When Good Mechanics Go Bad

I love the Mile End neighbourhood in Montreal. I have been hanging out in "the hood" for over twenty years. My friends live(d) here, I lived nearby in Little Italy. I frequented the coffee shops, restaurants, parties, celebrations and boxing club.
Mile End, Montreal

Mile End has changed quite a bit since I started hanging around in the area. Rents haven't been cheap for 15-20 years, but the price of a condo or house has sky rocketed in the last ten years. Poor artists, students and unemployed bohemians have been replaced in part by the employed and the hipsters. Business vacancies have become the exception rather than the rule. And cars now fill up the streets.

For the last fifteen years I would fill up my car at the Ultramar service station at the corner of St. Laurent and Bernard. It is a full service gas station with a team of mechanics. The pump attendants were always friendly and courteous.

Even with the increase in the number of vehicles, the station lost much business to the new mega Petro Canada gas station and quick stop. Always one to support the mom and pop shop over the mega-brand, I was happy to go to this Ultramar station to fill up.

I never used the garage but had only heard positive comments. Well, live and learn.

Cafe Olimpico "ODN", Mile End

On my recommendation my girlfriend took her car to the this formerly trusted garage. Georges looked at the car and quoted her over $500, plus labour to replace the gas pump. Excuse me? A new pump is $250 at most, a rebuilt or used pump is $60.
So good old Georgie-Porgie yelled at my girlfriend, insulted her, and hung up on me when I called to find out what happened.

Old Georges has had the garage for 30 years. He told me he does not care what I tell people. So Georges, here I am calling your bluff. If 500 people read this story, if I tell another 50 people, and if four people stop filling up at your pump, and one person stops getting their car tuned at your station, I will be satisfied.

Georges, you fucked up and I will tell everyone. The coffee shop is a good starting point. I will let everyone at Olimpico know, and spread the word.

I thought of different ways of dealing with this.
Go pay Georges a visit. Not worth it.
File a complaint with Ultramar. Not worth the time.
BBB? Association of mechanics? CAA? All take time and has to be done in writing.
I could go to the station, use the bathroom and take a dump on their floor... hmm...

I hate bullies. I break bullies. The guy lied, he overcharged, he bullied, he was rude and to make matters worse, he may be crazy. So, as a consumer you say let's call it a day, I'll pay the 80 bucks for the hour he claimed to have looked at the car and walk away.

I will continue to service my car at the Canadian Tire on St. Laurent in Little Italy. I have always received excellent mechanical service there. And for fill-ups, either Canadian Tire or Petro Canada.

In the end the the car was towed to a different garage. The new mechanic is charging $45 to fix the car. A fraction of the $500 Georges wanted to charge.  And I rest my case.

So, if four people I tell stop using the gas pump, that's $200 in lost revenue every 7-10 days. And $7000-$10,000 per year. At the very least the $1600 I spend on gas in a year will be spent elsewhere. Just because Georges was an asshole.


  1. That is too bad you had to experience an idiot. When I had a car I used the mechanics at two places, and for the life of me I can't remember the name of the places now. They are both on Van Horne, one is right off St.Laurent going west, just where the overpass and Van Horne meet on the north side. Great guys there, would even refuse to do work if it wasn't needed immediately and the other one right nest to the Outremont metro station. But I haven't had a car in over 7 years so I can't really vouch for the service in recent years. I would pick up my Communauto car from that Ultramar as a last resort, I guess now it will be my last, last resort choice.

    1. Vahan, I know exactly where that is.
      I've had good experiences with the Canadian Tire in Little Italy. Best is living and working n a Metro line.

  2. Holy crap, remind me never to mess with you.

    Well.. I might mess with you just a little to see what you'll do. Poke the bear a little, as it were...

    1. I am a gentleman Ziva. Although, I was voted most likely to hurt someone.

    2. Ah, but there is a world of difference between hurt and harm.

  3. Replies
    1. You said it meleah. But the car is fixed. $45 + labour.