I think that I can honestly say that I had the most absurd series of events happen to me yesterday. It is now about 4AM – some 14 hours past the confrontation that occurred – and I am still livid! My blood pressure has only dropped a little and my head is still spinning. I hope that the situation does not “come to a head” and that this is all resolved with a passing phone call. Here is to hoping!
Let me start by saying that I decided to take advantage of the fact that my oldest daughter was out of school yesterday. We were taking care of some family business, not in a Don Coreleon kind of way, but in a Creech Family kind of way. Anyway, I noticed that the tires on my SUV needed to be rotated and we are planning to drive to Florida this weekend so . . . . . . . . off I went.
I headed up the street to <CURRENTLY UNNAMED TIRE CHAIN> for this rotation. I have used this place for tire related issues for over 7 years and have never had an issue with their work or professionally provided service.
THAT ALL CHANGED YESTERDAY.
I check in at the desk and ask for a tire rotation. The counter guy took my keys and went to “inspect my car” – He comes back and mentions that I need 2 new tires as the ones on the back are worn down to an unsafe level. He looks up some options and we agree that he is going to put 2 new tires on the front, move my front tires to the back, and balance and rotate them all. Good to go!
About an hour and a half passes and they have completed the work! EXCELLENT. I pay my bill, say my goodbyes, and walk out to my car. I jump in – crank her up – back her out – and just as I start to drive forward I hear – THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP – oddly enough it was getting louder and louder and louder – and the pace of the sound was getting quicker and quicker and quicker – Now this is completely odd but the “loudness” and “quickness” seemed to be related to the speed that I was driving – Weird right!
A quick UTurn on States Bridge Road – Pull back into the parking lot of walk in and the service guy greets me at the door.
I look him dead in the eye and say (in that clearly upset yet eerily calm tone of voice) that I was beside myself that they let me drive out of their parking lot with that “issue”. I ask him how in the world the tech that drove my car from the service bay to the parking lot did not hear (or feel) the THUMP THUMP THUMP –
He simply gave me an apology and took my keys. He walked out and circled my car. He was looking at the tires and making a general inspection. He then backed my car from the parking spot to the service bay.
3-4 minutes later he returned and told me that they had knocked the running boards (you know that thing that you step on to get in a larger car) loose and that it would just take about 4 minutes to tighten.
Well – OK. Things like that happen and I can tolerate a mistake here and there – even though I rarely make them.
2-3 minutes later he comes back and tells me that it isn’t the running boards after all. He says that it is my emergency brake cable and launches into an explanation of the braking system in an attempt to impress me, confuse me, or just bore me.
Then he ends with a very simple set of instructions – “Just don’t use your emergency brake anymore”. WHAT? – “Excuse me? What did you just say? I came in for a tire rotation, bought some tires, and you expect me to leave without the use of the emergency brake that worked just fine before I got here”.
He replies – “Sometimes parts that are designed to break do exactly that when we have to use them to complete our work. I can’t tell you how many times we have rolled down a window and then cannot roll it up” . . . . I see this as an opportunity to break my anger and insert a completely bogus question in an attempt to bring humor into what is leading up to conflict – I interrupt with “what, now my window is broken as well?” #Sarcasm
His blank stare indicates that he missed the smile on my face – I guess it was just a quick one.
Again he launches into an explanation of the emergency brake structure and even invites me out to “look at the problem area”. I tell him that he might as well show me a paragraph written in hieroglyphics . . . .
. . . and then I inform him that I am just going to call my usual and very trusted mechanic and discuss the situation with them – you know – just to see if what he is saying makes sense to them.
Again – he leaves to “inspect the progress”. I call up my friends and they answer on the 3rd ring with a “Hello Chris – How may we help you” (Caller ID is just a cool thing isn’t it).
I give Charlotte a complete run down of the events and she says “Chris, we rotate tires”. I know but … … … “Chris, we sell tires”. I know but … … … – Then she tells me that based on what she has heard from me that something just didn’t add up – She was professional enough to say that she could not give me an accurate opinion without having the car looked at but that something just “smelt funny”.
BTW – Charlotte reminds me of Ms. Vito: http://www.bing.com/videos/watch/video/expert-witness/17wbt7c1d?q=my+cousin+vinny&FORM=VIRE1
As we were talking the service guy comes back to me again and says “Ok, here is the problem. You see (I knew he was about to impress me with some details) when you use your brakes they release dust. It is called brake dust. That gets trapped in the brake system and has nowhere to go. All of that brake dust builds up over time and it has caused your emergency brake to “lock up”. We are going to clean, lube, and scrape your rotors and that will fix the problem”. He runs off after that explanation.
Charlotte overheard what he said and once again she says “Chris, that does not smell right. I am concerned with you even driving your car to my shop for an inspection”.
Now I am as close to the boiling point as I can be. I ask to speak with the manager and the guy at the counter at that time tells me that I have been dealing with the manager. #WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot! I HAD BEEN DEALING WITH THE MANAGER!
Luck would have it that the district manager was working at that location yesterday and he came over to talk with me. I simply say “I want you to take your tires off of my car and put my old tires back on. I have lost faith in your company and do not wish for you to have 1 dollar of my money. Please do that for me right now.”
I have to explain the entire situation to him again. He listens, leaves to gather information, returns and tells me that everything is fixed and that my car is back to the shape it was in when I got there. He even goes on to tell me that he will pay my mechanic up to $50 to inspect the work that they have completed. I tell him that my mechanic doesn’t want me to drive with that THUMP THUMP THUMP and he says it is fixed. It is safe for me to drive there and that they will simply see that it was the emergency brake cable . . . what? I thought it was brake dust!
OK – Off I go. 3 miles down the road – THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP. I pull over and call District Manager back. I tell him what I hear and remind him that my trusted GOOD mechanic does not want me driving with that noise and he says to continue on and he will cover any additional damage.
I get to Moss Automotive (http://www.mossautomotive.com/) and they take my car back for an inspection. 10 minutes later, it is 4:30 or so, Charlotte tells me that they are calling Enterprise rental because they cannot determine what the issue is and it is going to take longer than just an inspection.
Now – I am going to leave all of the rental car issues alone for the time but that process took a long time as didn’t want me to get a car the size of my current car. Normally I would not have cared but I have plans to travel to Florida tomorrow with 5 people. In this case, size matters.
OK – Finally I get a call from Charlotte (I started this blog posting when I first woke up but have been distracted so many times that I am now at 8:35AM to finish it)
To my surprise it wasnt the emergency brake cable or brake dust! #Sarcasm – The rotor was damaged and the center cap was broken . . . . . . . . she didn’t try to impress me but just told me point-blank the issue.
So I talk with District Manager Guy and he confirms that they will cover ALL of the charges and wants me to trust his company again in the future! Yeah right!