Friday, January 06, 2006

My swamp on four tires

Today I went to my Saturn dealership to get a little problem taken care of:FILL THIS! water is somehow coming under the firewall and into the foot area of the driver's side, welling up under the carpet. I was pretty certain this was from some damage to the plastic wheel shield, incurred when attempting to back around a corner at the gas pump a couple years ago, and we've been having a lot of rain lately so the leak has become more noticeable than previously. I turn in the car and explain the situation, then sit down in the waiting area. There are five people in this lounge, all reading magazines, and paying no attention to the soap opera on the large television. This is the perfect opportunity for me to use my TV-B-Gone keychain remote to nonchalently quiet the annoyance, and within ten seconds the beast has been smote. No one notices. I begin reading George Carlin's When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops? and after one page the counter guy summons me to visit my vehicle.

He and this young guy alert me that it's not the plastic wheel shield that is allowing the water in, so replacement is not necessary. I thanked them for their studiousness, then reminded them that regardless of my misdiagnosis water is coming in somehow so they can kindly ferret out its cause and remedy it. The young guy asks me, twice, whether I still want the plastic shield replaced. Again, no, but you're welcome to fix the real problem anyway, kid. I was told by the counter guy that it might take three hours (at $99 an hour labor) to solve the problem, in a tone of voice that suggested he thought I might change my mind about getting my issue fixed. I tossed off something about how that three hunded bucks was petty compared to how much work would be required to take care of the rust and mildew caused by not acting, and he seemed to accept that logic. I return to the waiting room, read a few more pages, and attempt to curl up and doze off. At some point, some woman who visibly worked here but in an unknown capacity walks in and notices the idiot box is off. She fails to notice that no one cares about that detail. She spoke in my direction (with my eyes at half-mast and a facial expression that appeared unsure she was actually speaking to me) about how people want to watch television so it should be on. She turns on the set, flips channels, and raises the volume about seven notches. This is an infomercial for Oreck vacuums. And predictably, once she'd done this she left the room. I'm eight feet away from the television so I'm the one hearing it loudest, and the infrared sensor is out of my range. I wander around with my book in hand, over to the children's play area, and once inside I push the button on the TV-B-Gone and step up to the playroom's window and wait. Out goes the set, and again nobody notices. I wandered back to my chair and attempted a real nap this time.

Two hours after I got there, I am again summoned to my car, and the young buck is demonstrating that the bottom of the windshield (which had been replaced six months prior due to vandalism) is not sealed. I'm still not convinced this has anything to do with the flood under the footboard, since my logic says my dash would get wet or the instrument panel would short out if the leak was there. But what do I know. The counter guy tells me to call the folks who replaced my windshield because the work should be guaranteed. The young guy asks again if I want that plastic piece replaced, and I begin to wonder if his head can stop gamma particles. So the counter guy rings up my bill and sends me on my way with a complimentary car wash. Er, wait, not a damn thing was done about the leak, and I gotta shell out $250? Fascinating. And the carwash was really half-assed, with big dirt streaks in all the places dirt accumulates plus a few. Yes, I'm complaining about a lousy complimentary carwash; carwashes are like oral sex (according to a Whoopi Goldberg bit) in that the only thing worse than not getting the service is getting the service done poorly.

I came home, called the glass people (they'll be over on my next day off), then removed the driver's side carpet and part of the firewall, both dripping like a sponge saturated with pond water, to let them dry and give me an opportunity to trace the leak more accurately. Somehow I managed to knock out the power door locks [don't get any ideas, the security system still works] so I have to have a look at that tomorrow soon, and I already checked the fuses. The carpet and firewall are hanging from the clothesline in the carport. And for what it's worth, if by some chance it is that plastic shield... Dollar store, duct tape.

[Addendum 1/8/06: Okay, maybe it is the window seal. I didn't drive it at all yesterday and it rained all day, and this morning there was half an inch of water on the footboard. Still, a steep price to pay to not get the problem fixed. Not even an offer of slapping on some masking tape? And if for some reason the window is not going to be fixed for free by the installer... Hardware store, bathtub caulk.]

Four things:
1. Hooray! I'm glad you have a REAL blog now and I am the first commenter!!!!!
2. I must get one of those TV-B-Gone zappers.
3. Those guys did NOTHING for that $250. I think they had a good dinner that night, though.
4. Dollar Stores rock!!

Have a good weekend! I hope your wifey-poo comments here too. She probably has some mighty interesting insight into YOU.
I'm somewhat relieved to know lousy services and annyoing assistants are world-wide phenomenon. however, you're obviously not trained well in handling them. next time you'll take me with you and THEY will pay YOU for wasting your time like that.
Thank you, ladies. In response:

JD1: To quote a friend who left a tech support gripe site for a couple months then came back when he realized his life had no purpose without that community, "I couldn't hold it in any longer, my spleen was going to explode."

JD2: Everyone with an IQ needs one of these bad-boys. I bought the purple one.

JD3: I'm pretty sure of it.

JD4: That's where I do most of my shopping, which explains why I have a very short list of people I have to buy Christmas gifts for. :)

JD ps: She's a Luddite, so don't count on her ever seeing the page unless she's standing over a reader's shoulder (or mine). Yes, I know: I married a technology hater, but it works out because she does reference for the library thus had no choice but to become an adept computer user... and I grin every time she complains about how dumb some of the folks who want to get on an Internet terminal at the library are, "even I know this stuff!"

Ariel: Yes, it's everywhere. Please, I beg of you, come with me the next time I have to go to the dealership. I know it's a bit out of your way and English isn't your first language, but it will be worth the trip and they will understand when you're through. :)
When my parents and bro were here the week after Christmas, we went into a Dollar Tree store.
My mom kept saying, "I just CAN'T BELIEVE that everything in here is only a dollar!" My dad was loving it too. My bro hates the dollar store and only goes there when he is with me. He always manages to buy a few things though.
I'm into the bargains, and dollar stores have some good buys. You have to be careful though, because they have lots of stuff that is not worth a dollar.
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