Anyone who knows me knows that I sometimes, every once in awhile, can maybe, occasionally, have a bit of a temper. Nowadays, I do a pretty good job of keeping it in check, but every so often the Beast emerges, especially when I perceive some injustice in the world…or some, usually insignificant, slight directed at me.
So, for several months I had a tire that kept losing air on my Acura MDX–aka Black Beauty. During the last couple of oil changes I kept telling my mechanic about it and he’s like: “It’s normal for tires to lose air.”
Of course, this tire would go flatter much quicker than any other tire.
Finally, it was time for the dreaded Virgina state vehicle inspection. Naturally, the tires were worn from being off balance all the time and I was informed I needed new tires on my 10 year old vehicle. This is our “extra” car that we pretty much only drive when we are taking the kayaks out, so we don’t drive it much anymore…and we didn’t want to invest a lot in maintenance.
To their credit our garage understood this and recommended some, relatively, inexpensive tires for us. The tires got changed, but it ended up being a week before I could pick up the car due to my travel/work schedule.
I go to pick up the car and…the battery is dead. The garage kindly jumped the car for us. I didn’t bother to make it an issue that the battery died while in their care.
I drove the car one time after returning home with the new tires. Again, we don’t drive the car much, and a few days later when I went to take the car out for a spin, one of my brand new tires was completely flat…and the battery was dead again. Urgh.
I was heading out of town for a trip so I asked my wife, who has a much more level head about things like this, to call the garage to send someone to rectify the situation.
Naturally, she didn’t “have a chance to call” so when I got back last weekend, I wasted my Saturday morning putting the ancient donut on the car, jumping the battery and driving my limping, old vehicle back to the garage.
Basically, so that I didn’t totally lose my cool, I simply said “make it right” and left my poor Black Beauty at the garage again.
They called and told me the tire was fine, but I had a bad tire valve. I said, “Okay. Fix it.”
Another week went by before I could get myself back to the garage. So, I went in on this rainy Saturday to pick up Beauty.
I walk in. They know me by name and said: “Mr. Webb, welcome back.” They really do offer good customer service. “It’s only $14 for the new valve.”
WHAT? I was livid! Yes, it’s only $14, but why on earth would I pay you $14 for your utter incompetence. Before I completely lost my mind, the clerk calmly explained that the valve is part of the car and not the tire so it wasn’t covered under the tire warranty.
While not overly happy about it, I accepted it and paid my $14.
Then I went out to start the car. Battery dead again.
Now, I hadn’t specifically said to change the battery. Although in my estimation, the battery worked fine when I dropped it off the first time. Now it keeps having issues. If I were to guess, it probably had issues while they drove it in and out of the garage to change the tire, but perhaps not. They never bothered to address this with me, and the battery is dead in their parking lot.
So, I ever so calmly went inside and proclaimed: “The battery is dead again.” I asked if I should go next door to the auto part store to buy a battery (something we have done before to avoid the up charge to buy the part from the garage).
The other clerk offered to jump it or install the new battery.
I trudged next door to buy a bloody battery. Naturally, they only had the expensive one in stock. Since I kept having issues with the cheap Costco batteries I have bought in the past, I decided to go ahead and pay for the “gold standard.”
Walked back to the garage, went inside and spoke to the same clerk. Asked if I could pay for the install (assuming he remembered that he offered to install it for me). “We don’t install customer parts,” came the response.
I just stared at him.
“He quickly added, but we can find someone to do it for you,” as a favor was the implication, as he kindly directed a mechanic out to help Beauty.
So, now the Beast in me emerged. I could deal with the stupidity of not being able to correctly diagnose the problem with the original tire, with having to buy new crappy tires, with them somehow killing my battery, dealing with a fricking flat in my garage, having to pay for a new valve, and even buying a new battery; however, for you to offer and change my battery and then somehow act like I am putting you out and that you are doing me a favor!!!
As the young mechanic kindly changed my battery in the spitting rain making small talk, I managed to contain my rage. He even walked my spent battery back over to the auto part store so I could get a credit for the turn in, which I then gave the mechanic as a tip.
I decided to simply drive away, because if I would’ve returned to the lobby to “thank” the clerk the irrational Beast would have taken over. Instead, my fellow drivers on the road home got to experience some passive-aggressive road rage. And Black Beauty got to hear some choice words and hate speech that no 10 year old should ever have to hear.
Naturally, I will never go to that garage again…at least until I need my next oil change.