my rod in the window would shatter. This guy is a doctor and we are at the airport. He has to move the Vette so he could park his plane in the hanger. This is not a car I want to damage. I called another locksmith who I knew could open the car and left.

    As I said we have bad driving habits from everywhere. But then there are the people who pay absolutely no attention to their own vehicles. More than once, after a job while on my way home I have followed another driver to their home to inform them.

    "Excuse me, but I wouldn't take this thing back out on the road tonight. I've been following you for the past mile or so and you have no tail lights. Your brake lights and turn signals work fine, but you have absolutely no tail lights on this thing."

    They are always grateful for the information, but always scepticle of my motives. I can't blame them for that. I would be suspitious of someone who has followed me home for the past mile. I always tell them;

    "Turn on the lights and step back here to look for yourself."

    And some people just don't give a darn. I was pulling into the local Home Depot to pick up a replacement for a tool I had lost. Someone backed out of a parking space in front of me. I stopped and waited for them to move on, hoping to get the space that was so close to the front door. This person backed up, turned the wheel and pulled forward. Then they backed up again and pulled forward. Kind of a back and fill manuver. Finally they thought they had enough room, turned the wheel one last time and pulled forward. Their front bumper rubbed against a pickup truck in a parking space, with the driver still behind the wheel. They bumped him and just kept on going. The guy got out of the truck and was waving at the driver to no avail. In all honesty I think the bumper was hurt more than the bumpee. The pickup had steel bumpers and the car had rubber ones, so you know the paint on the car was scuffed up and possibly the rubber dented a bit. The truck didn't have a mark on it. For me the bad news was that as I was waiting for things to clear, someone else got the parking spot.

    Roads and GPS can also be a problem. Not so much the roads, but more the GPS. Many is the time I have been following GPS and I come around a corner expecting to follow the road right to the location I need to get to, only to find a fence, trees and bushes, a guard rail or simply no road at all. This has happened so many times that when I call the customer to let them know I'm on my way I tell them

    "We all know that GPS doesn't always tell the truth. But I will be there as quickly as I can."

    Of all the obsticles I have faced, one really takes the cake. I went to a nice upscale neighborhood to get a lady into her car. As I turn into the neighborhood, someone is moving a house. I mean there was a crane with a large section of the house in the air and trying to set it down onto a trailer so it can be taken someplace else. There is absolutely no way to get to the customer. There is only one entrance to this neighborhood and this project is going on about fifty feet inside the entrance. I had to call her, let her know what was going on and then I parked, got my tools and walked half a mile to her place to open the car. The kick in the head was that the keys weren't in the car. She had miss placed them somewhere inside the house.

    "Ma'am I'm sorry about that, but I did open the car. You still have to pay me."

    She understood but was very unhappy with herself. I don't know if she ever did find those keys.
    Last edited by day late; 03-07-2019 at 11:16 PM.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    SE Okieland
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    6,236
    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    DL,

    You definitely get to meet some interesting people....

    Texican....
    Quote Originally Posted by day late View Post
    And I meet them at the strangest times of day and night. I waiting for one of them to smile at me and show their fangs.
    Or an irate boyfriend/husband demanding to know why you are messing with their girl's door....

    Texican....

  4. #44
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    Or an irate boyfriend/husband demanding to know why you are messing with their girl's door....

    Texican....
    Well now that gets into another story for another time.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  5. #45
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    Okay, for the benefit of Texian here's a short one. One night I was called to get a young lady into her apartment. Truly a sad story. It seems the young lady had lost her mother two days ago. She had been out drowning her sorrows and when she got home the key wouldn't work in her front door lock. I started to work on picking the lock when all of a sudden the lock opened from the inside, A lady opened the door and asked me what I was doing.

    "Ma'am this lady says she can't get the key to work in the lock. I'm the locksmith and I'm trying to get her inside."

    The woman looks at the young lady and tells me;

    "She doesn't live here."

    "I'm sorry Ma'am but she said this is her apartment. Please excuse me."

    Turns out that the lady had been drowning her sorrows a bit too much. She wanted to get into an apartment on the second floor but her apartment was on the third floor. I assisted her up the stairs, she put the key in the lock, the door opened and she went inside. I didn't get paid for that one. But she did have other things on her mind.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    South East South Dakota
    Posts
    305
    Day Late,

    About the stalled car with it's lights out. I'd go a little easy on the cops. Hard to say that one was available in the time slot needed to prevent the accident. It's not true that ALL cops are sitting in their cars eating donuts their whole shift. They do get calls that can tie them up.

    I'm enjoying your stories. Truth is stranger than fiction, that's for sure.


    Cat

  7. #47
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    Mar 2013
    Location
    SE Okieland
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    6,236
    Turns out that the lady had been drowning her sorrows a bit too much. She wanted to get into an apartment on the second floor but her apartment was on the third floor. I assisted her up the stairs, she put the key in the lock, the door opened and she went inside. I didn't get paid for that one. But she did have other things on her mind.

    Well DL, that can mean so many things and most would get you in trouble....

    Texican....

  8. #48
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    Turns out that the lady had been drowning her sorrows a bit too much. She wanted to get into an apartment on the second floor but her apartment was on the third floor. I assisted her up the stairs, she put the key in the lock, the door opened and she went inside. I didn't get paid for that one. But she did have other things on her mind.

    Well DL, that can mean so many things and most would get you in trouble....

    Texican....
    That's why I always mention a 30+ year marriage that I'm not willing to put at risk. Debit, credit or cash please.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  9. #49
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    I'm going to vary my way of telling these tales for this one segment. I'll start with a story that I don't know if it is true or not, but it sounds like it could be. Due to the nature of our profession, many locksmiths have a CCW. As you have already learned we get called to some pretty spooky places. Thank The Lord, I've never had to even reach for mine. But I have had to stare down a couple of guys that were looking real hard at my car and imagining what kinds of things I have inside that they might be able to use for themselves.

    So the story goes that a locksmith is at a job and in order to accomplish it he needs to reach upwards. The problem is that he is wearing a short shirt and knows that by reaching up his weapon will be in plain sight. His customer is a little old lady and he doesn't want to frighten her so he tells her;

    "Ma'am I have a concealed carry permit and when I reach up it is going to expose my weapon."

    She answered,

    "Son, I'm a 65 year old widow. You can expose more than that if you want too."

    Guns, guns, guns. Everyone is talking about them these days. I'm going to relate a few stories where they are involved, but since my answer to the customer is always the same, and their response to me is almost always the same I'll reserve my comments until the end.

    I'm called to open a truck for three young men and wedged between the drivers seat and the center console is a rifle. The customer says,

    "Don't worry about that rifle. It isn't loaded."

    "I'm not worried."

    Another time I have to open a car for a man and he tells me,

    "Don't worry about that pistol on the front seat. I'm a cop."

    "I'm not worried."

    Just two weeks ago I'm called to the local police academy late one evening. I am informed by the two people there,

    "We were practicing today so don't worry about the guns inside the car."

    "I'm not worried."

    About mid-morning I'm called to a business location. The lady is hopping mad and tells me,

    "Don't worry about that shotgun in the front. I was supposed to be turkey hunting this morning, until this happened."

    "I'm not worried."

    I was opening a car for a young couple and the guy tells me,

    "Don't worry about that gun in the door pocket. It's just a bb gun."

    I've never seen a clip fed bb gun before, but I tell him,

    "I'm not worried."

    Usually when I say that the customer looks at me and askes,

    "Really? Why not?"

    "There are three reasons. First of all, I'm a veteran of the infantry. I've seen and done things you can't imagine in your worst nightmare. Secondly, I'm an old man who hasn't the strength, stamina or desire to go toe to toe with you younger people, which is why I have a concealed carry permit. And that leads to reason number three. My weapon is closer to me than yours is to you and mine is loaded."

    It's amazing to me how often that answer gets a knowing grin, and quite often a 'thank you for your service'. And when it comes to firearms, my wife wishes there wasn't a single one in the house. Well, if wishes were horses we'd all go for a ride. She has never learned there is no such thing as a dangerous weapon, there are only dangerous men. Which also reminds me, I have been pulled over and asked,

    "Sir, do you have a weapon in the car?"

    I always want to tell the officer. I AM a weapon. But I don't. Dad always told me not to pi** off someone wearing a badge and a gun. If I did, I was going to lose. And Dad was right. By following his advice I have gotten out of more than one ticket. It's hard for even me to believe, but at 62 I have gotten only one speeding ticket in my life. Mainly because of Dad's advice.

    On a different subject, I always enjoy it when I have to do the unusual. Especially when it saves the customer money. (Which they enjoy as well.) Just this afternoon I was called to get a family into a home. And as happens from time to time, unpickable locks on the front door and back. The customer assures me he has looked at all of the windows and they are locked. So I'm thinking I'm going to have to drill the lock. But it is my job. I have to check. Sure enough, he missed one and that was the one that wasn't locked. He had a very curious six year old who was underfoot the entire time, but when I opened the window he became very useful. I picked him up, put him inside and he unlocked the door from the inside.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    the boonies of Alaska
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    1,622
    These are great stories! Thank you so much!
    It's later than you think!
    (Fr. Seraphim Rose)

  11. #51
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    One issue so far not addressed is the homes I have to go to. Believe me, I see it all. It has gotten to the point where I refuse to enter a home or apartment unless invited. And sometimes I don't want to do it even then. But let us start with some of the nicer places I've been. On one occasion a door knob on the outside door leading into the garage has failed. I mean locks and door knobs are mechanical devices. ALL mechanical devices eventually fail. That's a fact of life. If that were not true then we wouldn't need mechanics for our cars, technicians for the air conditioner and so on. The lady has very specific desires about the door knob she wants. It has to be just like the one that has failed so it will match the rest of the house. I regret to say that about every two years the manufacturers change designs and drop the more unpopular ones. This door knob was dropped a year or two before, but I run to Home Depot and snap pictures of what is available and send them to her. She chose one, I bought it and went to her place to install it. I mean we can't have one of every door knob ever made in the shop. There wouldn't be enough room. So I get there and she looks at it and decides since it is for the garage door, she can live with it. After installing it, as often happens I hear;

    "As long as you're here can you take a look at something else for me?"

    Well, I'm there and as I've mentioned, the more I do the more it costs. That makes the boss happy. Even if it means someone else has to take the next job that comes up. This was a really nice place. Large living room with French doors everywhere. Plenty of space and maybe three people living there. The paint is recent and the décor is nice. Not my style, but nice. With this kind of customer I want to give any breaks I can. If they don't need our services again, maybe their neighbors will and guess who is going to be recommended? This job was simple. The grandkids had been around during the summer and now all of the door handles were loose. These weren't door knobs but the lever kind of handle. The problem with those is that people tend to just slap them and not grab them to open the door. The answer is simple. Pull out the screwdriver and tighten them up and everyone is happy. We haven't heard from those folks again, but they know a company that is willing to go the extra mile to make them happy. Should they need a locksmith again, or their neighbors do, I know who they are going to call. That means I stay employed. I like that.

    There was one night there was a major power outage in Gainesville. I'm talking about an area that had to cover about six square miles. Within thirty minutes I had three calls for people locked out of their homes In a very nice area of town, they were all within a block of each other and all three had the same excuse.

    "We always go in through the garage door. We don't have a key for the front door."

    Well they do have that key, but it is inside on a hook somewhere, not on their keyring. The first job I got to the lock was begging me to open it. I didn't spend thirty seconds on that lock. That was good since I had two more calls waiting. I got to the second job and I swear this lock looked like it had been installed about the day after God was born. Corrosion was everywhere. I know automatically that this one is going to be a bear to pick. So I look around and one of the windows on the front porch is unlocked. I open the window and a furry friend inside lets me know he is unhappy. I looked at the customer and told him,

    "You know our furry friend and I don't. Why don't you go inside?"

    He agreed. The third job the customer had actually done a good job on securing his home. Unpickable locks on front and back doors. All the windows are locked and all of the doors open inwards, meaning I can't remove the hinge pins and take the door off the frame. No choice but to drill the lock, except wait for the power company to restore power and enter the home as usual. The customer wanted in right now, so I drilled the lock and replaced it. A much more expensive way to go, but the customer is always right. I learned that all was not right in paradise when I opened the back door and suggested that the gentleman walk though and open the front door for his wife who was waiting in the car. He responded;

    "She can wait."

    Okay, not my business and I don't advise people on how to handle their marriage. I have enough problems with my own.

    Now we get to the homes that things are not quite what they seem to be. And these are the reason I don't enter unless invited. Look, it doesn't matter to me if someone is having prayer meetings or running a counterfeiting operation inside. That is not my business. I'm just there to open the door. While nothing truly bad has ever shown up when I open the door, there have been times when I'm certain local law enforcement would like to have gotten a call from me, IF I had just a little more information. I mean having a bong on the coffee table is one thing. Having a set of scales indicates something else. There was a certain smell in the air, but nothing in plain sight. Not a lot you can do about that, especially in a college town.

    Now we step down one lower level. I have been to places where the lady of the house has cats. No problem. I like cats. I'd have one now, but my wife can't stand them. But in the cases I am referring to the lady of the house hasn't changed the litter box in a month, but it is due in a couple of days. I'm honestly surprised that the smell alone wasn't peeling the paint off of the walls. I can't wait to get out of those places. And then we hit the bottom rung of the ladder.

    We've all heard of hoarders. I went to a job in the middle of July. I had to open a filing cabinet. No problem, I've done that many times. I couldn't enter though the front door, I had to go through the door that leads inside from the carport. Then I find out why. The living room area between the carport door and the front door is between four and five feet high with "stuff". Newspapers from years ago, clothing which has never been word stacked up, all kinds of bottles and nick knacks from here to there. There is no way to get through it all. There are also dogs in cages barking at me as I move though the house. As I go down the so called hallway to the bedroom, there is a path between stacks upon stacks of "stuff". In this house there are heavy blankets covering the windows and there is no air conditioning, only fans moving hot air around. I opened the filing cabinet and got out as soon as I could. As I said this was the middle of July. When I stepped outside it felt like I had just stepped into an air conditioned room. In July, in Florida. I'll never understand how people can live like that.

    I have previously mentioned a lady who blamed me for her blind dog trying to bite me. She had inherited the home from her brother. And thankfully I didn't get too far into that place either. She was the same way. Things piled up everywhere and nothing thrown out.

    What surprises me is the people themselves. They don't understand why nobody, not even family members, ever come to visit them and they always want me to sit and chat with them for a while. I guess they are lonely but they bring it on themselves.

    Another amazing thing about the people in the nicer (more expensive) parts of town is their unrealistic expectations. I was asked to go to a place and re-key the locks. No big deal. However the lady of the house wanted me to guarantee that nobody else on planet Earth would have a key that would work in her locks. I'm sorry. On your standard lock there are five pins that fit into the notches of your key. Each of those pins can be set at one of six different levels with a Kwickset lock. There are nine levels on a Schlage lock. It is a mathematical certainty that somewhere on planet Earth there is someone who has a key that will work in your lock. But the odds of that person walking up and putting their key in your lock range from zero to "Are you kidding me?". Well, because I could not give an absolute guarantee, this lady canceled the job. No doubt she found someone who would lie to her and give her false assurance to re-key the locks. But as a Christian, I couldn't do that and lost the job.

    One of the other guys at the shop went to a job and had six keys available to the customer when he re-keyed the locks. She only wanted four keys. But she was most upset when he left with the other two keys in his pocket. Of course she didn't know that once he got back to the shop those keys were going into the garbage can, but that didn't stop her from complaining to high heaven about it.

    One last item for this segment. And again we have to deal with pets. In this case dogs. This place was a bit out in the country. People out there have biological burglar alarms aka dogs. I open the place and the home owner now chooses to warn me to be careful where I step. The dogs have left little presents all over the yard for people to find. Of course I found one and stopped as soon as I could to do a little cleaning and fumigating of my car.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    SE Okieland
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    This place was a bit out in the country. People out there have biological burglar alarms aka dogs. I open the place and the home owner now chooses to warn me to be careful where I step. The dogs have left little presents all over the yard for people to find. Of course I found one and stopped as soon as I could to do a little cleaning and fumigating of my car.

    DL,

    Seems like the owner was correct and you did win the prize even after being warned....

    Bet you watch where you step until you don't....

    So goes life....

    Texican....

  13. #53
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    This place was a bit out in the country. People out there have biological burglar alarms aka dogs. I open the place and the home owner now chooses to warn me to be careful where I step. The dogs have left little presents all over the yard for people to find. Of course I found one and stopped as soon as I could to do a little cleaning and fumigating of my car.

    DL,

    Seems like the owner was correct and you did win the prize even after being warned....

    Bet you watch where you step until you don't....

    So goes life....

    Texican....
    Well in my defense, it was after nightfall.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  14. #54
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    Mar 2013
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    SE Okieland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    This place was a bit out in the country. People out there have biological burglar alarms aka dogs. I open the place and the home owner now chooses to warn me to be careful where I step. The dogs have left little presents all over the yard for people to find. Of course I found one and stopped as soon as I could to do a little cleaning and fumigating of my car.

    DL,

    Seems like the owner was correct and you did win the prize even after being warned....

    Bet you watch where you step until you don't....

    So goes life....

    Texican....
    Quote Originally Posted by day late View Post
    Well in my defense, it was after nightfall.

    So DL,

    You were in the dark again....

    This is not becoming a habit now is it????

    Texican....

  15. #55
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    May 2001
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    North Central Florida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    So DL,

    You were in the dark again....

    This is not becoming a habit now is it????

    Texican....
    The boss calls me the emergency guy. In most cases the emergencies happen at night. Especially after happy hour and again after closing time.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  16. #56
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
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    Now let's talk about events. At just about any social occasion there is need for our services. This past week end, there was a "speed show" at the Gainesville raceway. When I say "speed show" there were drag races of every conceivable kind. Rail jobs, modified stock cars, I saw a Harley with a slick on it that was so wide I swear that thing didn't need a kick stand. It would stand up by it's self just on the basis of that tire. The interesting part was I had to open a trailer. The people who own it came up from Orlando. The problem was that they realized they left the keys to the trailer in Orlando about the time they got to Ocala. By that time they had already been on the road for an hour. To go back meant driving one hour back, get the keys and arrive at the drag races about three hours late. Call the locksmith. For me the fun began when I arrived. First I have to explain to three different guards why I don't need a pass or ticket to get in. I also found out that another locksmith had been called about half an hour ahead of me to help someone else. Once I find the lady who called us, she tries to lead me to the trailer. EVERY gate we get to has guards telling us that I can't go in. This area is reserved for racers and people displaying their wears at the drag strip. I ended up parked in front of the Harley Davidson trailer while this lady tracks down an event staff member who can get me to her trailer. After about half an hour she comes back with the event supervisor who apologizes to me for the misunderstanding, escorts me to one of the previous gates that wouldn't open for me and made sure there were no further problems with me getting in. It is always fun to see someone standing there glaring at you with egg on their face. Like what happened was somehow my fault. They pull the barricades aside and wave me through. I just smile and wave at them. It took about three minutes to open that trailer, for which the customer was very happy. I took care of my paperwork and VERY carefully got out of there. The last thing I wanted to do was bump into one of these cars that costs more than I make in several years.

    Every year in Gainesville we have a medieval faire. When he was younger and living at home, our son and I made an annual trip out there. A couple of years ago I was called out there on the last day of the faire, at just about closing time. This young wise man had decided he didn't need a locksmith. He could get in the car by himself and save the $65 fee for opening the car. He went to work on prying open the window far enough to get a coat hanger inside and unlock the door. By the time he gave up and called us, the metal frame around the window was so badly bent I didn't have to us the air jacks to get the rod inside. I just slide it in and unlocked the door in seconds. This guy did over $1,000 worth of damage to his car trying to save $65. Go figure. I would have stopped when I got the first scratch in the paint.

    In downtown Gainesville we have "Bo Diddly Plaza". Bo Diddly actually did live here up until the time of his death and I believe is buried somewhere around here. Well, the people who run the plaza had lost the keys for the storage room where they keep the speakers and a lot of other equipment. I got there at about 6:45. The show is due to start at 7:30 and it takes no less than half an hour to set up. This lock was stubborn and I had to drill it. Then I have to replace the lock while stage guys are dragging equipment past me and heading for the stage. The show started about ten minutes late, but they were happy they didn't have to cancel.

    And of course we can't forget the Florida Gators football season. People are tailgating for miles in every direction around the stadium. Average traffic speed is 5 MPH, tops. What quite often happens is someone finally finds a parking spot. They get out of the car, lock it, open the trunk and set down the keys as they pull out the cooler with the adult beverages. Then they close the trunk with the keys still inside. Just getting to the car is challenge enough. It doesn't help when the customer is from out of town and has no idea where they are. What makes it worse is that most of the time they don't bother telling you the keys are in the trunk. You see with a lot of cars when I open the door, the car thinks it is being stolen. So the first thing it does is to turn off the ignition and the trunk release. So now I have to go through the back seat to get the keys. Most back seats have the release to lower them in the trunk. It gets interesting. Most of the time I have to use the air jack to create a space between the back seats, then reach in with a rod and pull the emergency trunk release that is on the inside. But another trick that works very often is to disconnect the battery. Wait one minute and then when you reconnect it have someone inside holding down the trunk release. That one minute is the time it takes for the computer to reset. That does the trick about half the time.

    You know, back before cars got smarter than we are, everything was simple. It surprises me how little people know about their own vehicles. Two things come to mind. The first is people tell me;

    "The car isn't supposed to lock with the fob inside, but it did."

    Guess what. If the battery in the fob is weak or dead, the car will lock because the computer can't detect the fob inside the car. That kind of thing happens all the time. People rely on technology and are baffled when it fails. I was raised in hurricane country. I EXPECT technology to fail and always at the worst time. If you get hit with a Cat. 3 or higher storm, expect to be without power for a minimum of a week, maybe more.

    The other one that I see very often is the keys are right there on the front seat. I open the car and the alarm goes off. The customer reaches in, grabs the keys and hits the alarm button. Nothing happens and the alarm continues to blare away. So they stick the key in the ignition and turn the key. The car starts but the alarm doesn't quit. I have to tell them;

    "Grab the key, get out and lock the door."

    Of course they depend on technology. They push the button on the fob and nothing happens.

    "No. Use the key, not the fob. Lock the door, then unlock it and it will reset the computer."

    I'm also surprised to learn that many people don't realize that there is a key inside the fob. I point it out and they find it. They do what I said and the alarm shuts off and they look at me in amazement.

    "I didn't know you could do that."

    Don't get me wrong. I enjoy and use technology. I just don't rely on it. I've seen it fail just too many times. As an example I remember when, back in the sixties, we were hit by Hurricane Donna. The power was out, water and debris was everywhere. and Dad wasn't going to get started on clean up without his morning cup of coffee. He went to the car port and started the hibachi that we had at the time, and put the percolator on. He had just poured his first cup when he looked up and our neighbor from across the street was wading though the ditch with an empty coffee cup in his hand. That made an impression on me.

    Another example of over dependence on technology are those key pad dead bolt locks. I can't tell you how many of these very expense locks I have had to destroy just because someone forgot to change the batteries. There was one occasion when It was an unpickable smart key, key pad dead bolt. I ended up removing the back door from the hinges and getting in that way. The gentleman who was house sitting for the owner told me that the dead bolt worked fine the last time he used it. But now nothing. I removed the cover, removed the battery pack and there were no batteries. Just a mass of corrosion. I got that crap out of there, cleaned it up a bit and put in fresh batteries. It worked just fine after that.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  17. #57
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    I did not intend to be away so long, but the past few days have been busy. Nothing really outside of the norm that I have already addressed, but it takes me away from posting these stories. Monday of this week was actually a normal day. I did nothing for most of the day. At about 5:30 I got my first call to help someone locked out of a car. By 10 O'clock I had, had seven calls. Six of them were paying calls and one was a call that was canceled as I turned into the Walmart parking lot. But there is a new twist on the baby locked in the car stories. It was the first call of the day, I was called for a baby locked in the car type of job. But this time it was the entire family involved. They were heading to south Florida to visit family, and coming from Michigan. The Dad hit something on the road and blew a tire. Naturally he pulled off of I-75 to change the tire. He, his wife and their son got out of the car to see about getting the tire changed. The one year old daughter, left inside, locked them out of the car. In this case when I told them they owed nothing for the service, I told the father so I didn't wind up wiping lipstick off of my face before returning home.

    I have mentioned that I work for a set of partners, so I have two bosses. That's fine. They are actually decent people who are a pleasure to work for. I'm sure many of us have had the other kind of boss to work for. You know, the ones who set something down in front of you, walk to the other end of the room and when they come back they want to know why you aren't finished yet. These guys aren't like that. They actually tell me to let them know when the work load becomes too much and they need to send someone else to handle the overload. But I regret to say that both of them are what I call somewhat technologically challenged. I once had one of them send me an address that told me I was supposed to be in Poland in 25 minutes. That's right Poland, as in eastern Europe.

    Uhhh sorry boss. It is an hour from here to the coast, and once the front wheels of this car hit the water forward momentum kind of slows down. MAYBE if I was on the U.S.S, Enterprise I could make it, but not in this car. After playing with the address and talking to the customer it turns out they were actually about ten minutes away. But one of the worst things I have to deal with is when it comes to going to calls on the campus of the University of Florida. Most of the time I am asked to call the customer for their exact location. That involves a great deal of conversation. Most of them are new to the area and have no idea of where they are. About the best I can do is ask them for an intersection that they can identify so I can at least get close and then they guide me to the exact spot I need to be. The vast majority of the time they are understanding and as helpful as they can be. After all, they NEED to get into the car. But sometimes they are not so helpful. There was one time a young "lady" needed to have the lock cut off of her bicycle. She had lost the key for it. She was on the U.F. campus and I was headed her way when I called her back for specific directions.

    "I'm on Center Drive."

    Center Drive cuts all the way across the campus, and the U.F. campus covers several square miles of land. She could be anywhere.

    "Can you give me a cross street so I can find you? If I don't know where you are there is very little I can do to help you."

    "I don't know. F**k you dude."

    And she hung up on me. I guess some people expect me to be a mind reader. Is it any wonder why I want my bosses to give me exact addresses?

    But even when they do, GPS is not my friend. I got a call first thing this morning, halfway across town. G.P.S. Took me the wrong direction. Thankfully I was within two blocks of the correct location. I was able to help the lady. G.P.S. has tried to take me down roads that don't exist. Imagine making a turn expecting to see a one lane road and all you have is a fence with nothing but woods behind it. It often tells me that I have to exit my property by going thought the woods behind my home into the parking lot of the hospital behind my property and then pull out and make a left turn in an area where that isn't possible because of the concrete curb in the middle of the road. G.P.S. has taken me to areas that are miles away from the actual location I need to be at. And with Gainesville having the transient population that it does, sometimes people don't know where they are. There is a great deal of difference between 123 NW 43 St and 123 NW 43 Ave. or Drive, or Way, or whatever. It can get interesting.

    Another hazard to the profession is obviously other locksmiths. When people are in a panic, they will call several locksmiths and the first one to arrive is the one to get the job. The problem is that they are so happy I got there, they didn't bother to call the other locksmiths and tell them that I got there first. Most of the time the other locksmith LOUDLY informs the customer that since they called and the locksmith responded, they owe him for a service call at the least. That is followed by an argument, that I stay out of, about;

    "Well you didn't do anything and this guy opened my car. I don't owe you anything. You didn't do anything."

    Sometimes I'm on the other side. I get to the job and another locksmith is already working. Obviously it is upsetting to me. I've just spent time and gas to get to the location to help someone and it is all for nothing. In all honesty I could get upset and act like the other locksmiths do, and in all honesty I would be justified in my displeasure. I mean the customer could have called and told me the other guy was already there. That's just common courtesy. But if I act like they do, am I any better than them? I think not. Quite often I will stand around and watch them. After all, I don't know all of the tricks. Maybe I can learn something from them. And in truth a few times I have. Maybe I can lend a hand and show them something they don't know. That has happened as well. While it is something of a cut throat business, we are polite to each other and from time to time if we are overloaded or run into something we can't handle, we will recommend another locksmith we believe can take care of the job. And they do the same for us. For example;

    One night I was at a house and NOTHING was working. I spent forty-five minutes on a job that should have taken ten at the outside. What can I say except that some of the locks I have to work on look like they were installed about the day after God was born. These locks haven't been made in decades, sometimes longer. I couldn't get the lock to pick. The other locksmith arrived and I turned the job over to him. He DID get the lock to pick, but in the wrong direction. Basically he locked a lock that was already locked. We have a device called a plug spinner for just that reason. The idea is that it is spring loaded and you wind it up in the direction you need the lock to turn. When you push the button it is supposed to spin the keyhole so fast the pins inside don't have a chance to reset. It works about 85% of the time. This guy couldn't get his plug spinner to do the job. Mine was a different type. I asked him to pick the lock one more time in the wrong direction and let me give it a try. He did and my plug spinner worked. I opened the door for the customer and he was happy. The other locksmith WAS the one who picked the lock, so he wrote the bill and the customer paid him. We went to our vehicles and he gave me a percentage of the payment because my plug spinner worked and his didn't. Call it professional courtesy.

    The problem with being a Christian locksmith is that sometimes you have to be a Christian first. A couple of years ago I got to the location and the young lady was locked out of her car. It was close to Christmas and she had people already at her house getting ready for some celebrations. BUT her baby was at the house. The child was being taken care of by a friend so there wasn't really a problem there. Her problem was that this was Wednesday night. She was broke and wouldn't get her paycheck until Friday. In the mean time she couldn't pay for our services. Am I going to abandon a mother miles from her child during Christmas because of a lack of money? I think not. I opened the car, wished her a Merry Christmas and spent the five or so miles from the location to my home wiping lipstick off of my face before I got home to my wife. And YES I lied to my boss and told him that she had gotten into the car on her own before I got there. A sin, I know, but one I think The Lord would not be too unhappy about. Maybe Joseph and Mary could afford a room that first Christmas night, but they needed someone to lend a hand. O.K. it was just a stable, but it was something. Someone did something for them, so how could I do less?

    More recently, There was a job for me to open a car. Quite often the boss will tell the customer the price of opening the car before I even get sent the job. In those cases I have no problems asking for the money. The customer agreed to the price before I was sent. In this case the location is at a local church. After I open the car, the gentleman tells me that he is unemployed. He has a total of ten dollars to his name and four or five bags of donated groceries sitting on top of his car. What am I supposed to do? Relock the car and walk away? I think not. I took five dollars and a promise to pay the rest when he got a job. As far as I know the rest was never paid, but The Lord knows and He will repay both of us.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  18. #58
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    Am I going to abandon a mother miles from her child during Christmas because of a lack of money? I think not. I opened the car, wished her a Merry Christmas and spent the five or so miles from the location to my home wiping lipstick off of my face before I got home to my wife.

    Way to go DL....

    Sometimes higher callings come into play....

    Texican....

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texican View Post
    Am I going to abandon a mother miles from her child during Christmas because of a lack of money? I think not. I opened the car, wished her a Merry Christmas and spent the five or so miles from the location to my home wiping lipstick off of my face before I got home to my wife.

    Way to go DL....

    Sometimes higher callings come into play....

    Texican....
    As I said. I lied to my boss by telling him that she had gotten into the car without my assistance. But given the situation I hope that The Lord will give it a wink.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  20. #60
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    I am just so pi**ed right now I'm not saving this one for a page, I'm just going to say it. Last night there was a job. I had to get a young lady into her apartment. I've been to this place before. It is one of those places that makes me happy I have my CCW. The lock is stubborn and while I'm working on it the lady says she is going to visit with a friend a couple of doors down. I got the door open and call her to let her know. She says she is on her way and will be with me in a few minutes. Long story short. Over the next forty-five minutes I called her six times, left two voice mails and in the last one I told her;

    "I have other people waiting for me. I will wait two minutes and then I will relock your door to keep your stuff safe and you will have to call us back later."

    Two minutes later I locked the door and left. Understand that this is a neighborhood I don't want to go to in the day time. While I was waiting for her I saw at least three drug deals go down. Twice, I didn't pull my weapon, but I had my hand resting on it. I'm an infantry vet. I'm one of those thick skulled knuckle draggers that runs TOWARDS the sound of gunfire. And this place spooks me. On Monday we will be having a meeting at the shop. I'm going to tell my boss. I WILL NOT go back to that place again. Fire me if you must, but there is nothing there that is worth me killing another man for or possibly losing my own life.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  21. #61
    I don't blame you a bit! Wanna bet she was stoned out of her gourd in her "friend's" apartment?

    Actions have consequences... some people never learn. Just be prepared for her to go to the media and screech "racism" if your boss agrees and refuses future calls...

    Life's too short to deal with some stuff, and I don't believe God requires us to commit suicide in service to others.

    Summerthyme

  22. #62
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    Well, we had the meeting. My bosses understand where I'm coming from and are of similar mind, BUT aren't necessarily ready to give up the income. I pointed out that we don't go there that often so we wouldn't be giving up that much. So it has been decided that one of the bosses and another tech. who is an ex-cop will drive by there one day, park and just observe what is going on. Do we want to cut this place off completely? Do we want to only go there during the daylight? They have to choose, but so do I and I am NOT going back there. It isn't worth the risk. It is only a matter of time before one of us has to hurt or kill someone or we get hurt or killed. I am not ready to take a life or possibly lose my own just for a few bucks.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  23. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by summerthyme View Post
    I don't blame you a bit! Wanna bet she was stoned out of her gourd in her "friend's" apartment?

    Actions have consequences... some people never learn. Just be prepared for her to go to the media and screech "racism" if your boss agrees and refuses future calls...

    Life's too short to deal with some stuff, and I don't believe God requires us to commit suicide in service to others.

    Summerthyme
    On this you and I are in complete agreement. The Lord does require service to our fellow man. But I remember Nehemiah. After the Children of Israel were taken captive by Babylon he was tasked with rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem. He had men working with one hand and holding a sword with the other. Slowed down the work, I'm sure. But it kept the workers safe.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  24. #64
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    DL,

    You are correct.... No job is worth your safety including your life....

    Do what is most beneficial to you and yours....

    Texican....

  25. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by day late View Post
    Well, we had the meeting. My bosses understand where I'm coming from and are of similar mind, BUT aren't necessarily ready to give up the income. I pointed out that we don't go there that often so we wouldn't be giving up that much. So it has been decided that one of the bosses and another tech. who is an ex-cop will drive by there one day, park and just observe what is going on. Do we want to cut this place off completely? Do we want to only go there during the daylight? They have to choose, but so do I and I am NOT going back there. It isn't worth the risk. It is only a matter of time before one of us has to hurt or kill someone or we get hurt or killed. I am not ready to take a life or possibly lose my own just for a few bucks.
    I will also say that there used to be a bar about three blocks from the GPD office. This place was so bad that on Friday and Saturday nights GPD would block off the roads leading to that bar two blocks away. It got to the point where we quit going there. I would rather go to that bar than to go to this apartment complex. It IS that bad. As I've said before, this job is great but not always happy, happy, joy, joy.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  26. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by day late View Post
    I will also say that there used to be a bar about three blocks from the GPD office. This place was so bad that on Friday and Saturday nights GPD would block off the roads leading to that bar two blocks away. It got to the point where we quit going there. I would rather go to that bar than to go to this apartment complex. It IS that bad. As I've said before, this job is great but not always happy, happy, joy, joy.
    DL,

    Hopefully your bosses will wise up concerning violent areas.... Sending workers into a known violent area carries additional responsibilities above and beyond worker's comp....

    Be careful out there.

    Texican....

  27. #67
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    Repeat customers are always interesting. They are, of course, embarrassed. They can't believe that they did it AGAIN. And now the guy who helped them last time has to do it once more. Most of them kind of laugh it off, some can get down right unpleasant. There was a young lady I had to help at 2 A.M. one night. She pleaded poverty with my boss and he sent me out to get her into the house after she had stepped outside for some reason (I never ask why, they feel bad enough already) and her dog got excited. Fido jumps up against the door and locked the dead bolt. So here I am getting her back inside at a discount of nearly 50%, $40 instead of the usual $74. She was grateful and paid with no problem. About a week later I'm sent at 7:30 A.M. to open a town home and find this same lady in a robe with a young gentleman also in a robe. They had stepped onto the back porch to enjoy a morning cup of coffee and the sliding glass door locked it's self behind them. I got them in and this was a very nice place. I mean I noticed a Persian carpet runner going down the hallway. I mean we are talking about a $600 to $800 carpet. The rest of the house I can see is nicely furnished and decorated and since I had gotten her into a second rate apartment just a few days before, I knew it didn't belong to her. This time the charge was full price. They guy paid with his credit card and I left. This girl went on-line and left a review that stated she had been quoted $40 over the phone and then charged the full $74 and as a result was now overdrawn at the bank. Excuse me. Dear lady you didn't even pay the bill. What are you complaining about? I guess she figured that since she had gotten the discount the first time she was naturally entitled to it the second time even though I wasn't working for her. Some people.

    I just got back from a job getting a guy into his minivan for the second time in a week. It was one of those jobs that was easier than most and I had him in within a minute of so. He was with the same two friends as he was last time and while I was working one of them said;

    "I think I want to become a locksmith. All you do is drive around and help people and you make a lot of money at it."

    So I told him the truth.

    "Next month I turn 63 years old. I've done a lot of things in my life and being a locksmith is the best job I've ever had."

    That is true, but it isn't always as easy as he makes it sound. And sometimes it really isn't worth the money. I was called to a bar, just after closing time. On my arrival I find three drunk women. Now I'm not here to make judgement calls on other people, but some things I just don't understand. ALL three women were heavily made up. Their clothes were very revealing and looked as if they had been painted on. Also the smallest of these women out weighed me by at least 100 pounds. Ummm ladies I'm sorry, but if you are trying to attract a man, lose some of that weight. At any rate, I had the car open in less than a minute. They searched the car, they searched the trunk. One of them borrowed my flashlight and searched the parking lot. One of them talked her way back into the bar as they were cleaning up and searched the tables and floors. The keys were nowhere to be found. This searching went on for over two hours. Finally at about 4:30 in the morning a friend of theirs comes by to pick them up. NOW O have to follow the all the way across town so they can get to the right ATM and get the money to pay me. But here's the kick in the head. As I'm standing there listening to the drunk women argue over who lost the keys one of them mentions that she is going to have to go back to the bar the next day with the spare key she has at the house so she can drive the car home.

    Say WHAT? You kept me up most of the night when you have a spare key at the house! Why in Heavens name didn't you call this friend of yours two and a half hours ago? You could have driven home, saved yourself some money and I could have gotten some sleep. Alcohol truly does do strange things to people. Not the least of which is affecting you decision making processes.

    But back to repeat customers. I can't tell you how often I get to a job and the customer looks at me and says;

    "Oh, hi Bill."

    They are happy to see me because they already know it won't be long and they will be on their way. I've had that happen at bars, apartment complexes and once at an ATM. One guy locked himself out of the bed room in his apartment twice and on my third trip out there he had me just disable the latch on the door knob and from then on relied on the dead bolt to his room.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  28. #68
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    One guy locked himself out of the bed room in his apartment twice and on my third trip out there he had me just disable the latch on the door knob and from then on relied on the dead bolt to his room.

    DL,

    Some people do learn....

    Texican....

  29. #69
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    DL,

    It has been two weeks since you last tale of wandering locksmith....

    Hope all has been ok with you and yours....

    Texican....

  30. #70
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    I'm still around, but it has been tough for the past two weeks. When I wasn't on a job I was trying to catch up on sleep. One good note. It seems the boss has agreed with me that the apartment complex I said I won't go back to is ne verboten. One of our guys is an ex-cop. He and the boss went out there and just sat and watched for awhile. The ex-cop told me we aren't going there anymore and he CERTAINLY isn't going there. Not only is he an ex-cop, he was medically discharged after I think it was his second tour in Afghanistan. Seems he was a little too close to an I.E.D.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  31. #71
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    We've reached the point where entries are basically going to be a day to day kind of thing. But there are two subjects I wanted to touch on first. I'll start with eighteen wheelers. Now around Gainesville to get you into your car it is going to run you $65, unless you can convince the boss to give a discount. But those big rigs cost $100 to open. If I have to go out of town the price goes up. Mainly because I a few feet off the ground on the top rung of a three step, step-ladder. If I fall off of that thing, well I don't heal as quickly as I did when I was younger. And if the ground is uneven it makes it even more interesting. More than once I've had a driver with his hand in the middle of my back while I'm working to make sure I stay where I am. And yes more than once I have fallen off the ladder, but fortunately I haven't yet gotten hurt doing that. One of the fun things about dealing with trucker is that they have a firm grasp of what I'm doing. Quite often when the door comes open the first thing that happens is they thank me and then they want to know where they can get a couple of those air bags I use and how much they cost. (Amazon, and the big bag goes for about $45 to $55) Their plan is to put them in an outside compartment on the rig along with a rod like the one I use. At this point a mention there could be an added benefit to having these things

    "Think about it. How often do you see other drivers with the same problem?"

    "All the time."

    "Well, if you have these things in your rig you can point out to the other driver that to call a locksmith it is going to run him at least $100, and he has to wait for the locksmith to get there. BUT you just happen to have the same tools in your rig and you are here right now. So how much is it worth to him to get into his truck right now?"

    When I say that you can see the light bulb come on and a smile spread across their face. I'm not worried about losing business. Chances are I'll never see this driver again and there are a lot of big rigs on the road. We can afford to lose one or two.

    But one of my favorite jobs is when I get there the car is running. Understand that with a lot of cars these days when the engine starts the car assumes you are behind the wheel and locks the door to keep you safe from carjacking. And with a lot of cars if I pull the lock lever, it simply snaps closed again. But since most cars have electric windows all I have to do is reach inside and push the button to lower the window. Okay, technically I didn't unlock the car, but it is good enough for the customer. The only exception to that is when the car has crank windows. And I have used the rod to lower the window, half a crank at a time until I can reach in with my arm and lower it the rest of the way.

    One thing about exterior locks is that they are exposed to the weather. The wind blows and dirt gets in there. If it rains moisture gets in. If you've been out for a meal had had something greasy. Some of that grease is on your hand and when you pull out the key some is transferred to the key. The key goes in the lock and some small amount of grease it transferred to the lock. Over time it builds up. Many has been the time I get to the location, the customer hands me the key, I squirt the lock with WD-40 and work the key in and out several times. I pull the key out and wipe it on my hand, which leaves black streaks of dirt I show to the customer. I them put the key in the lock and open the door. That will be $74 thank you very much.

    I say all of that to talk about a job yesterday. This guy had doors all over the place. And like most of us, he is a creature of habit. He always uses the same door to come and go. The first lock was just being stubborn and didn't want to pick, so we go to door number two. It has been so long since that lock has seen a key the pins inside are virtually frozen. Let's try door number three. Same problem. I can't even get my picks in this lock. Okay let's go back to lock number one. At least that one was trying. Just as I'm about to go at it again he tells me;

    "Not to add any confusion to the matter but there is one more door you can try."

    "Where is it?"

    "Over your head."

    Sure enough there is a door on the second floor with a ramp that leads all the way across the yard to the street. I walk up there and that lock is just begging me to pick it. It turned in less than a minute. What can I? Sometimes The Lord just smiles on you.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  32. #72
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    Weirdness! That is about the only way to describe these last few weeks. It's not that I haven't seen these kinds of things before, it's just never happened in such a short span of time. Take what happened last weekend. The boss sends me to a house lock out. As I've said before, Smart Key locks die without any warning. I get to the job and find the guy who owns the condo standing by the front door with his daughter. The key is in the lock and it is a Smart Key. The key turned 90% and stopped. Now it won't turn either way, and the dad bolt is halfway locked. Usually in a case like this I drill the lock and replace it. Not this time. It seems the man who owns the place has it as an investment. Someone else is renting it from him. The back door is a glass slider so I use my bag of tricks and open that. Once inside I take the dead bolt off the door and take it apart to see what is wrong and if I can fix it. Once I disassemble the thing the cylinder starts turning as smoothly as you please. I put it back together and try it. It turns but I can feel a bump as it turns And warn the customer;

    "This thing is on it's last legs. I've gotten it to work, but I wouldn't trust it. I can install a new lock just like this one, or you can save a few bucks and pick up one from Lowes or Home Depot and install it yourself."

    Well he has an appointment that he can't miss, so he tells me to just reinstall the lock and he will chance it. So I do it and leave. I get about three miles away when my phone rings.

    "Bill, the key is stuck in the lock again."

    This time I use a pair of plyers and jiggle the key to the right position, lock the door and remove it. But that isn't what he wanted. He wants the dead bolt unlocked and just lock the door knob. I put the key in, It turns as smooth as glass and unlocks the door. As I turn it back to the right position to remove it, it sticks again. Get the plyers out one more time and jiggle the key to the correct spot and take it out. He uses it to lock the door knob and we walk away. At which time he did say;

    "Well you did say it was on it's last legs and you didn't trust it. I'm going to let the renter worry about it."

    Okay. Not my business.

    Then we have last night. I'm just turning off everything and getting ready for bed when I get a text from the boss. There is a car lock out I need to get to as quickly as I can. So I run out, get the car open and leave. I got to bed somewhere between 12:30 and 1 A.M. No big deal. The fun part is that the car was about three doors down from the boss's house. The only reason I got the call was he left his car tools at the shop.

    It has been one thing after another like that for the past couple of weeks. One other thing that adds to the merriment is this is the time of year when all of the collages on the university campus are having graduation. Gainesville is have a sudden influx of people coming for the ceremony and a major exodus of brand new doctors, lawyers, bottle washers, you name it. I've been rushed to get from one place to the next because Mom and Dad have to get into the car and take the little darling to the graduation, in fifteen minutes. OR I need to unlock the apartment that somehow got locked while they are moving the former student out. OR I need to open the U-Haul that someone locked the keys in, in the back of the truck.

    And our furry friends are up to their usual tricks. Jumping against the door and locking people out of their own home. It's a good thing I was raised with dogs. I understand them so when I show up and they are doing their best to protect Mommy, I don't get scared, which I believe they can sense. So soon after I get there Mommy assures Fido I'm a good guy, he calms down, I let him smell my hand and scratch him between the ears. Now he likes me and gets in the way while I'm working and doesn't want me to leave because he likes the way I scratch him between the front legs. Now Mommy has to keep him out of the way so I can get into my car and leave when the job is done.

    I also had one thing happen the other day that was a case of the customer happy with the service. Normally in that case I give them a card and ask if they would leave a favorable review on-line. NOT THIS TIME. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a Bible believing Christian. The customer not only had a silver pentagram hanging around her neck, she had matching ear rings and when she signed the credit card charge on my phone she signed with yet another pentagram. On the back of the car were stickers of a bubbling witches caldrons. I don't care how happy she is. I don't want her leaving a review on-line. I hope to never see her again.

    Several times recently I get the text and call to let the customer know I'm on the way. Then I get that message;

    "The number you have dialed is not in service at this time."

    Now I have to call the boss and get the right number. It has been more than once I've had to call him two or three times before I can get in touch with the customer. And I will never understand why when the customer is told that I will be calling them in a few minutes, and what happens? I call them and they don't answer. I text them and they don't answer. Just a couple of days ago I'm on an out of town job when I get the next one. I call and leave a message that I will be delayed but will be there as soon as I can. I send a text when I start out for their place. No answer. I call the customer from the parking lot of the apartment complex, about thirty feet from the door. No answer. I call the boss and he tells me, fine just cancel the job. So I do and as I'm cruising past the door of the apartment the guy comes out, flags me own and tells me;

    "I called your dispatcher twenty minutes ago saying I got in so you don't have to come."

    Yeah? Well why didn't you answer the phone and tell me or at least answer the text?
    Last edited by day late; 05-15-2019 at 02:41 PM.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  33. #73
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    SE Okieland
    Posts
    6,236
    DL,

    It is a wonder that you don't have ulcers....

    Texican....

  34. #74
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    the boonies of Alaska
    Posts
    1,622
    [QUOTE=day late;7284544

    "I called your dispatcher twenty minutes ago saying I got in so you don't have to come."

    Yeah? Well why didn't you answer the phone and tell me or at least answer the text?[/QUOTE]

    Aaargh! I admire your patience and equanimity!
    It's later than you think!
    (Fr. Seraphim Rose)

  35. #75
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    The way I see it is that every day is an adventure. And at my age, adventures don't come along too often. Honestly, I'm having the time of my life. Praise be to The Lord who has given me such a wonderful job at this time in my life.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  36. #76
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    As you may have noticed by now, I spend a lot of time on the road. This involves a lot of wear and tear on my SUV. Last Tuesday I had to go to a location about 22 miles from my home at 7:30 A.M. On the way home, my car started screaming at me like you wouldn't believe. Rather than trying to nurse it to the shop and maybe cause more damage, I pulled over and called the insurance company for a tow. I waited for an hour for the truck to show up. We took it to the shop I go to and while I thought it was wheel bearings, the guy at the shop told me it was really the transmission. That is what I like about this guy. He's an honest mechanic. He could have told me anything, but instead he said that if the car was still under warranty I should take it to the dealer and get it fixed for free. So now I'm off to the local Nissan dealership where I bought it. The transmission is part of the power train. The car came with a 100,000 mile power train warranty. It has 89,400 miles or so and that means my repair is free, right? Wrong! When I bought the thing they didn't tell me that the warranty was for seven years from the date of manufacture or 100,000 miles, which ever came first. That means the warranty expired a year ago. Now wait a minute! I was told that my warranty was 100,000 miles when I bought the car. NOBODY mentioned that was from the date of manufacture. That means from the time I bought it I had a less than two year warranty? If I had known that I would have bought a different vehicle. That wasn't the only problem I've had with these people, but I won't bore you with all the details. Long story short, the manager of the dealership and I had a long conversation today and he agreed with me that I wasn't treated honestly and so the repairs are going to be done as if the vehicle still had a full warranty. So the car gets fixed for free. Or so he said. I'll know the truth of the matter when I pick it up tomorrow.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  37. #77
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    SE Okieland
    Posts
    6,236
    DDL,

    Not told the full truth by a car salesman....

    Who would have thought this would happen....

    Texican....

  38. #78
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    South East South Dakota
    Posts
    305
    Automobile warranties are always X years or X miles, aren't they?


    Cat

  39. #79
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    Quote Originally Posted by Catshooter View Post
    Automobile warranties are always X years or X miles, aren't they?


    Cat
    Yes and no. Usually they say something like 50,000 mile or five years. In this case it was flatly stated that the warranty was 100,000 miles. No mention was made about seven years or 100,000 miles from the date of manufacture.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

  40. #80
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Central Florida
    Posts
    6,792
    Everyone knows we should do it, yet most of us just put it off until it turns around and bites us. What am I talking about? Batteries. Twice now in the past forty-eight hours I've had no choice but to drill out very expensive keypad deadbolt locks because the owner forgot to change the batteries. And every time I have to do this I get the same story.

    "I have a key for it, but it's in the house. I just use the keypad."

    Well you're not going to be using this one again. Not after I finish drilling holes in it. And it's not like they can claim they didn't know or have a warning. Those locks have a little red light on the inside that starts flashing when the batteries get low. Without fail I always get the same question.

    "How often should I change them?"

    "It depends on how often you use them. Think of it this way. You put new batteries in a flashlight, set it on the shelf and never touch it. You come back a year from now and as long as the batteries haven't corroded or something, that light should work. But if you end up using the light twice a week for half an hour or so each time, you'll be lucky if they last six months."

    "Oh. I didn't think about that."

    And why is it that people don't carry the key to the front door on their key ring anyway? I know the answer. It's convenience. People don't have to go through the burden of carrying a key if they use the keypad. I've said for years that convenience is going to kill us all one day.

    Like these gated communities. It is convenient to have that gate swing open when you punch in your code or swipe your fob at the sensor. Gives you a nice (false) sense of security. What people don't think about is that those gates don't really keep the bad guys out, and when we have a major storm or hurricane and the power goes out, those gates keep you in. It's been more than once I've had to jump the fence and hit the manual release. And I regret to say most people don't even know there is a manual release on the inside of those gates. But you can bet the bad guys know it which is why those gates are a placebo. They look nice and provide a false sense of security, but in an emergency such as evacuating to a shelter because of a hurricane or fire when the power fails, most people will be stuck on the inside with no way out but by foot. Try doing that if a fifty+ mile an hour wind with the rain coming down sideways, or the smoke and embers burning your skin and lungs. AND YOU KNOW, the first car in line to get out is going to be driven by someone who doesn't know about the release and he is going to cause a traffic jam that is going to get people hurt or possibly killed.

    You know people can make the stupidest mistakes when it comes to these expensive, high tech, locks. There is an apartment complex near me that has one of the latest and (supposedly) greatest electronic locks on the doors to each apartment. It's a case of good idea and poor execution. The key to the lock is a silver colored piece of plastic with a computer chip inside. You insert the "key" into the lock, the chip is detected and the lock opens. Just one small problem. At the place where you put the key in there are two half moon shaped pieces of plastic. If you put something, like say a butter knife, between these two crescents and turn, the lock opens. I kid you not. A very expensive high tech lock that is a lock in name only. You can literally open it with a butter knife, screwdriver or anything that is at least three inches long, half and inch wide and flat. And these tenants, which are mostly students at the university, actually think this gizmo is going to keep them safe at night. Unbelievable.
    Have you ever noticed how 'good enough' usually isn't?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    The guard dies, but NEVER surrenders. (See my avatar)

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