Last month I decided to take my 10 year-old John Deere walk-behind lawn mower to the shop. There were several items that needed attention, but the one that pushed me into action was the clutch cable. When that broke, I became the "self" in self-propelled and that got old fast.
So what does one do when their trusty John Deere needs service in Holland? You remember that you just live in another country, not another planet. So you go to johndeere.com, click on Dealer Locator, click on The Netherlands, put in your postal code and taa daa....you find that there is a dealer about 10 km away. Not bad.
|The dealer's sign. Tuin is Dutch for garden which is what they call their yards.|
I decided to call first, just to make sure they serviced lawn equipment. For most local calls you apologize to people, tell them (in Dutch) that you speak very little Dutch and would they mind speaking English. Most Dutch reply that they only speak a little English, then go on to conduct the entire conversation in very good English. When I asked the John Deere dealer if he could speak English, the reply was quite simply no (or nee). So we both talked past each other in our native tongue long enough to convince me that they did indeed repair lawn equipment.
Based on that phone experience I knew that I needed a different approach to describe the repairs I wanted done. I was reminded of my haircuts while I lived in Hong Kong, where the barber didn't speak English -- I didn't want to repeat those results with my lawn mower. So I typed my five requested repair items into Google, hit the translate button, printed the results and away I went.
When he read the list, the repairman seemed to understand what I wanted and sent me on my way. Two weeks later I got a phone call from someone speaking a lot of Dutch. After a bit of listening I realized who it was and said "my mower is ready". There was a very happy "Jaa" on the other end.
|If the repairs had not been possible, I could have spent 1500 euro on a new tuinmachine.|