One humid, summer day back in the late 90s, I took my vehicle to a department store automotive center for a standard oil & filter change. I had taken the car there numerous times before, and, was confident in their ability to do the job correctly. (Famous last words.)
I dropped the car off and then killed time walking around the store while the work was performed. Approximately, an hour or so later, the car was ready. I paid the bill, the tech (and I use the term loosely) handed me the key and off I went.
The car started right up just as it always had. I put it in drive and got about 50 FT before the motor made a horrible, coughing, death rattle sound and then just died right in front of the store, white smoke billowing out from under the hood.
Confused, I ran back to the automotive department and told the tech who had handed me the keys that the car just died. He stared at me blankly for a moment and then went back to enlist some help in pushing the car back into the garage.
As I stood at the front desk quietly fuming, I watched three techs peering intently under the raised hood, mumbling incoherently amongst themselves. Several minutes later, the three of them came back to the front desk to explain what had just happened. What ensued was like a lost Three Stooges episode.
Moe: (scratching his ear)Um…there isn’t any oil in the motor.
Me: What?! (eyes rolling up into head)
Larry: Uhhhh, there isn’t any oil in the motor.
Me: Let me get this straight…I brought the car in for an oil CHANGE, you drained it (voice gaining decibels) but you didn’t put any BACK IN??? AND you gave me back the keys???? What the FUUUUUUUUUUUCCK!
There had been at least 6 people sitting in the waiting area waiting for their vehicles while this was occurring. After hearing my voice, they all stood up and walked towards the desk to watch the show.
Curly: Uhhhhh….yeah. (Stammering & flustered) I mean, no! Ummmm…I drained the oil, but I thought that HE (pointing to Larry) put the oil back in!
Larry: Me?? But YOU were the one who drained it! I thought YOU put the oil back in. It’s HIS fault (pointing at Moe) for giving you back your keys!
Moe: Me?? But YOU guys were doing the job! I was just standing here! How should I know what you’re doing back there! I’m just the front counter guy!
Me: (breathing out slowly speaking quietly) OK…Get whoever is in charge of this department out here NOW.
Turns out, the guy in charge was the guy who gave me the keys.
Me: Here’s what you’re going to do to fix this fuckup:
1. ) You’re going to replace the motor. FREE of charge on parts AND labor.
Moe: (interrupting) We can’t do that.
Me: (ignoring Moe)
2. ) While my car is in the shop, you will pay for a rental car for me to use for however long I am without my vehicle.
Larry: But. You can just use the fourteen footer out back here.
Me: (ignoring Larry) Here’s what’s going to happen if you don’t: After I sue your employer, I will personally ensure that none of you ever work as automotive technicians EVER again in this state. By the time I finish with you, you’ll be lucky to get a job cleaning the head at Mickey Ds.
Curly: Uhhhh….but. I don’t know if you can do that.
Suffice it to say, the store paid the dealership for a motor, the labor to install it, and, the cost of a numerous rental vehicles for the 3 months it took them to generate payment to fix the mess.
I got a brand, spanking new motor put into a car that had 80k miles on it at the time. And I’ve never gone back to that particular automotive department since. Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!
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