In the old days it used to be pretty straight cut most Triumph specialist's/suppliers were Triumph enthusiasts turned parts purveyors so brought with them a grounding in technical knowledge. These days it's more difficult, when was the last time you saw your preferred specialist turn up for work, or attend an event in a Triumph? Factor in the all invading spectre of public liability worries (and it's associated insurance implications) and it's not to difficult to understand why some are reluctant to help in your hour of need. Indeed I have been in competitors shops and noticed the proliferation of signs stating something like 'due to insurance company guidelines we are unable to offer any technical advice' or words to that effect.
We (John Kipping's/Canley Classics) have always been known for our freely given technical advice based on our own usage of a fleet of dissimilar Triumph's that have been used (and abused!) for 30 odd years. That enthusiasm however is waining as others loose interest for whatever reason and the burden is shifted to the few of us that still care to proffer an opinion. It's not helped by the increasing numbers of waif and stray customers of other specialists who cast around for advice in the absence of any from the people they normally buy their stuff from. A good example of which we shall call Mr X. Mr X had been a regular caller, so regular in fact that the sales people here got to recognise his voice over the period of 18 months or so he had been calling on average once or twice a month. In the end they would know without him asking to put him straight through to someone with a bit of technical nonce. Then someone thought to ask him his name/customer account number, to which he replied 'oh I don't buy anything from you, I get my parts from supplier XYZ, but they never help with technical advice'. He should have thought through his answer more carefully! Now the sales people here filter technical enquires as a matter of course, and do you know an interesting statistic that has come to light as a result? Well it's not exact by any means, but I'm being told only about 20% of these enquirees are coming from our own customers.
Harping back to the 'old days' even more, back then if a punter asked an opinion of a specialist it was taken as semi gospel based on the fact that punter respected that opinion because of the specialists experience. These days it's all changed, it seems most are now canvasing opinion, and with the help of the tinternet that opinion can come from almost anywhere. One gets a little disenchanted when you have just spent 20 minutes on the phone to someone advising him how to do a job you have done a thousand times before only to find later that same person asking the same question on the World Wide Web through various club forums, or newsgroups! Time is precious, and never more so as staffing levels reduce, and workload increases, please remember that before calling anyone still willing to spend a little time helping.
You might think miserable old bugger (only the wife is allowed to call me that) but sometimes I dread Friday afternoons when everybody else and his dog have finished work early and feels the need to speak to me about seized trunnions, or Monday mornings when punter X of supplier Z has wrestled all weekend with, and failed to, remove his rear hub with three legged pullers, oxy/acetylene, and a BBH (Bloody Big Hammer). Sometimes it starts to feel like groundhog day, can I hear Sonny and Cher playing on the radio?