Be honest, how many of you decided to read this article just because of the title? Don’t feel bad, I’d read it too, wondering what it could possibly be about, when you’re used to reading about automotive tools and equipment.
I hate to disappoint, but it’s not the topic you may have had in mind. However, it may bring back a different type of reminiscing that most of us probably experienced in grade school, the dreaded writing assignment on a random topic. But how did I come up with it?
Last year at this time, I wrote an article called “The Diagnostic Turkey,” and somehow, I managed to tie the theme of Thanksgiving into the auto repair business. So, thus became the challenge, can I do it again? This was the only way I could think of to once more fit turkey in the title, so it looks like it’s time to brush up my skills…here I go!
Aside from the libation, the first thing that came to mind was all the chaos that takes place in many a kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. The preparation starts days earlier, so everything is ready for the cooking marathon that starts early in the morning. In addition to the final preparation of the turkey and the many hours of cooking and basting, there’s no day that I can think of which yields any greater production of side dishes.
There are mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing. Then sweet potatoes, butternut squash, creamed onions and fresh dinner rolls. Don’t forget about the cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, corn pudding and glazed carrots. And if you have room after a couple heaping plates of all that, there’s always at least pumpkin, apple and mincemeat pie, with ice cream to top it off.
The kitchen is a busy place on Thanksgiving, as a matter of fact, you could say it’s “wild.” So, if we ever decide to change the name of the holiday, Wild Turkey would be my vote. Funny thing is, when I think about the insanity of preparation for a Thanksgiving meal, it reminds me of almost every day running an auto shop.
You come in early to review the day’s schedule and do some mental preparation. Then, the phone always rings early with an emergency problem on the other end of the line, and you try to work it into the schedule. Then technicians show up and the work starts flowing.
In between phone calls and customers coming in the door, there are quotes to prepare, authorizations to get, parts to order and difficult diagnostics to deal with. Then, what’s that? We’re out of 5w30? How did that happen? The wheel balancer won’t turn on. What? Finally, a lunch break, but you don’t get one. It’s a sandwich on the run instead, as you keep it below the counter for bites in between lunch-hour drop offs and pickups.
Afternoon is a whole other story, wrapping up jobs, preparing final bills, calling customers, waiting for late-comers to pick up, then cleaning the waiting room, batching the credit cards and running the end-of-day report. And we do it all just to get ready for the next day.
Day-to-day in an auto shop can be just as wild as a kitchen on Thanksgiving, which is even more reason we appreciate and enjoy the day off. And just for the record, I only tried mincemeat pie for the first time a couple years ago. For some reason, the name scared me off, but I must tell you, it was just as delicious as all the rest.
So, how did I do? It’s been many a year since my last “random” writing assignment. If nothing else, I made myself hungry.
From the TechShop team to the automotive industry, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!