Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It's That Time...

No, not That one. What kind of blogger do you think I am?

I'm talking about oil change time. The time that strikes fear into the hearts of women everywhere. When we stumble into the testosterone jungle and pray that we'll make it out alive. And by alive I mean, the car still works and our life savings is still intact.

My jungle of choice this time? Jiffy Lube. Sure, they're all "ma'am" and opening doors and such. On the surface. But listen closely and you'll hear the real Jiffy Lube.

One mechanic complained about "hurtin real bad, man" because his girlfriend unexpectedly dumped him that morning. Went back to her ex. One minute she loved him, the next she didn't. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost. Until his tale took an abrupt turn to needing some rebound "fun." You know, to heal his poor wounded heart. Uh huh.

A mechanic snaps about needing some paperwork. Another mechanic doesn't appreciate his attitude. Yelling ensues. Yet another mechanic tries to tell them to postpone their little tantrum. They don't listen.

A customer limps into the waiting room leaning on her boyfriend. "F#$%! I'm fine but my f#$%ing shoe isn't." After ripping paper towels from the wall dispenser and dabbing at her $2.99 flip flops, I gather that she slipped and fell in the oil soaked garage en route to the waiting room. Her boyfriend ignores her.

Another customer breezes in and demands to know how much coolant they added to his Cadillac. The mechanic explains that it was dry so they just filled it. In a very don't-you-con-me-you-whipper-snapper tone, the customer argues that it couldn't be dry or the a/c wouldn't work. The mechanic looks up the coolant capacity for his car and tells him they added 10 quarts. That seems to soothe the customer.

Finally, a mechanic enters the waiting room holding what appears to be some sort of filter.

"Ma'am," he starts.
I know I'm in trouble.
He asks if I've rotated my tires.

"Uh, no."
"Well, you should rotate them every 5000 miles. Your car's an all wheel drive. If you don't rotate them every 5000 miles, the front tires will go bald."

Call me crazy, but shouldn't ALL wheel drive indicate that all the tires get worn evenly? I know, I know. Stop trying to insert logic into this process Lori.

"Do you want us to rotate them today?"
I pause. Big mistake. This shows weakness. He goes in for the kill.
"Should only take 15 or 20 minutes."
I swear he has given the same time estimate to every single procedure he's sold to the myriad of customers that have come and gone during my wait. Need the coolant topped off? 15 or 20 minutes. Tranny replaced? 15 or 20 minutes. Rotate the tires? 15 or 20 minutes.

"Sure."

Then he holds up the dirty filter. I get a sick feeling in my stomach.
"We don't stock this air filter. Just swing by the dealership or Auto Zone and pick one up. You need a clean filter to get good gas mileage."
As though I don't know what gas mileage is, he explains...
"Good gas mileage is what hybrids are for."
Thanks for that brilliant summary.

"You want the same oil today?"
Um, yeah. Same oil. Yep, let's go ahead and stick with the WD40. HOW SHOULD I KNOW WHAT OIL IT TAKES? How about looking it up in the handy dandy computer there? Or, I don't know, checking the owner's manual?

That's what I said...in my head. What came out of my mouth was something more like "sure." I find "sure" to be the optimal response in the jungle. Keep it light. Keep it simple. Keep it fast. Talk to much and they will know you're lost and confused. That's how they separate out the weak ones.

He disappeared into the jungle to finish working on my car. I retreated into my Happy Place. La, la, la.

I hear someone shout from the jungle "It's in electric mode."
The little confidence I once had is slipping quickly.
La, la, la.

True to his word, 15 minutes later the mechanic emerges from the jungle.
"Well, I thought we could rotate the tires but we don't have the tools for that."
???
"You can just call the dealership and tell them you want the tires rotated. It's free."
?!?!
"No use paying us for something the dealership'll do for free."
!!!!!

So let's recap. I waited 15 extra minutes for nothing. And now I need to swing by Auto Zone to pick up an air filter. (And who pray tell is gonna install that?) Then I need to swing by the dealership to get the tires rotated.

Well, why don't I just take night classes and learn to fix my own flippin car while I'm at it?
La, la, la.

I pay and head for the door just as Cadillac man comes storming in with the reminder sticker.

"This is wrong," he says tossing it at the mechanic.

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

4 comments:

Megan August 19, 2008 at 1:41 PM  

Wow - how do they not have tools for it? I have a serious affliction called Consumer Rage. I go all SBR (Seething Ball of Rage) on them and turn into the person who totally regrets it later on. Kudos for you for taking the "sure" route.

Beth August 19, 2008 at 4:11 PM  

Okay, so I would think the air filter would be a simple guy thing. Couldn't Jeff or your dad do it ;-) I guess I should be happy I have a handy man, but at times I just want to pay to get it taken care of rather than wait months :) I actually bought the oil change package from Toyota when I got my highlander to make life easy. I just hand them a little coupon and don't typically pay dime and get most everything taken care of (including the tire rotation). One of the wisest things I have done.

Sara August 20, 2008 at 7:38 AM  

I hate getting my oil changed. Seriously. I know it should only cost, like, $29.95 or something, yet I always come out of there $100 in the hole. How does this happen? Complete naivete. I don't know how often the 'this and that' should be replaced, so I always get suckered into paying for the 'extras.' I quit going to Jiffy Lubes and just go to the dealership now. On the surface it looks more expensive, but I save money because they don't try to sell me the extra junk that I don't know that I don't need.

The Tucson Gang August 20, 2008 at 3:52 PM  

OMG - That is soooo stinkin' funny. I just had my oil changed Friday...I chose Wal-Mart - that way I drop it off...wander the aisles or walk over to Kohls and avoid the whole upsale thing. I just hate that...doesn't matter when the last time was that they replaced the air filter...they always want to replace it the next time I'm in! I hate that place!!!

Traci

PS. Cuz Sara...just read your comment. Truth is...the dealership's service dept is also in the business of up-selling. My friend's husband is a maintenace advisor (you know your buddy when you call)...they do business on commission...so beware of the dealership too!

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