It’s not easy for a workshop to stay honest. The temptation to make a bit extra is often strong and the occasions to do so frequently arise. We try hard to be honest but the other day we found it nearly impossible.

An up-country customer pulled up in a Citi Golf and asked us to change the cambelt as soon as possible. We explained that we would have to first get the belt, its tensioner and any gaskets, but could do the job in two days’ time. He responded by asking me for an assurance that my mechanics are as good as the ones in Gauteng. He changed his tune when I said he could always go somewhere else.

When the customer collected the car, he informed me that his friend had the same job done in Gauteng for R1 800 and that he would not pay anything more than that. I explained that we not only changed the belt but also the tensioner, but, before I could give him the bill, he interrupted rudely to tell me again that he would not pay more than R1 800. I eventually managed to calm him down and gave him our bill for R743,56. The look on his face was worth it. I don’t suppose he’ll ever know how close I came to charging him double that amount.