I hate car stuff.
I hate when random lights come on, harbingers of my impending fiery death or low tire pressure. Car stuff makes me feel stupid, incompetent, and female. It’s mysterious, generally expensive, and I have to put my faith and trust in male dominated businesses who seem to function mostly on bullshit.
The best thing I can say about car stuff is that at least the company recalls are free. Sure, my car might explode or the wheels could fall off before I get around to scheduling the appointment (another thing I hate), but they are free and allegedly the mechanics will not be looking for a myriad of other mysterious issues that will cost my entire tax refund for this year.
Recently (actually a couple of weeks ago, living on the edge here) I got a letter about a recall on a recall. Yes. A recall on a recall.
The letter sounded like this:
Dear Owner of a Major Well Known Car Model:
Yea, so you remember when we told you that the back wheels would fall off your car if someone didn’t treat one little part juuuuuuuussssssst right, and we totally recalled that and fixed it? Remember? Well, further studies have shown that we totes for realz screwed the pooch, and the wheels are still going to fall off. Probably when you are speeding along the highway on the way to a thrift store or something. So you’re gonna need to come in.
Major Well Known Car Company
I am opposed to the wheels falling off my car, almost as much as I am opposed to making car appointments that will take up my time and inconvenience me. Knowing that I would have a little more flexibility with my time over spring break, I made the appointment a couple of weeks beforehand.
Me: “Hi, I got the letter about the recall on the recall and wanted to set up an appointment.”
Vickie (Yes, that is probably her real name): ” Oh, you actually have two recalls pending!”
Me: “Yeeeaaaaa, me.” Sarcasm.
Vickie: “That’s going to take all day so you’ll need to drop it off early and leave it. What day would be best?”
What Vickie has just done here is among the top reasons of why I hate car stuff. There is the implication that there is a second party immediately available to cart my ass around for the rest of the day. If Vickie were a guy, he would just flat out say, “When will your husband pick you?” I like to think of that second party as my “invisible husband.” Unfortunately, my invisible husband was eaten by bears; yes, multiple bears, while rescuing kittens from a fire in a bee hive. He died horribly stung, burned, scratched by kittens, and mauled by bears; thanks for bringing it up, Vickie, you tawdry whore!
Me: “Ummmm, I’m going to have to arrange a ride sooooooo.” This is important later. Vickie did not care.
Me: “A, gosh, hmmmmm, Wednesday? So roughly how long will this take?”
Vickie: “All day. About 4-5 hours.” Really?I wish my “all day” at work was 4-5 hours.
I decided that I would drop the car off at what felt like the butt crack of dawn then walk the 1.2 miles back to my house – exercise!- along a ridiculously busy and unpleasant street. I see people walking on this street all the time, but I don’t want to see them up close. I rallied a friend to act as chauffeur to take me to pick up the car when it was done. It was all very inconvenient, but I would get exercise and use the day trapped at home to get stuff done.
The evening before the car appointment, Vickie called back. She was really sorry, allegedly, but they didn’t have the parts to do the recall on the recall, but they could fix the other recall and that would only take an hour versus “all day.” I agreed to still show up at the butt crack of dawn, but with a book to sit and read, and a cup of coffee. No more creepy walk in the Arctic temperatures.
The next day at the butt crack of dawn:
Dude Service Provider: “Hey, you’re here for the recalls!”
Me: “Just a recall.”
Dude Service Provider: “Nope, I’ve got you down for two!”
Me: “No, your company called last night and told me that the recall on the recall parts were not in and that they could only fix the hour long recall.”
A phone call later.
Dude Service Provider: “Hey, the parts came in last night!”
Me: “Yeeeeeea.” Sarcasm
Brain: “You asshat, dozy fuck! I am not sitting here ‘all day’ because my invisible husband can’t pick me up, and your left hand doesn’t know what your right is doing with your dick!”
Dude Service Provider: “Soooo, do you live close by?”
Brain: “Why, creeper?”
Me: “Yes, my original plan was to walk home from here and have a friend bring me back, but I am not prepared for that this morning since YOUR COMPANY told me that the ‘all day’ appointment would not be happening.”
Dude Service Provider: “Well, what we can do here is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and give you a shuttle ride home.”
Me: “I’m sorry, what now?”
For thirteen years, I have owned cars by this Major Well Known Car Company, and lived in close proximity to this Major Well Known Car Company Dealership. I have had the same frustrating conversation with the Vickies of the company multiple times over the years. My invisible husband has never been available to pick me up or drop me off…ever. NEVER has anyone at the company mentioned providing me with a ride not even the most recent Vickie.
I was happy to accept a ride back to my house and the offer of a pick up when my car was ready. Of course, it meant that I had to get in a car with a strange Shuttle Guy who needs to stop smoking and now knows where I live. Fortunately, I did not have to stab him with my keys.
Thought about it. If only to break the super awkward silence.
Me: “So, is this shuttle thing a new service?”
Shuttle Guy: “Oh, no, I’ve been working here about thirteen years and it’s not new.”
Brain: “Are you kidding me, Shuttle guy!!!!!!” Maybe I will stab him with my keys.
Me: “Realllllyyy, no one has ever mentioned it before.”
Shuttle Guy: “Maybe they didn’t know.”
Me: “I think me saying that gosh, I was going to have to arrange a ride to get back and forth today would have been an indicator.”
Shuttle Guy: “Yea, you’d think. Who did you talk to?”
Four to five hours later, Shuttle Guy picked me up for a ride back to the dealership. He inquired about my day thus far, I inquired about his. Awkward silence.
Two blocks later.
Shuttle Guy: “So, how about that Malaysian plane?”
Upon arrival, I thanked Shuttle Guy and then we bolted in opposite directions. I had questions for Dude Service Provider.
Me: “So, is this shuttle thing a new service?”
Dude Service Provider: “Well, we’ve been talking about it for like two years. And we finally got a van with a Major Well Known Car Company sticker on the side.”
Me: “Yes, the sticker really makes a difference.”
Brain: “Thirteen years or two years, buddy? Either way, I want to kick someone.”
This is significant evidence in my argument that car companies and dealerships function in a miasma of bullshit. In order to be employed there, one must be prepared to lie either boldly and directly, or by omission- Vickie!
As an added bonus one of the “You’re going to explode in a fiery ball of death” lights came on four to five hours after leaving the dealership.