Friday, September 01, 2000

I got up early this morning to take my baby in for his 10K checkup appointment at 7:30am. My baby is my VW Beetle. A cute dark blue baby. :-) Anyway, I take my car into the service garage, tell the intake guy about a couple of problems that my car has...1). The auto window switch broke off, coincidentally, the day I made the appointment for the 10K checkup. 2). The air panel light goes out if I push on the a/c button or turn the air flow nob a certain direction and then goes back again if I turn it the other way. It goes off pretty much when it damn well feels like it, quite frankly. 3). A couple of wee squeeks were heard from the front. Not sure if it was coming from the brakes or the suspension (struts, etc.).
They had three issues to look at and the 10K checkup duties. It's going to take 1 to 1 1/2 hours, the intake guy says. "Cool," I say.
I go into the waiting room and see one of the attorneys from my firm. What are the chances of that? Anyway, we just exchanged politenesses. I don't know him well, and I think he just *vaguely* recognized me. *tick tock* *tick tock* *tick tock* I've read the entire St Paul Pioneer Press.*tick* An Architectural Digest *tock* and another magazine from May of 1999 thats name is escaping me now. *tick* *tock* I get up out of my squished butt chair and stand up to look out the dealership's windows. There's my car. It's just sitting there. *tick tock* I wait. Of course the intake service guy must have something urgent going on. *tick* I see the intake service guy come in, grab a cup of coffee *tock* and he heads back to his stand in the service center. *tick* Two people who arrived 20 minutes after me *tock* got their car from the guy. *tick* 15 minutes later, my happy little bug is still sitting out on the lot. *tock* I go to the service guy and ask him for my car. "Oh, yeah, gotta get the paper work on your car." *tick* He comes back and says they fixed the window opener. Yay! He then says that the technicians test drove the car and didn't hear the wee squeek. Ok, not a problem, I don't hear it often anyway. "I'll just keep my eye on it." I then ask about the panel light. He shuffles through the papers. "Hmmm...looks like it didn't make it in there." I think to myself, "You mean, you didn't put it in there? You are the one who puts in the customer requests..." It was as if he was trying to blame someone else. Anyway, he inquires as to whether or not I'd like to have it fixed now. "It shouldn't take *too* long." "How long is *too* long? Oh, and what time is it now?," I ask. "9:15, it shoudn't take long...about 1/2 hour," he stated. *gulp* Another 1/2 hour? Gack. I had to be to work by 9:30. He asked if I'd like to make an appointment now or just wait for the 15K checkup. Granted, it's not a HUGGGE problem. It's just a panel light. It certainly can wait. I ask if they stamped the owner's manual when they insisted upon at the 5K checkup. "I don't know if they did, let's check. Sometimes they're a bit flighty about such things," he quipped. I vaguely remember the intake person doing it last time. Could be that it doesn't matter *who* does it. Anyway, we go back to the car. It hasn't been washed or vacuumed. Ok, I was ticked and tocked. When I initially bought the car, that was one of the things that the salespeople told me 'bout the service. They *always* wash the car when you come in for service during the *checkup* period. "A nice touch," I said. Anyway, I tell the service intake doufus that the car hasn't been washed or vaccuumed and that one of the people who had *just* picked up their car exclaimed with delight that their car had been cleaned as they walked out of the waiting room. The pass-the-buck intake service guy says "We've been having trouble keeping car washers with the economy as it is now." I reiterated the fact that the car right before mine had been washed and *prettified* and that I passed on a car wash this morning for the express reason that I would be getting one at the dealer. He then makes the excuse that the car washer may have been called on another duty 'cuz he's not *just* a car washer. Fine, cool, dandy.
Really, all I wanted was some sort of apology for 1). Not fixing what I expressly requested to be fixed. 2). Not following through with consistently delivered *nicey* *nicey* service things that a normal oil change place like Jiffy Lube would even offer.
I didn't want Mr. Pass-the-buck to blame anyone else. Just take it on the chin and apologize for the quality of the service. It's that simple. A two second "I'm sorry." would have *almost* made it "OK." I would have, at the very least, accepted the apology with an "I know, it's ok, it's ok," as I'm apt to do with my Minnesota-nice upbringing.
With service of this quality, it made me really wonder if any of the 10K checkup items had actually been done. At least when I go to Jiffy Lube I can see them actually putting the oil in the car, for instance. At the dealership, I was hustled off to a waiting room without windows toward the service garage. It looks bad for the dealership, plain and simple. Ok, enough griping. I've been *tick tocked* enough for one morning. :-)

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