15 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Mr (and Mrs) Park Its’ Holiday

We finally went and did it. After three years, what with the pandemic and all, Mrs P and I finally managed to get away on holiday abroad this summer. It wasn’t straightforward though, then after the last couple of years, would you expect anything else? However, it did provide a salutary lesson that we were able to bring back to Parkit Motors, along with the bottle of local tipple, and the funny hat.

We had booked the flights in about February, so by August when our trip was actually taking place it was clear that we might face some disruption, what with all the stories in the news about staff shortages, cancelled flights and ruined holidays. Fortunately, as we have a place on the Costa Del Sol of our own, Casa Del Parkit if you will, we did not need to worry about hotel bookings being upended if our flights did not go exactly when we thought they would.

We kept an eye on our bookings all the time just in case we received an email to say there would be changes, but as the day of our flight dawned, all seemed well. However, when we got to the airport, it was chaos. There were huge queues, and when we finally got to check-in, we were told that the flight had been cancelled. We were being segued onto the flight at the same time the following day. The passenger service agent, nice Spanish lady funnily enough, very patient in a stressful situation, said we could book into a hotel for which we could claim back the costs, or we could go home. As the airport was not far for us, we opted to go home.

Upon our return the next day, the same Spanish lady was there, and she was able to process us, deal with our bags, and we even saw her at the gate when we got on the flight. When we got to our place, we pulled off the dustsheets and pulled open a bottle of red wine. With my feet up watching the sun set, our experiences over the previous 24 hours got me thinking about the garage. Obviously, over the last couple of years, we have had some issues with getting parts in, and this has caused us headaches with our customers. Of course, if we had cars in from customers and already on the ramp before we realised there was not going to be work being performed that day, and we then had to call those customers to get them to take the car away, then we’d have big problems.

It can happen to any garage, and we’ve had it in the past, but we have worked really hard to avoid it lately. A lot of it comes down to the sterling work of Mrs P at the desk. We are only a little business, but as I see it, we have been handling the sputtering return to normal life since the pandemic loosened its grip better than major international companies like the airlines. I think the same could be said for many businesses in our sector, and perhaps the industry as a whole.

We have a lot of things that need correcting in our industry, but we do a lot of things really well. Our holiday was a little “well done” to ourselves, and I think all of you should give yourselves a pat on the back. You deserve it.