| THE JUNK YARDS
One example how we used junk yards to give full service for
our garage customers at the Grand Canyon.
The repair business is dependent on certain parts that aren't practical
to purchase anywhere else but the junk yard. In my situation while supervising
the Public Garage at the Grand Canyon National Park, often time I would
need a steering knuckle/spindle for a tourists car. Most people don't know
they should repack wheel bearing until a front wheel falls off going down
the highway. We bring it in on the wrecker and find out the bearing has
seized on the spindle and galled the journal surface to the point you can't
save the spindle. If the job came in before noon, I might have the part
by morning the next day.
Lodging for the customer,
By now it's obvious that the customer will need lodging another night
and rooms go for at least $75.00 bucks. If they don't have a room, I could
get them one of a few that are held vacant for emergencies like this. The
trick was you had the know the right person in the company make this happen.
If the customer was a hard luck case and had a good sob story how broke
they were, I had further options for the situation. If a wife and children
were involved, things mover a little faster. My transportation manager could
get them a free room and meal tickets. If that wasn't enough, he would give
the family a free Harvey Car tour on a scheduled trip to Desert View and
back to help them have fun.
I witnessed a similar situation within the first couple months of
working at the Fred Havey Garage. This convinced me I did work for a real
hospitality company that had compasion for people between a rock and a hard
place. A couple months later, I was placed in charge of the garage and now
it was my resposibility to make things like this happen.
Finding the part
The car dealer most likely wouldn't have it in stock or he wants twice
the money for it than the junk yard. If the customer was pinching pennies
( and most of them were) the junk yard would be the first option if they
had it. In the mean time, I was checking prices and availability by phone
in Flagstaff eighty miles away as this is where most of our parts came from.
Getting the part
Our garage was open seven days a week and the workers two days off
were spread out over seven days. Every day of the week, there were two men
taking their weekend and most likely, one of them would be in Flagstaff.
The problem with the junk yard I used, it was twenty miles from Flagstaff
in the wrong direction. I had a standing offer with all my fourteen mechanics,
that if they were in town on their day off, I would pay for their gas to
and from town if they would pick up a part and bring it to the garage. Working
at the Public Garage was not just a job, it was a way of life and cooperation
with the men in this regard was successful.
Paying the freight
In those days, I would reimburse them a twenty dollar bill for getting
the needed part. We were part of a large corporation, so getting the cash
required going thought proper channels. I just couldn't take it out of our
cash till. I had to fill out a "Cash Disbursement" form and have
the head accountant (Company Controller) approve and sign it. He was always
busy but waved me into his office when seeing me at his door. Joe would
barely look at it, them glance at me over the top of his glasses as though
I was a common thief or embezzler, sign it and give it back to me without
saying a word. Then I would take the Cash Disbursement slip the the "Cage"
or the company bank for Peggy to trade me it for that twenty dollar bill.
This sounds like a lot hassle to make this procedure work, but for me, it
was easy as the accounting department and garage shared the same stone building.
If one of my mechanics would get the part from the junk yard, he would
get it to the garage by morning if he got in town after hours. If he wasn't
coming home that night, he could drop it off at one of our parts supply
house. They in turn would bring it up the next day if they were doing a
stocking delivery. If not, I could get them to bring it to the Nava Hopi
Bus Depot and it would arrive at the Bell Mans desk by 10:20 AM at the Bright
Angle Lodge. Me or someone would have to meet the bus and then hustle the
part to the garage.
Installing the part,
A mechanic would jump on the job and get the car out by noon so the
customer could get on their way. The company got their twenty dollars back
when I added the freight charge to the repair invoice. If the bus was also
used, that charge of $8.10 was added to the bill.
This is a rather complicated junk yard story, but typical when your
fixing cars in Northern Arizona in the middle of nowhere.
There is no vehicle service for the tourist anymore at the Grand Canyon
as the garage now only services company equipment. The gas station (just
down the road from us) closed several years ago. All this is just another
example of our great country going to the dogs.