Saturday, September 22, 2007

Locksmith Ethics Class

I finished off my eight hours of State of Texas mandated continuing education locksmith classes; one block of instruction was on Ethics. This was, for all practical purposes, the same class information that was given two years ago; even taught by the same person.

We were broken down into smaller groups and situational problems were handed out in order to talk about and come up with acceptable or ethical solutions. One group of locksmiths were told that a large industrial account wanted to install new locks that would make it more difficult for their employees to duplicate keys. The locks that were being replaced were high quality and almost new.

The ethics question involved whether to simply install the new locks and, after removing the hardware that was like new, keep those locks for later resale. If you kept the locks and resold them would you sell them as new or as used.

Several answers were given which indicated proper ethics; mention to the person who authorized the job that the old hardware technically belonged to the company and did they wish to keep the old locks or did it matter, giving them a chance to approve your taking the profitable items as free inventory. If given permission to take the locks and eventually resell them to make sure they were sold as used; but since their quality was that of new to include a full warranty of parts and labor.

The best answer came from a fellow against the back wall, “Charge them a dispersal fee for hauling the old locks off just like they do when you buy a new set of tires or a new battery”. Most of the room began a healthy belly laugh that rolled around the room; I was taking notes.

I can see myself carefully removing pieces of a broken ignition switch, one the thieves destroyed while attempting to steal the vehicle. I’d take a brand new switch out of the box, code the switch to the customer’s key, put everything where it’s supposed to go and lastly, put the broken ignition in the box to be tossed later on.

“Sir, your bill comes to $170; that breaks down to $25 travel charge, $50 to extract the broken ignition switch, $35 to match the new switch with your existing key so one key fits all the locks, $45 for new ignition switch parts and $15 dispersal fee on the old ignition switch.” I might do that some day down the road, as a joke and only with a customer with a really good sense of humor, and then only when I’m sure he’s not armed.

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