September 2, 2006

Another Visit to the Service Department.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 11:47 am

Wrench.jpgI thought, “I’m so screwed.”

I had just turned over my keys to one of the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Representatives at the Altar of the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Desk and headed for my spot in the waiting room, which has been the source of blogfodder on a couple previous occasions. I opened the door to see that all the seats were taken, meaning I would be relegated to the “lower” waiting room, which really isn’t a room at all. Rather, it is a concrete-floored area in the vicinity of the Altar of the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Desk, where spill-over supplicants to the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Representatives are sent.

In the “lower” waiting room, there are no donuts (OK – I have never eaten dealer donuts in the past) and no coffee (OK – I brought my own, thank you). I have always suspected that the dealer-donuts and coffee contain a psychoactive drug that makes supplicants even more compliant. There was, however, an omni-annoying television blaring ESPN (not OK, but I figure that some crap like “Regis” must be blaring from the omni-annoying television in the “upper” waiting room.)

What really frosted my stindeens was that I forgot to bring a book to read (all the dealer-supplied reading material being in the “upper” waiting room). So, I pulled a mini-legal pad from my briefcase and decided to jot down potential bits of blogfodder. Strange thing is that the woman sitting next to me was doing exactly the same thing on exactly the same kind of mini-legal pad. I wondered if she might be a blogger. Perhaps she was taking notes about the sorry ass who just sat down next to her and who is doing exactly the same thing that she was doing and wondering if I was a blogger.

Of course, I did not ask her, because one supplicant to Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Representatives does not speak with other supplicants. Maybe it’s a fear that speaking with another supplicant will transfer the automotive maladies of that supplicant to your car – automotive cooties, if you will.

Anyway, for better or for worse, the “lower” waiting room is within sight and earshot of the mini dramas that unfold as the supplicants are provided with the diagnoses of their vehicles’ condition. Supplicants are not afforded the luxury of privacy in these matters. One’s car’s diagnosis, prognosis and the cost of remediation is for all to hear.

As such, we in the “lower” waiting room witnessed one of the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Representatives explain to a very old couple that the problem for which they had sought service had been repaired, but that a “safety check” revealed that the tires on their car were “dry-rotted”.

I thought, “Dry-rotted? How old could the farookin’ car be? Did they go ‘halvsies’ on it when they began dating, which probably was some time around 1925?

The Master of the Automotive Universe Service Representative explained, “You should think about replacing them, because it is a safety issue. I’m not saying that you have to do it now, but you should think about it.

After the Master of the Automotive Universe Service Representative returned to the Altar of the Automotive Masters of the Universe Service Desk, the two old people must have thought about it as well as the flaming, painful death that can result from riding around on dry-rotted tires, because the lady walked over to the Altar of the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Desk, and after a few minutes returned to give the old man the story.

“That’s an awful lot for tires,” said the old guy.

The lady responded, “They’re Michelins”.

The old guy thought a minute and said, “Michelins? Those are Goodyears on there now. They were on there when we got the car.”

“But these are Michelins”

Shortly after that, they (the owners of new “Michelins”) were told they were free to leave.

As they walked past me, I could not help but think that they too looked just a little dry-rotted.


Next, I saw a different Master of the Automotive Universe Service Representative tell a supplicant, who had a Blue Tooth thing plugged into his ear all the while he was in the waiting room (and therefore deserving of scorn), “The problem is that one of your hoses is dry-rotted”.

I figure that the dealer must have been running a special on dry-rot.


A few minutes later, one of the Masters of the Automotive Universe Service Representatives gave one of the supplicants, who had been summoned from the “upper” waiting room, some bad news:

Service Rep: “Sir, that problem you have where the windshield wipers won’t ‘park’ after you turn them off?”

Supplicant: “Yes?”

Service Rep: “Well that position on your wiper motor is shot. There are four positions in that motor, and the other three positions may go at any time. Parts and labor for that comes to $385.00”.

Supplicant: “Did you say $385.00?”

Service Rep: “Yeah, and your front brakes are just about shot too. Parts and labor for that will run you $250.00 [I’m not sure of this number, but I think it was something like $250.00]. Your trans fluid is also burned. It’s supposed to be cherry red, but yours is burned black. That’s gotta be drained and replaced with new fluid, or you could wind up with a trans problem. The cost on that is $160.00.

Supplicant: (reeling from the financial flaying he was experiencing) “Jeez, money is a little tight right now. I think you should fix the brakes and change the trans fluid.”

Service Rep: “OK, but you don’t want us to replace the wiper motor?”

Supplicant: “Well, they’re still working; they just don’t park when I shut them off. I’ll have to get that fixed another time.”

Service Rep: “I don’t know. Like I said, one position on the motor is shot and the others could go at any time. If the motor completely goes and you’re driving in the rain, you have a real problem. We are supposed to get heavy rain this weekend. [The remnants of hurricane Ernesto are supposed to arrive this weekend], and, you know, it’s really a safety issue. I’m not saying you have to replace it today, but you should think about it.” [I figure he must have studied under the Service Guy who sold the old people the “Michelins”.]

Supplicant: (looking like a beaten man) “OK. Replace the wiper motor too”

I was quietly wondering if the guy’s wiper blades were dry-rotted.

The guy retreated to the “upper” waiting room, presumably to call home with the bad news, or to slash his wrists.

Next thing I knew, I was released! My oil had been changed, and I was free to go. The Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car is still under warranty, so everything was found to be just fine. I guess the dry-rot and the burned out fluids and motors begin the day after the warranty expires.

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