Wednesday, June 29, 2016


To be continued......

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


"For the young and for old, a place at the table, revisiting the roles, deciding the share with wisdom and grace, dividing the power, for women and men, a system that is fair."


Gentle readers, I have a short story to share.  Some time back, at a family function, I sat talking to my oldest Grandson whom I do not know very well.  He is a fine young man and stood over six feet tall plus.  I thought I needed to get to know him before it is too late and he is a grown man.  I asked him if he would like to come and stay with me for a week and work with me.  He said he would ask him mom.

Two weeks later, I answered the phone at work and heard, "Grandma?"!  And it was on.  Some time later, it was Monday morning and I was trying to wake "the boy" Adam to get to the shop. 

The fact that I seemed to miss was that he was barely 14.  Not at the point of self discipline.  Adam and I arrived at the shop that morning and at the staff meeting I introduced him and that he would be here a week to help out.  My guys embraced Adam and all pitched in finding safe things he could do.  I learned very quickly that Adam had to be kept busy.  His first task that Monday, was to use a scuff pad, about 1000 grit sand paper and scuff the quarter panel of a car ready to be painted.  My first clue of the week to come was when, in his vigor, he sanded the taillight of the vehicle.  I walked up and inhaled a large amount of oxygen, gasped and my shop manager did an eye pop about the same time.  Nothing was said to not embarrass Adam, but he was taken off the sand line.  Quietly, a new taillight was ordered and no one said a thing.

Adam was then tasked with washing cars, (safest thing we could think of) and seemed to do well until he came up to me and said the power washer was broken.  Again, my crew quietly ordered a new hose on line for our expensive power washer and nothing was said. 

I had what was to be a very expensive week ahead of me.  Adam is a hard and good worker.  After he cleaned the shop, the office and the bathrooms we ran out of safe labor for the young man.  My crew then took turns with Adam.  He would hang out in the detail department with a great and patient young man and washed car windows as the detailer replaced emblems, trim, etc.  Every one took turns.  We even tried to let him answer the phone.  That was worse than the taillight. 

Adam seemed to enjoy lunch the most in his daily activities.  Each day, he went to lunch with a different group of guys.  I gave him money and he tagged along.  He went to lunch with a slightly ornery group and they had lunch at "Hooters".  Adam was repeatedly told, "Do not tell Grandma!"
He did not but I got wind of it within an hour as some of them could not keep a secret.  I though it was great and it was good he was having fun.  After all, he will have to work someday and the experience was good. 

Somehow, we got through the week with only a few minor mishaps.  Adam went home with a new laptop I had bought him for all his hard work.  I now knew a grandson I had not known before and I hope he remembers his experience with a smile.  I do.

Postscript:  His father, my son, had to drive down the following week and repair my laptop which Adam  had been allowed access to.  Lesson leaned.  Let them play with their own toys!  it is cheaper.

God Bless all.  Shangri La

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"I Hear The Train A' Commin......(AGAIN)

It's Rollin' Around The Bend........

Gentle Readers, Hello.  It is Saturday Afternoon and I am here while the crew is working to catch up the work load. 

It was Tuesday, around midnight, an unknown assailant used a rock found on the ground to break out the window of the office at "THE BODY SHOP".  The assailant then broke the blinds climbing through the broken window and went through the office looking for cash.  It was clear that the object was to get cash as they took about $25.00 from the desk.  It was foolish for them to think I would leave anything more than that. 

The police responded to the break and enter with skillful CSI work.  The office was dusted from top to bottom with black powder and I am sure if there is a finger print, it was found. 

So......they broke a window, I have to replace, broke the blinds and only got a few dollars.  Not worth the 2 hours I spent washing the black powder from every surface. 

People, I am a small business, not a Walmart!  Leave me alone!!!!

In closing, I would like to apologize in advance for my warped sense of humor and tell you that a person came in today for an estimate on their "WoeWoe".   Allow me to translate, Volvo.

Have a blessed weekend, what is left.    Shangri La

Wednesday, July 10, 2013



Margaret Thatcher  (My hero)

Gentle Body Shop Readers,

Last week, I had one of those experiences that, we wish to avoid, but when they happen, cannot avoid, but need to handle. 

One of my employees came to work with the attitude from hell and was ready for a fight.  He had been in my office several days before having a pity party for himself and we talked about that his inability to hold his temper in check is doing him no good in the work place.  He agreed with me and said he would work on it and understood that his problems at home should stay at home.  I heard the screaming from the front office and ran out the door to the shop.  To make a long story short, the person screaming was the very employee who agreed just a few days before to control his temper.  I told him several times to "GO HOME AND COOL OFF"  He preferred to get in my face, scream at me to fire him if I dared, so I said, " OK, YOU ARE FIRED, NOW GO HOME".  Seriously, my hands shook for two hours after that.  It was really ugly.

None the less, everyone is relieved that he is gone, the shop drama has gone to nothing.   I had him replaced within three days.  What was the point???? 

We have had a good week so far.  We have close to 40 cars on our lot and customers are complaining about having to park in the street.  Music to my ears. 

I recently received a call from a man who owned a body shop in Northern Ohio whom had stumbled upon said BLOG and had to call me to tell me that they had gotten nothing done that day, except laughing over the stories.  Now, realize, he felt the PAIN, the body shop Pain.  He stated I needed to call him if I was ever in the area so he could buy me a drink as I was the funniest person,  I think I will do that. 

Seems we drink a lot in the "BODY SHOP" 

Bon Nuit,  Shangri La

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



Jimmy Buffett

Good Evening!  This program is coming to you from the "BEST BODY SHOP"  in the Midwest, YES!  Ladies and Gentle men, I am saying the Best

OK, it is the Margarita talking.  We have a car in-house which belongs to the owner of the Mexican Restaurant two blocks away.  Bless his heart, when he dropped his car off, he walked to the desk and set down a VERY large plastic glass with a lid on it, saying nothing and left.  After, we were all curious and sniffed, I said I thought it was lemon aid.  I took the straw.....OMG guys this is a Margarita!!! Quickly, they got three cups and we split the very good Margarita and all was happy and content.  Wow, some people are just too cool.

It has been a good couple of days.  Cars come and Cars go.  People come into our lives and they want to discuss their accident as it was a live changing event.  OK, I understand, it is hard and stressful and no one wants their lives complicated by an accident, rentals, repair and insurance hassle.  I figured that out a long time ago.  No one is happy to come in my shop.

None the less, I am happy when they do, when their insurance checks arrive, we have to eat too.

Good night road warrier!

God Bless and stay sane,   Love, Shangri la


Wednesday, June 12, 2013




Good evening readers, those masochists who, like I, enjoy the beatings we take from the public to be in any retail businesss...good evening, folks.

I am sitting at my desk, at work, paying bills and enjoying a Long Island Ice Tea.  I decided, the hell with the bills, time to talk.  We have been through the ringer in the last three weeks, and the summer is just beginning.  I got to tell you, you have got to love the gangsters.  They provide so much entertainment and they sure have charisma!  I almost told one that the "prison walk, holding up one's pants while said pants are around one's knees", is becoming out of fashion.  Come on gents, try the GQ look!  You will get many more women, actually have the respect of the police and inspire a new generation.  What you do not know, is you do not intimidate anyone, anymore.  I still make you pay for your auto paint.

Speaking of, why does everyone call it a "PAINT JOB"  like a boob job?????  It is a paint service on your vehicle.  A "nose job, or a lube job, a blo... job."  But I hate to be asked how much is a "paint job".  It sounds so low class.  Public, it is a paint service.  When you call the contractor, do you ask how much to paint your kitchen..or how much for a kitchen job?

Oh well, so much for jobs.

I was recently contacted by a producer for reality programs to do one in my shop based upon this blog which he had read.  I know, you won't believe me, but it is the truth.  I still do not believe it.  I talked to him on the phone and exchanged many emails.  I tried to take videos and took many of the floor.  (smarty phone)  During the course of this, I broke up a fight in the shop, had two customers I had to call the police on and had two employee temper tantrums and I dared not pull my phone and take a video!  If he could have seen the drama, it would have sold many a reality show.  I guess you just have to be here.

In the course of this, I tried to envision what this young man looked like.  I visualized a fat nerd.  Sorry T.  So, being the curious type, I looked him up on facebook.  He is a very handsome young man and if I were a few years younger.........but, we agreed to stay in contact in case the future reality show biz were to require a lady body shop owner.   Really, this did happen.  So, Dave Durango, your comment about a reality show....was right on!  I told you to be careful what you wished for.

We have painted a donk for a man who is so unreasonable, we are at a loss of how to get rid of him.  We have people walk the lot and say, they want a "paint service" like that and he just thinks it is not good enough.  Let me say, he did his own body work and the spots he is unhappy are his body work, and he says he gets it, but does not want to pay and take his car, he just leaves it and says he will think about it.   WHAT A MORON.  I am amazed at the patience of my GM  Peter, to listen to him and not loose his demeanor.  (ie., Go Off)  His donk is still here and he now wants us to fix his bad bodywork, and he is willing to pay for it.  Go Peter!!!!!

Well, my Long Island Ice Tea is gone and I am going to drive home to go to bed to get up again and do this tomorrow.  God Bless everyone and please pull up your pants, mother is watching.

Good night T. from LA.  You are NOT fat and NOT a nerd.

Love you, Shangri La

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Can't afford them, can't live with them, can't live without them.......can't kill 'em......just smile....:-)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"I am out of control and at times hard to handle,

but, if you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."

6/26 - 8/62

Bon Jour,

It is hot and muggy and it is not even 10:00 AM.  Yesterday was full moon day and rum & coke evening.  Let me ask you, if your car was dinged or slightly damaged in the mall parking lot or at the grocery store, would they pay for the repairs?????  Would you even think of asking???

Well, Mr. Unrich, why did you expect me to pay for your mirror when it was fine when the car was finished, but damaged by the time you had time to pick it up, over a week later.  And why, after I did, as an act of good will buy a $79.00 part and fix it?  You, in gratitude, complained to the BBB, insulted me and stormed out.  GET REAL!  You also owe me for the original work which you did not pay for and refused to pay for when we re-did it because you were unhappy and weeping over a speck of dust at the bottom of the door.  I really do need to get better at this!

Man Drama.   I cannot take anymore, Lets all stop complaining, please.    We HAVE to put up with the clientele, so lets be happy with each other. 

So, now you are putting up with my drama......enough.

I gave everyone the weekend off, closed for the Holiday.  Mental health break!

It is the beginning of summer, we do not know
"what" is going to fall from the sky, walk in the door or call next.  "How much is a free written estimate?"  Here we go, the adventure begins.  The summer of 2013 will be fun.  I need a bodyman and a standby painter.

Bon jour, Shangri La

Sunday, April 28, 2013



Orson Welles

Good Sunday Morning Body Shop Fans!  Bon Jour Mon Amis!  Lets reflect upon the people of the shop life, the customers, applicants and employees.  The last two weeks, after several weeks of not being able to light fires under certain employees, I decided the old motto of, "change your people, or change your people." was in order.  I have learned the art of pissing someone off and having them quit, which is much better than going through the HR motions of warnings and finally firing them and then arguing with Unemployment, the state department of Morons who love to spend your money.  Did you know if you come to work drunk and get fired, the state will pay you to stay home and drink more.  The scenarios are endless.  I had a young man get pinched and not show up for work for a week.  His fiancĂ©e called and said he was in jail and she was not paying the bail, so it was unknown when he is coming back.  I replaced him and when he finally called, his job was gone.  He was way past the legal "job abandonment" laws .  Yet he was paid unemployment.  Now I am a little smarter...I piss them off and they leave.  Usually, it takes very little to anger (spoiled, lazy Neanderthals) employees of a certain mentality.  Just asking them to pick up something usually does the trick, or ask them to hang up their cell phone and look at what they are doing. 

Thus, three employees are gone.  Now am trying to find replacements who want to work.  I interviewed a young man, who came to me, and we talked for quite a while.  We agreed he was experienced, wanted the job and was to call Friday and tell me how much notice he had to give at his present job.  He did not call, so I called him Saturday.  He answered the phone and hung up on me.  It seems they ignore teaching any kind of professionalism in school anymore, along with ethics.  If high school is the only schooling some people get anymore, it seems they need to teach young people how to behave in employment positions.  I am only obligated to employee them and pay them.  It is not up to me to teach them to get up in the morning and at least fake coming to work.

So, the customers.  Had an adult man leave his car for a repair to a door which was hit and needed replaced.  The work and price was agreed upon.  There was a small dent on the rear of the SUV that the customer did not want to pay for or fix.  Upon his picking it up, the first words out of his mouth was, "You were not able to fix that dent??"  Does this sound as offensive to you as it always does to me????  I had my Hot water heater replaced a month ago, I did not ask the plumber when he was done why he did not replace my furnace too!!!!!    

A father/son duo came in a while back with an old mustang they were flipping.  It was a mess, but they were all over cheap.  Did not want to pay for ANYTHING except paint.  Were told and told of the issues that may not look good.  Cried poor, did not care, just wanted it to look better.  It ended up looking better than it had a right to.  They came in screaming about how unhappy they were and pointed out areas of body work repair that we did not do.  I reminding them that they did not want it.  I ended the argument. He said, why didn't you just fix that part on the bumper, it would have taken 10 minutes.  I said, funny thing about employees, they won't work for free.  It would take two hours, and obviously you do not know anything about body work.  He said, well, if you had called I would have paid for it.  I said, Son, you came all about budget, budget, budget (meaning cheap) and if you wanted a steak dinner, you should not have ordered a hamburger.  They paid and left with smiles on their faces.  Sometimes, I believe it is all a well planned act to try to get money back.  Woe to the business man who falls for it. 

We have not been making the magic number lately.  The number which means we can pay all the bills each week.  It is so tough on me, I get tied up in knots.  The reason is the dead weight we were carrying.  Got rid of dead weight now need to find live weight.  It never ends it is day to day, life or death and I am getting weary.  There are more changes in the wind. 

I watched Chef Ramsey and saw the difference it made when the Chef was fired and a good one hired.  Say Goodnight Gracie, Frazier has left the building.