A friend of mine, when Steve Jobs died, wondered what all the fuss was about.
He was just a guy who had a company that made gadgets, as far as he could see.
I spent a lot of time thinking about why I thought Steve Jobs was such a big deal in the first place. And I realized that it was because he had created some products that exceeded my expectations. When I bought technology, prior to Apple, I expected it to work and was annoyed when it didn’t. But when I bought my first iPod, it was simply cool. It did everything it said it was going to do, but in such an aesthetically appealing manner in its sleek, minimalist design, that I felt an actual affection for the thing. That went for my MacBook, my iPhone and finally my iPad, too. Where I had struggled with viruses and glitches and clunky user interfaces on other products, Apple stuff just kept on delivering excellent products that were extremely reliable and fun to use.
It’s odd that, although I expect good service and products when I spend money, when I actually get them, I feel a great deal of gratitude for it.
This week I want to mention three Monroe businesses that consistently make me feel very grateful for being reliable, excellent and giving great customer service.
Candido’s Auto Repair
“Good, fast and cheap, pick two,” the saying goes, but at Candido’s I get all three. I even selfishly found myself wondering if it was a good idea to mention Candido’s in this column. Like mentioning your favorite fishing hole, I feared that drawing too much attention to it might make everyone go there, and then how would I get my car in?
I first went to Candido’s a couple of years ago after calling all over town to find out if someone could do an emergency repair on my old Infiniti. I was told by several places that they could get my car in later that week. Candido said he could fix it that afternoon.
I brought it by and stood at the desk, looking at his collection of foreign currency stapled to a bulletin board on the wall, and beyond that at the seemingly acres of vehicles already under repair, and wondered how on earth the guy planned to get my car fixed so fast, but he did.
He also charged about 30 percent less than most of the quotes I got from anywhere else, and the car ran great.
This spring, my gearshift started locking up and stranding me places, and several mechanics posited several theories on why that might be. I finally managed to get the car to Candido. He wiggled the gearshift once, said, “The solenoid is out,” and had it fixed within 24 hours.
Last week I got an oil change and the guy who changed the oil told me regretfully that I needed a new radiator.
“I always tell people to go to Candido’s,” he said, and I smiled, feeling rather clever. Take it to Candido I did, and sure enough, he had the thing fixed within two hours.
He always seems to be in a good mood, too, and when I’m anxiously wondering if my car is going to impoverish me or give out entirely, his cheerful confidence is very welcome.
Monroe Sports Therapy
Monroe Sports Therapy is a longtime advertiser on our health page, and as such I’ve written little feature stories about that business for the health page a number of times.
But as I was doing a lot of sports without any problem, I didn’t give them a lot of thought once I turned the stories in.
Then my left knee started acting up badly. I wondered if it was related to all the jogging I was doing while training for a triathlon and stopped running for a while, but it continued to worsen. It wasn’t until I was playing music on a military base that I got an idea of what the problem was. An army medic in the audience came up and asked out of the blue if I had knee trouble, and he said the way I moved when I was playing was stressing my knees badly.
I didn’t have any idea what to do about that, though, so I decided to see a physical therapist, and the only one in Monroe that I knew anything about was Monroe Sports Therapy.
Of course, when I got into the office of John Peckenpaugh, my knee wouldn’t act up for anything. It felt just fine and couldn’t be provoked to make so much as a twinge, leaving me to insist that, yes, really, the thing was painful almost all the time.
John quite visibly believed me, and considered my knee as carefully as if it belonged to the First Lady. Eventually, he decided that my kneecap was slipping a little to the side, and taped it to correct that, saying to come back in three days to tell him if it worked.
It did. I could run, play music, do whatever I wanted, without pain, So when I went back, he re-taped my knee, and when I prepared to collect the bill, I was told there wasn’t one. John re-taped my knee several more times without charging me anything for it, which, having gotten itemized bills from hospitals before on which I’d been charged for every last tiny thing, certainly seemed unreasonably nice.
Finally I got him to teach me how to tape my own knee, but for patient care and good customer service, Monroe Sports Therapy can’t be beat.
Everyone knows Les Schwab is great, but last week I had reason to be reminded. It wasn’t anything dramatic; I merely had a slow leak in my tire that I needed fixed. I pulled up to the store, and before I even had the keys out of the ignition, a fellow had run up to my window and asked what I needed.
Once I got into a bay to get the tire fixed, he checked the pressure in all of my other tires, and said it would be just a minute. I wasn’t there more than 10 minutes before I had my car back.
Even though it wasn’t a Les Schwab tire, the repair was really inexpensive.
I’m really glad to know I can rely on these businesses, and I think from time to time I’ll take some space in this column to publicly notice it when a local business really delivers.
It’s a nice way to be able to give something back.