Click & Clack: Gift suggestions for trusted mechanics
BY TOM & RAY MAGLIOZZI Click & Clack May 8, 2012 4:04PM
Dear Tom and Ray:
When your auto mechanic offers to help sell your 1997 Subaru, what percentage of the sale is appropriate to give him as a thank you? If I ask him, I think he will decline because he sees it as a favor to my husband, who recently passed away and who was a longtime customer of his. — Mary
RAY: Well, you have to be careful that he didn’t handle it like my brother does. I once heard him telling a customer: “That fully restored ’66 Mustang convertible is junk — I’ll take it off your hands for 500 bucks.”
TOM: It had a scratch on the door!
RAY: Assuming this guy really helped you and sold the car for what it’s worth, and you think he would be uncomfortable taking cash, then buy him a gift.
TOM: Sure. Get him a new toilet seat. Most repair shops I’ve visited have cracked toilet seats. Ask his employees if he’s got the standard bowl or the elongated one.
RAY: If you don’t know what he likes, Mary, you can buy him a gift certificate. That way he can go out to a nice restaurant (assuming he can ever get his fingernails clean) or buy something at an electronics store.
TOM: If the car sold for a few thousand dollars, I would imagine that a gift certificate of $150 or $250 would be very well received. As it should be. It’s a generous thing for you to do, Mary.
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Wait! Don’t buy another car without the mechanic’s checklist that’s included in Tom and Ray’s pamphlet “How to Buy a Great Used Car: Secrets Only Your Mechanic Knows.” It will help you get a good used car and avoid the clunkers. Send $4.75 (check or money payable to Used Car) to Used Car, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.
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Get more Click & Clack in their book, Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk. Got a question? E-mail Click & Clack by visiting the Car Talk website at cartalk.com.
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