Avoid relying on one person’s opinion

No one moves looking in one direction. There is no offense in looking side-ways, ahead and peeping.   And when it comes to deciding, make sure you gather all the information you need.

The best place to find practical and top ideas is consultation. Call your trusted and brilliant folks and ask them the right questions. If you want to get better answers, always provide accurate context.

I own a Subaru Sports car. This year I had ambitions of buying a new car. However, maturity prevailed, and I realized that the Subaru is still good. All it requires is a body lift. As an Accountant, I am yet to understand the economics of buying and selling cars in Uganda. A new one regardless of how it looks will always be expensive. Reason: the number plate. Apparently driving a car with a new number plate is a status symbol of sorts.

So, I put my Subaru which I bought some four years ago on the pimp. I drive to this Garage and the mechanic, a Pakistan immigrant who owns the workshop, looks at it and says “in two weeks’ time, this will be as brand new.”

The fee: Ugx. 3m. That is whooping US $ 800! What? I look at him and at the car and I look back at him to which he locks eye contact and nods. You see Indians nod side to side.  This one nods like us Ugandans up and down. I get a feeling this guy is damn serious and is great. You see, he nodded while holding a large spanner.

“I have a lot of work. You need to decide quick. Me no time. Me busy. Want car look good. Sign here. Park there. Pay deposit 50%.”

The damage

I am a man who fancies nice cars. I just look for any means from one place to another with convenience. But as consultants, the public have their own ideas. They want you to own the lasted car even when that is not what is in your mind. And so, I had no choice otherthan to upgrade my wheels through pimping. The car is fast and stable on the road and that matters to me. I am a performance man NOT a showman.

I paid and left my car there.

Two weeks later. The car was still covered. Then 4 weeks passed. The car is not yet ready. Then six weeks. I lost my cool. I stormed the garage and the man was as usual holding the large spanner and he looked at me. Moved to the car. Removed the cover and said “car is almost ready. Paint drying. Bring balance. We need to complete well.” I protested but he had not time for me.

“Me very busy. When you decide. I come.”

I started losing my cool, but my conscious mind would guide “don’t reduce yourself to this garage man’s level.” I returned to office, got the money and paid.

Three days later, I returned. This time the car was complete, but the engine could not start. He immediately told me, “This car old. Engine not starting. So, me no test drive. Can my mechanic fix. You pay money.”

But I brought this car here when I was driving it.

“Cars like this. To day work. Tomorrow not. Like woman. She quarrels today. Tomorrow not. So I tell mechanic to work.”

Before I decide, the man has already moved. “When you decide. Say. Me go.”

Ok, let your mechanic work.

With hindsight, that was the worst decision I made.

These people are good at pimping and fixing the body of the car but not opening the engine and fixing such details. The mechanic asked me to change so many things, causing me to lose money until it became too much.

I asked the real Subaru deal.

As a fraud investigator, I always ask the mechanics to bring the part they remove from the car for safe keeping. This means that they must buy something and replace. In the past, they would sell my genuine parts in my car to me. They come and say this part is not working, only to put it back! Mechanics!

So, I called in the Subaru expert and he used a computer to test the car wiring and engine performance. It made lots of noise indicating problems almost everywhere.

I showed him the parts that had been replaced and he was perplexed. He had to replace them, and the problems disappeared. That is the power of second opinion.

Lesson

If you are faced with a critical decision, make sure you seek second opinion. Most great ones usually free of charge. All you must do is to ask. For this expert, he asks for just US $30 dollars but saved me over US $500! That is the power of expertise.

The workshop man succeeded in making me hate my car. I will change it when I want soon.

Mustapha B Mugisa, 2019. All rights reserved.

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