I washed my cell phone last night. That’s right. I
laundered it right along with my dusty, greasy work clothes. On the plus
side, it smelled like a mountain spring. On the downside, it was deader than a
doornail. I chalk it up to getting out of my routine. Given that it
is my one and only connection to the outside world this week, I make a note to
take care of the situation at lunch today. There’s gotta be a Best Buy
somewhere in Wooster.
Driving to the shop, I realize that I’ve seen more cows,
horses and silos in the last two days than in my entire lifetime. I’m a city
slicker. I didn’t know people still farmed.
When I arrive at the store, co-owner Dan Nagy gives me a
tour of the shop, which is 6,000 square feet and features a separate office for
estimates and Hertz rental cars. Hertz is on site at all Nagy’s locations.
Tattoos and Earrings
Introductions start. One thing I notice right off is that many
of the techs here have tattoos and earrings. Maybe I’ll get one at SEMA this
Jerry the Frame Tech has four years of experience. He
used to work in construction which I’m finding is common among collision
Larry the Painter also used to work in construction.
Asked why he got out, he says, "I don’t know, I guess I hit my thumb one
too many times with the hammer."
Rich the Production Manager just got back from lean
training offered by BASF. Slowly but surely, he says, the shop is developing
into a lean, mean machine.
In no time, I am block sanding. Damon was kind enough to
let me help out. He’s 21, talkative and works like a horse. After his shift at
Nagy’s, he will start his second job as a semi truck repairer. All told, he
works 70 hours a week.
"You must make great bank for being 21," I say.
"Well, I gotta make the payments on my truck
somehow," he says.
At lunch, I buy a new phone and insert my old SIM card,
which apparently is impervious to anything. But as I predicted, I’ve lost all
my contacts because I didn’t save them to the SIM card. Note to all my
collision friends out there: Please send me your numbers! Efren, Jeanne, Lee, Aaron…you know who you are!
When I get back to the shop, I’m bound and determined to
make it a cleaner place. I make my intentions known, and a couple guys
let me in on which brooms suck and which ones work the best. Before long, I’m
like a Tasmanian devil, creating a cloud of dirt and dust that rivals the great
Dust Bowl of the 1930s. I kind of feel like Pig Pen from the Peanuts. Just like
when Pink Floyd’s "Comfortably Numb" came on the radio the other day
when my head was floating from too many fumes, I find it no coincidence that
Metallica’s "Enter Sandman" is blaring as I sweep myself into a
Even though I enjoyed getting dust all over me, I can’t
say I enjoyed it as much as one tech, who screamed "Oh yeah!" as one
of his colleagues blew filler dust all over him. I don’t know why, but watching
him, I thought of the famous image of Marilyn Monroe standing over the sewer
Along for the Ride
Tomorrow, I get to do a "ride-along" with Dan
Nagy. We’ll start at the Orrville store, then visit the Spurgeon store (part
of Spurgeon Chevrolet) in Wooster and the store in Millersburg. I’m told I may
see some Amish buggies at this store. I wonder if Nagy’s has ever repaired
Visit www.bodyshopbusiness.com soon to read about Day 4
More of Jason’s adventures: