Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Word of Mouth

In the spirit of “don’t wait until it’s too late, to say what you think of someone” … particularly when it’s something nice! … I now offer up a brief testimonial for a local merchant.

Some years ago, as I was making the late-afternoon commute from my workplace in the Blackstone Valley to my home near Boston College [yes, I know it was a long commute], I stopped at a supermarket to grab some mobile supper, and when I came out of the store and tried to start my Saturn, it wouldn’t start. I turned the key and heard a “click” and absolutely nothing else. It was dark, and I was many miles from home with a car that was acting only as a gigantic paperweight.

Happily, luckily, across the street was a gas station with service bays, and it was open. I asked them if they could help with a dead battery or whatever it was. They could. The gentleman somehow produced a tow truck and got my car across the street, and did something (which escapes me) to fix the problem (the exact details of which also escape me). He allowed me to go home that night – and not have to, oh, I don’t know, spend the night in the produce section of Shaw’s, maybe.

Since then, I’ve taken my car to him when it needs a-fixin’. Currently I live in Worcester, MA, and this gentleman’s automotive service business is located in Milford, MA. Via a pair of major highways, that’s a 45-minute drive if the traffic behaves. Neither my first Saturn nor my current one have broken down since that night, so all my repairs have been of the sorts that have allowed me to bring my car to this gentleman to have it worked on.

His name is Ray Geara, and he used to run Milford Getty, until something happened and now the BP logo is out front. But it was, is, and will be, just Ray’s place.

When you visit Ray’s service station, many times you can’t find him. He’s there, okay; he’s just moving very very very fast. He’s running around – shuffling cars about – checking in with his talented staff of mechanics – checking in with newly-arrived customers, customers waiting for cars, customers who call his mobile phone … and he is always, without fail, the consummate customer service professional. Everyone he talks to, he treats as if their car is the most important one in the lot.

When I visit Ray, even if I arrive unannounced, nine times out of ten he will immediately find a way to clear a service bay and perform my oil change, inspection, or whatever other little tiny thing I need done. No waiting. Right in. Now. And that tenth time, he will apologize profusely for not being able to (and usually the reason is because he has a zillion cars in the lot, and I’ll look at him and say, “Ray, you’re a busy man”). He often says to me, “you come so far, from Worcester, you’re so good to do that, of course I take care of you.” I often reply, “I come this distance because you do great work, man.” And our Mutual Admiration Society skit spirals out of control. “You’re awesome.” “No, you’re awesome!” –Well, we’ve never actually performed that dialogue, but we sometimes get close.

And any time I’ve been sitting in Ray’s waiting room, while his folks are working on my car, and there’s someone else sitting there for the same reason, inevitably we get into a conversation that starts out, “Ray’s great, isn’t he?”

When I was growing up, my family took our cars to a pair of mechanics in town who knew our whole family by name; it wasn’t the era where guys in spiffy uniforms came charging out of the gas station, wearing white gloves and checking your oil, wiping your windshield and making conversation while they filled your tank … but that little routine was still a relatively recent memory.

But for most of the first years of my driving life, I got car repairs done at dealerships. Dealers’ maintenance people have two jobs: to fix things that go wrong, and to find other things to fix, usually fixing them first and telling their customers about it afterward. “Oh by the way, we found this and this and this and this. It’s all explained on the bill.” Which is of course, by that time, humongous.

By contrast, Ray and his people do great work; they do what you need done; and if they find something else that needs fixing, they talk about it as if it needs doing in order for your car to run safely, and never give a sense that they’re suggesting this because they need the extra dough. They don’t, as the Car Talk guys would say, appear to have boat payments to take care of.

In the past year or so, I’ve had a number of contractors and other professionals come to my house and perform work (chimney; roof work; removal of deceased animals; extermination of live insects; etc.). If I like their work, I make sure to recommend them to other people. My exterminator came highly recommended by a friend of mine. In short, I think word-of-mouth business is the best sort. It beats closing your eyes and landing your finger on a random spot on a Yellow Page.

So this is all a giant word-of-mouth reference. If you live anywhere near Milford, MA, and you need a car mechanic whom you can trust, Ray Geara’s your guy. He’s on Prospect Street (Route 140) in Milford, just down the street from the Milford Regional Medical Center (corner of Routes 140 and 16).

Across from the Shaw’s supermarket.

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August 31, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. A good, trustworthy mechanic is hard to come by! I’ve got one like that, too – another Getty-turned-BP station. But mine is a mere five minutes away on foot. Lucky me.

    Comment by Amanda Roeder | August 31, 2011 | Reply

  2. Mine is a Midas, on 9E in Natick just after you go under Rt 27. Case in point: our minivan’s brakes were squealing, so we figured we needed a brake job. Got a call a couple hours later: no brake job, just needed cleaning/oil etc., so they took ’em apart, did the work, and…didn’t charge me a dime, because we do lots o’ business and they just take care of us. The second came first, so we don’t go anywhere else anymore. And we’re very happy about that.

    Comment by Holly | August 31, 2011 | Reply

  3. p.s. if anyone needs an exterminator, I know a good ‘un… :o)

    Comment by Holly | August 31, 2011 | Reply

  4. […] great, ran great, and had the usual Saturn brake / front-end suspension issues. As I’ve chronicled, I don’t mind forwarding my worthy mechanic a few bucks every so often – he’s got a […]

    Pingback by “It’s Not the Years, It’s the Mileage”, Redux « Editorial License | February 12, 2012 | Reply


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