Tuesday, January 18, 2005

All I Wanted was a Simple Oil Change

Never again do I plan to get the oil changed in my car. I will let it turn golden brown into tar before I get it changed again.

I get done with work at 12:15, drive over to "Tires Plus" because I see they offer to change your oil for $15 on a sign hanging outside. I pull in at 12:30, not a single car in the lot, or in any of the garages. I ask the guy at the desk if I could get the oil changed in my car and if I needed an appointment or not. He said, "No, we're not too busy, we'll get you in and out." So I asked him how long it would take, if I had time to go run across the street to get some lunch. He said, "It should be done by the time you get back."

I stroll on back over at 1:00 from lunch, expecting to see my car sitting in the lot, ready to go. Whoah, was I ever wrong! This is where the fun begins. I manage to cram my way back into the lobby, of which there are now a dozen people, and take a seat on a tire. There were three mechanics in the lobby, only one was actually helping customers. WTF the other two were doing was anybody's guess.

About 1:30 rolls around, and one of the guys comes up to me and tells me that I need a new serpentine belt, which I vaguely remember being told the last time I needed an oil change. The guy says to me, "We can go ahead and take care of this for you real quick, we have the belt here, it'll only take a few minutes." So I told him fine, go ahead and do it, I'm 20K miles over the orignal belt's life anyway, why keep risking it. Ok, let's recap -- it has already taken an hour to get a simple oil change, way too long in my estimation. How time consuming is it -- you idiots are mechanics!

As I watch the hours roll by, I entertain myself first by reading RollingStone, and then an issue of Popular Mechanic. I then learned way more than anyone, sans a weatherman, about "Alberta Clippers" and "Manitoba Maulers." Personally, I have never heard of "the Mauler" before, apparently it's a stronger storm than its cousin, the "Alberta Clipper."

The current time in my epic saga is now 3:30. I begin to notice the steady stream of customers that have come in after I originally came in who are now leaving after work has been done to their vehicles. I counted five such instances.

It again got to the point where I was the only customer in the lobby again. So I went up and asked them, politely, what the problem was. The guy tells me, "Well, since you didn't have an appointment, we had to get all of the scheduled work done first before we could work on your vehicle." Well, this set me off, as you can imagine. I then immediately told this guy that the original guy that helped me said that I didn't need an appointment and that they'd do it right away -- including the serpentine belt. He turns away and says, "Well, that's the way we work around here." As he walks back to the garage, I say to the original jackass, "So you go lying to every one of your customers, or just me?" He pretended not to hear me, but I know damn well that he heard me.

It's now 4:00, 31/2 hours into this saga. I get up to pace around in the lobby, for fear of my baggets freezing off. It has been 21/2 hours since I had seen anyone even walk past my car, let alone do something under to hood to it. As I walk past the counter, the guy who originally helped me says to me out of the blue, "They didn't have a belt, that's why it's taking so long. They're just waiting on the part to be delivered." At this point, I was so dumbfounded, I didn't know how to respond to such an outrageous comment. I said to him, "So you guys lied to me again?" He said, "I'm sorry sir, I apologize for the inconvenience." At which point now I am more frustrated than ever, "Why didn't you just tell me you didn't have the part instead of making me believe you had it? I would have gladly scheduled an appointment whenever the part came in!" At this point I realized there was absolutely nothing I could do -- I was at the mercy of 5 complete idiots.

I go sit back down on an actual folding chair, not a tire this time, I upgraded from rubber to metal. Current time is 4:15. I turn on ESPN to keep me sane. 4:30 rolls around. Three old, grotesque women, each pushing three bills come stomping in the place as if they own it. One of 'em comes directly to the TV, which I'm obviously paying attention to, and makes the token inquiry, "Are you watching this?", and before I can say yes, she starts flipping through the channels on the monitor one by one. Since I knew she didn't want my answer anyway, I said in my sarcastic tone, "Ohhhh no, feel free to watch whatever you desire...I was just cranking my head up at the screen as a stretching exercise..." ESPN was channel 28, she started going up -- al the way through 114 -- came back down to 3, and landed on channel 22 (THE GOD DAMN TV GUIDE CHANNEL WHERE IT SHOWS 2 SHOWS EVERY 5 SECONDS). In disbelief, I watched her spend 5 minutes watching it scroll through three entire times! And what did she pick, you ask, well, the old trailer park trash picked something that really shouldn't have surprised me in the least bit -- King of the Hill, one of my favorites. At which point, she takes off her coat, only to reveal that she is wearing a blue mumu!!! I lost it right then and there! I started laughing my ass off -- you could have heard me across the street! It looked exactly like the Simpson's episode where Homer weighs 400 pounds and can only fit into a mumu.

Around 5:00, my belt finally arrives. After watching back to back episodes of Texas trash on TV, my car was finally fixed and ready to go at 5:45. "That'll be $147.83, sir." I thought I had experienced enough shock for one day, wrong. I questioned the total to him because I was given a quote of $75 for the new belt plus labor, plus the $15 for the oil change. In my book, that equals $90. Not in the Tires Plus book however. Apparently, they believe in false advertising. The $15 oil change is only when you sign up for an account with them and get your tires rotated at the same time. I said to the guy, "So, you lied to my face not once but twice, plus you believe in false advertisement as well. You guys are nothing but a bunch of pathological lying idiots. Show me where it says that I have to meet all of these stipulations for a 15 dollar oil change!" He had nothing, he was just trying to overcharge me, which just seemed fitting to end the day.

Nothing better than spending over 5 hours at a car shop.

Moral of the story: Pay the extra $20 bucks to get it done in 15 minutes at a Jiffy Lube...


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