Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Miss Information is annoyed by the service department

Miss Information has decided that she hates her car dealership and is never having her car serviced there again. It was time for her regular scheduled oil change and there were a couple of niggling automotive problems, so she decided to take the car in on her day off. Life would be good. Here was her plan for the day--take the car in first thing in the morning, wait for the car, get the car back around noonish and spend the rest of the afternoon drinking coffee somewhere cozy (too cold for the beach this week), then go to the 6pm step class followed by late night yoga where she would achieve perfect relaxation.

It was such a good plan.

She forgot just how annoying the car place is. Once, when she called to schedule an oil change she was assured that she could just come in anytime without an appointment for the quick lube service. The next week when she went to the quick lube counter, they chewed her out for not having an appointment. (A tiny part of Miss Information wants to use these people as her mentors.) Anyway, now she always makes an appointment.

She did. She called Thursday to tell them to get ready. She wanted new tires. She wanted an oil change. Also her brakes were kind of acting funny, would they mind checking into that?

She showed up at the predetermined time. As always she was ignored by everyone except the cranky man who jockeys the cars around. He always yells at her because she never puts her car in the right place and the right place changes every time. Miss Information doesn't let this bother her, while she tries to grow a third hand waiting for the service people to notice her, she has observed that the car jockey guy yells at everybody who parks in the service area. It may be that there are no "right places" to park for this guy. Well, at least he acknowledges the existence of the customers which is more than the service people do.

There are usually several staff members working the service counter--insofar as looking distracted and ignoring people can be called "working". The customers just stand around in a clump waiting to be noticed, too demoralized from their encounter with car-jockey-yelling-guy to interrupt the important conversations the counter people are having.

Well, Miss Information will not be ignored. She has a new strategy. She goes to the left hand side of the counter and stares intently at a service person. Once they make eye-contact, they're dead. Unfortunately, the first guy was on to this plan, so she took a giant step to the right and stared at the next guy. Contact was made! She explained she was here for her appointment. Guy number 2 looked her up in the database and directed her to "her" service guy. She took another giant step to the right and waited in front of guy number 3--whose name Miss Information has forgotten, so we'll just call him "Ed".

Ed was on the phone with another customer explaining that the service department had committed some sort of grievous error in conducting this person's emissions test. The conversation went on and on. As much as Miss Information enjoys eavesdropping on other people's phone conversations, she was now having serious doubts about Ed. Still, Ed was "her" service guy and she waited patiently. He eventually got off the phone and Miss Information finally had the attention of the slowest car service counter guy on the planet. Yes, she confirmed, she was here for her appointment. Yes, when she called she did express an interest in new tires. This caused Ed to make a phone call (he misdialled the number several times, however) to the person in charge of such things. No, of course they didn't actually have the tires but they could get some today, sometime, probably. Oh, and by the way did Miss Information know whether her tires are 31s or 33s? Here's what Miss Information knows about tires: they are round, black and they smell bad when you set them on fire. She does not know whether they are 31s or 33s.

And now she is starting to get the tiniest bit irritated. She didn't just drop in and ask for tires, she called in advance. Is it too much to ask that they actually arrange for there to be tires? Failing that, they have her entire car history on file. Couldn't somebody have figured out the 31/33 question ahead of time?

But no matter. Ed is positive he can make it all happen. He gets Miss Information to describe the noise her brakes are making--it's a groaning, not a grinding (he types in grinding anyway) and suggests that she not wait for her car. After all, they have to get those pesky tires ordered but he thinks she can have her car back by 5 pm.

Miss Information goes home and waits for Ed to call. Getting her car back at 5 will probably make it difficult to get to that step class, but it is possible and she's hopeful.

At least until Ed calls around 4:30. "So," he says, "Do you want us to get started on this brake work, then?"

Um, yeah--Miss Information leaves her beloved car with you bastards so you can fix it and you don't even start thinking about doing it for 6.5 hours? She assures Ed that she would like her brakes fixed, oh, sometime during the millennium, if it's not too damn much trouble, thanks.

"Ok, then," says Ed. "And we'll get those tires put on too."

Miss Information is forced to conclude that the mechanics have spent the entire day listening to her CDs.

Ed promises to call when the car is ready. Oh, does Miss Information want to know how much this is all going to cost? Not really, but she agrees to hear the total just to make Ed happy. Ed doesn't know. He could call back in 5 minutes after he adds it all up, if she wants. She decides she'd rather be surprised. She watches her evening plans dissolve while she waits for Ed to call back. Finally at about 7 pm she desperately calls the service department. She needs to catch a bus right now in order to get to the dealership before it closes--is there any chance her car might be ready? Ed promises.

Miss Information makes amazing time. She arrives at the dealership with the faint hope of making the late night yoga class, but she's forgotten--Ed is the slowest human being alive. He goes into great detail about the invoice...he may have explained why they opted to use a 12 point Ariel font on their forms. Miss Information never listens to this stuff. Is the car fixed? How much is it going to cost? These are the things she needs to know. She snatches her keys off the counter as Ed very slowly processes her credit card.

He tells her they've discovered a problem with the engine. He thinks it may be the water pump, but they aren't sure. Well, geez, maybe if they'd had the car for a little longer they could get around to it.

Ed concludes the relationship by giving her way too much information about his work schedule. This might be helpful if she were ever coming back...for example she could avoid him, but she's really never coming back. So, goodbye Ed. Have a nice life. You might want to consider amphetamines.

So, anyway, Miss Information missed the yoga class but the important thing is that tomorrow is another day and she has her car back--complete with new tires, repaired brakes and a water pump problem and she can drive wherever she wants--at least until her engine blows out.


At 12:38 PM, Blogger Computus Interruptus said...

You're doing the right thing getting a new source of service for your auto - not that you need my affirmation.

From the Parking Nazi to the 'slow' service staff you're the victim of an organization with no idea of customer service.

Undoubtedly they are hustling you for big bucks when they tell you something is wrong with your engine. NEVER listen to this stuff unless it confirms a reason why you took the car to them.

My recommendations:
Ask around for a reliable and cost effective service point; the small mom and pop type not a dealership.
Be assertive and ask them questions if they recommend some service. What? Why? How much? How long? Don't be afraid to say you don't understand what they are saying; ask for explanation. Then tell them you want to think about it until next service. This will give you time to think about it and maybe get some advice if it is a big ticket item.
Dealerships are used to jerking people around and then charging an arm and a leg for it. Don't play their game.

At 5:16 PM, Blogger adrienne said...

This sounds exactly like the Chrysler Jeep dealership here. Oh, and when they tell you you desperately need to have your pin striping replaced, tell them to shove it.

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At 12:04 AM, Anonymous Joyce said...

Need car service or limousine for transportation i guess need to call


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