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I recently encountered the expression "the man in the body shop", and I have absolutely no idea what it means. All help is welcome.

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body shop:

Date: 1954
a shop where automotive bodies are made or repaired

See this article for "body shop" context:

From the sales floor to the body shop to the office there is a resounding feeling that this Ford dealership is a good place to work.
The man in the body shop pointed out that the air filter system overhead was something that Dean Green voluntarily installed for the welfare of the employees.

so... basically "the mechanic", the technician, the repairman.

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    Excellent, I will have to point this out to my wife the next time she tries to drag me into one of these. "Darling, the body oil they are advertising is not the kind of oil you think it is!" – RegDwigнt Aug 22 '10 at 11:22
  • The longer form 'automobile body shop' occurs in the Classified Index of Occupations for the Fiftenth Census 1930 – Mario Elocio Dec 27 '13 at 2:18
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Without knowing the context, I can think of body shop as "a garage where repairs to the bodies of vehicles are carried out"; the phrase would then refer to somebody who repairs automotive bodies. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary dates body shop to 1954.

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When your car breaks down, you take it to the shop (rarely referred to as a garage any more.) When your car gets dented in a fender-bender, you take it to the body shop.

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In the UK, body shop means this http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/, The Body Shop http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Body_Shop, a chain of shops selling products for the body, face, hair and home.

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Body shopping can also refer to consulting companies that hire people and then provide them directly to their clients for the clients to manage (as opposed to the consulting companies managing them). The wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_shopping seems to focus on offshore / outsourced work, but it can apply to other consulting companies as well.

In this case the "body shop" would refer to the consulting company, and so "the man in the body shop" might be someone who works for that kind of consulting company.

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