During my undergraduate studies, I took a class entitled, “Legal Aspects of Boundary Surveying.” In it, the professor told this story about how mad he got with a mechanic:
I am a pilot and I own my own plane. I was having mechanical problems with it so I took it to a mechanic at my airport. I told the mechanic what it was doing and left him to it. A week or so later, I received a call, telling me my plane was ready.
I scheduled some time to go get it and take if for a test run the following day. I paid the mechanic and proceeded to take it out on a short flight. As I was taxiing down the runway, the engine began to sputter a bit. I immediately aborted the take-off and took it back to the mechanic.
Me: I just aborted my take-off because the plane was doing the same thing I paid you to fix.
Mechanic: I did what you asked, but I can look at it again.
Me: Well, whatever you did, it didn’t fix it.
Mechanic: Leave it here and I will look it over and work up a quote.
Me (rather indignant): Quote? I believe you need to do what you said you were going to do to start with. Why should I pay again for something you didn’t do the first time?
Mechanic (defensively): I did do what I said I did – which is exactly what you asked. I am not working on this plane for free. You wouldn’t survey for free…
Me (quite mad): Look, you can either fix it for what I paid you already – which you should have already done, or you will be hearing from my lawyer.
Mechanic (hateful): You do what you have to do, but I am NOT going to work on that plane for free – I did what you paid me for!
Me: Fine, you will be hearing from my attorney. (stomping off in a huff)
Me (hotly): Bob, I want to sue that damned mechanic that effed up my plane (I then recounted the whole story).
Bob (calmly): Ok, Bill, but how mad are you?
Me (in a huff): Oh, I am quite mad.
Bob (calmly): OK, but how mad?
Me (getting agitated): I real mad.
Bob (still calm): Yes, but how mad?
Me (getting wound up): I am really, really mad!
Bob (calmly): Alright, but how mad is that? Are you $5000 mad? Are you $10,000 mad? Just how mad are you?
I thought about this for a while and calmly decided I wasn’t as mad as I thought and opted to take the plane to a different mechanic.