June 8, 2007

A Lesson Here, Methinks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:04 pm

japanese-flag.jpgI have written here, here and here about the horrors of taking the Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car to the dealer for service. I should note that the Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car is decidedly American, and the dealership runs by what I can only assume to be American standards.

I recently took Mrs. Parkway’s car to the selling dealership for service. The car is a bit more than one-year old and still doesn’t have 5,000 miles on it, but it was definitely time for an oil change and whatever else is regularly done, service-wise, at 5,000 miles. I should note here that Mrs. Parkway’s car is of the Japanese persuasion.

I was somewhat nervous with the prospect of becoming a supplicant to yet another Service Area of a dealership. As it turns out, there was quite a difference between this Service Area and that I have become accustomed to.

When I called for an appointment, I was not told, “Bring it in any time on X day.” Instead, after being asked what time of day I would like to come in for service and having indicated a preference for mornings, I was told, “Our next opening is for June X, at 7:45 a.m. Will that be OK?”

I thought, Holy crap! This is like making a Doctor’s appointment.

I was told that I had been assigned to “Joe on the Blue Team.” This too was strange to me, having been accustomed to standing with the other supplicants at the Service Area counter, waiting for someone to pay attention to me.

I made it to the dealership exactly at the appointed time. When getting service on the Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car, I would have to spend several minutes trying to find a parking space in the lot, which has more craters in it than did the Battlefield of Verdun. By contrast, when I pulled up to the Japanese persuasion dealership, I saw that there was “valet parking.” (Holy Crap!)

The valet guy said, “Do you have an appointment sir?” When I answered that I did have an appointment, he placed a paper mat on the car’s floor and handed me a slip of paper that contained my plate number and mileage. He wished me a nice day and took the car away. I was getting lightheaded by this time.

I walked into the “Reception Area,” a nicely appointed room with several people, organized by their team colors, sitting at the ready to do the necessary intake. I proceeded to the “Blue” guy who verified my appointment and took down my information, including my desire to wait while the car was being serviced.

He pointed me to the stairs, which led to the upstairs waiting room. I had visions of the cramped waiting room at the Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car dealership, and I prepared myself for the worst.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the room was large and well lit. It contained a coffee machine (one that grinds the beans before it makes the coffee), which offered a wide array of coffee choices – free, of course. There were also an ample supply of Dunkin’ Donuts on hand. The room contained numerous copies of the latest newspapers and a slew of recent magazines.

There was, of course, the obligatory television, but it was an impressive large, wall-mounted flat screen number. What really slayed me was the “Children’s Corner.” The Children’s Corner is a separate small room (separated from the Waiting Room by a door) full of things for children to play with to keep them from becoming fidgety from just sitting around.

The best thing was the “Quiet Room.” Yes, a “Quiet Room.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. I hope that when the person who had the “Quiet Room” idea finally throws the sixes, he or she will rocket directly to Heaven at warp speed. The Quiet Room contained a couple easy chairs and about a half-dozen carrels, much like one sees in libraries, each equipped with internet connections. Genius, I tell you. Pure genius.

I think it fair to say that the Dealership did everything reasonably possible to make waiting for one’s car as painless as possible.

Of course, there was some bad news.

For example, like the Big, Fat, Black Capitalist Car Dealership , the Japanese Persuasion Dealership has its share of cell-phone blabbing morons. One woman took off her shoes, tucked her bare feet under her ass on the couch in the Waiting Room and loudly talked and giggled non-stop on her goddamned cell phone, and she did it in a foreign language (It sounded like a dialect spoken somewhere near Calcutta).

In addition, as I mentioned, there is also a television, which almost certainly guarantees an earful of annoying nonsense. On the day in question, the Morning Show featured some nineteen-year old woman dressed something like the people that the Starship Enterprise might encounter might wear “singing” her shit, which included what she indicated was the “Number One song in America today.” It had something to do with an Umbrella. On the Auditory Assault Scale, this piece of shit scored a solid TEN.

Between the Calcutta Phone Talker and the horrendous television spacewoman’s “singing,” I retreated to the Quiet Room.

There was about a half dozen people in the Quiet Room, including one woman working on her laptop in the carrel opposite mine. We were isolated from the Calcutta Phone Talker and the screeching spacewoman – it was sweet.

But then, just when I thought I had arrived in Dealership Heaven, the woman on the computer must have called her company Help Desk on her cell phone. I couldn’t believe it. In an otherwise dead-silent room, I was treated to something like the following:

Would that be under “Tools?”

It says, “Temporary Files,” and it is asking me if I want to delete them? Should I click “yes?”

It says, Internet Explorer, but it asks for my password.

Yes, I entered my password, but it wouldn’t work.

Yes, I entered [the woman shared her password with everyone in the Quiet Room!], and it still didn’t work. Should I try a new password? How about [Now, we all knew her new password!]?

OK, I see it now. Should I click “OK”?

This went on for ten minutes or so. I was hoping she would not treat us to a download of a new goddamned operating system.

After about another 15 minutes a voice came over the intercom informing me to return to the Service Desk as Mrs. Parkway’s car was done.

All this proved to me that, despite best efforts to make waiting for car to be serviced as comfortable as possible, one can always rely on douche bags showing up to shit things up.

Perhaps the Japanese Persuasion Dealership needs a Harakiri Room.

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