Locksmith Humor

How to be a good locksmith customer

Before you call:

First try and fix the problem yourself. Most lock problems are caused by lack of lubrication and can be fixed by using enough graphite, 2-3 tubes are usually sufficient. If this doesn't work try using oil based lubricant to build up a thick paste inside the lock mechanism. If the problem persists, start disassembling the lock at random. All locks will come apart easily, using a flathead screwdriver and a big enough hammer. Only call a locksmith after you've used the maximum amount of force to try and turn the lock mechanism. Using vice grips or a pipe wrench helps give more torque.

When you call:

The biggest mistake people make is to only call one locksmith in the phone book. What you need to do is call everyone and give the job to the first company to arrive, as this encourages a healthy competition amon different companies. Don't bother cancelling all the other companies when the first one shows up, they will get the hint when they see someone else's van in your driveway. Secondly when you call, give detailed directions to your house rather than an address. Rely on descriptive terms such as "3 houses up from John's house" or "just round the corner from the old lunch bar". Explain in great detail what your house looks like (roof color, fence out in the front etc), as this is much better for the locksmith than an address. Don't bother explaining the problem on the phone as this only wastes time, and if they do ask you what the problem is say something along the lines of "oh yeah the lock is not aligning properly into the mechanism causing the bolt to stop retracting" or "I think there is something wrong with the tumbler". The guy will figure the problem out when he gets there. Also don't worry about how you plan to pay for the service, as all shops will be more than happy to bill you later. For faster service, make sure you call back every 3-5 minutes for an updated ETA.

When the locksmith arrives:

Remember, locksmiths make their living be exploiting people's ignorance. You can prevent this from happening by using the proper terminology to explain the problem. This is easy because every component of a lock is called a "tumbler".

You: "I think the tumbler has fallen out of alignment where it goes into the tumbler"
Locksmith: "Gee, you're so intelligent that I won't charge you at all"

Always watch the locksmith like a hawk, as this will convince him that you're a concerned, non-trusting customer. Stand in his way while he works on the lock. If he goes into his van, follow him. If he asks to use the toilet, follow him. Don't ask him what he is doing, tell him. Explain what he is doing wrong and how to do it correctly. Make sure he knows that you could have easily fixed the problem yourself if you had the right tools. If he tries to talk you into replacing the lock, he is only trying to scam you for more money. If something does look broken, it's most likely the locksmith who broke it. Make him replace it for free.

The best way to get the locksmith to reduce the bill is to complain. Complain about the time it took him to get there, complain about the rude secretary on the phone, complain about the dirty marks left on the door (if they don't exist rub some grease on there when he isn't looking). Make the point of how much cheaper the locks are at the local hardware store; point out how much of the work you did for him before he arrived. Scream at him if you need to. Don't forget to use the word "tumbler" in every sentence. If all this fails tell him you were quoted a much cheaper price over the phone.

If the locksmith makes you pay the bill before he leaves, pay by cheque and simply stop the payment on the cheque. After all the job isn't worth enough to send to the debt collectors is it?

This technique has helped thousands of people every year, hopefully it will help you.

Murphy's Laws of Locksmithing

  1. A broken lock will always work when demonstrated for the locksmith.
  2. The lock will stop working the minute the locksmith leaves.
  3. The only thing you didn't check for a malfunction, will be the source of the problem, but you won't find it until you are called back.
  4. What ever the customer has told you to prepare for the service call will be wrong.
  5. A dropped part will always roll to the exact geographic center of the largest available object for it to roll under.
  6. The probability of the loss or breakage of any part is directly proportional to the difficulty of getting a replacement part.
  7. Irreplaceable parts will always break or be lost, and at the worst possible time.
  8. Replaceable parts will only become available after an important deadline has passed.
  9. Parts that are difficult to install will freely fall out on their own.
  10. Parts that go in easily will be extremely hard to remove, and removal will be necessary to accomplish the needed repair.
  11. The part you will need will be the irreplaceable part you threw away last week because there are no more locks of that type around
  12. The number of customers that visit your shop is inversely proportional to the number of employees you have to wait on them.
  13. When your entire staff is available no one will come.
  14. When you are there alone, everyone will come and they will be impatient.
  15. The probability of an auto lockout varies directly with the intensity of the rain.
  16. The length of time it take to open any vehicle varies directly with the intensity of the rain.
  17. The length of time it take to open a vehicle or pick a lock varies directly with the number of on-lookers making fun of how long it takes you.
  18. The length of time it take to open a vehicle or pick a lock varies directly with the number of television and movie characters your customer claims can do it in only a few seconds. {There is a dispute as to whether it actually takes longer or whether time just seams to drag when certain customers are around}
  19. The number of witnesses available is inversely proportional to the skill you demonstrate.
  20. There will never be anyone around to see you do something brilliant
  21. When you really screw up, you will get network coverage with a 40% share.
  22. The probability of having someone closing a safe and spinning the dial while you have the back of the lock off will vary directly with the square of the number of people you tell not to touch the safe while you get something out of the truck.
  23. The probability of having someone close a safe and spinning the dial while you have the back of the lock off will vary directly with the square of the number of re-lockers that will be tripped.
  24. The more elaborate the precautions you take the more likely they are to close a safe and spin the dial while you have the back of the lock off. {Nothing is fool-proof because fools are too ingenuous}
  25. The probability of arriving at the job site without a needed tool or with the wrong hardware are directly proportional with the square of the travel distance
  26. You will always have what you need when the job is next to your shop.
  27. They lock will always be the wrong hand and not field reversible when the job is more than 1/2 hour travel.
  28. Any written specification you have been issued by the customer will be the old one that has since been revised.
  29. Any lock finish or style that you have with you will not match the rest of the hardware in the building.
  30. The harder it is to obtain matching hardware, the more the customer will insist on an exact match.
  31. If you have an exact match the customer will say "Matching isn't important, don't you have anything cheaper?"
  32. When a customer has a large number of specialty locks, that lock will require very expensive service and pin kits.
  33. When you buy the kits, you only get to use them one time, or you find that something you already have can be used instead.
  34. When you don't buy the kits, nothing else that you have will work instead, and you will have constant problems that would have been avoided by buying the kits.
  35. By the time you finally buy the kits your lost time will exceed the cost of the kits by ten fold. Then your customer will go elsewhere.
  36. The harder you try to get to a call quickly, the more other locksmiths will beat you to it and the less likely you are to get paid for coming out.
  37. The more difficult the customer, the more locksmiths he calls to come out.
  38. The more people they call, the less likely you are to get paid.
  39. Major ass holes call every locksmith for a hundred miles radius.
  40. They only pay the first to show up and complain about the price they have to pay, even though they were quoted that price before they told you to come.
  41. No matter how low you bid the job there is always an idiot out there willing to do it for less.
  42. The more you cut your price to get business, the more likely you are to go out of business.
  43. The more you try to compete on a price basis the lower your prices will go. Your income will follow.
  44. The bigger your yellow pages ad is the more low priced calls from non-repeat customers you will get.
  45. Increasing the ad size and cost increases the percentage of low profit calls you get.
  46. The prize for beating out all other locksmiths for the biggest most expensive advertising in all the different yellow pages books is bankruptcy
  47. The more you advertise that you have 24 hour service the more security guards and Insomniacs will call you in the middle of the night with request for price quotations.
  48. You will get angry calls from people who stopped by your shop at midnight and you weren't there even though you advertised 24 hour service.
  49. You will get calls after midnight from people who saw your 24 hour service claim and want to have you meet them at your shop immediately to cut one key on your 89 cent coupon special.
  50. Your best apprentice will quit and open a shop across the street and cut your prices.
  51. The one who is un-trainable will stay with you forever.