Monday, April 21, 2008

Preventative Maintenance. . .

. . . is key to extending the life and dependability of your motor vehicle. (Keeping it on the wheels helps, too, Moronica.)

Agents of specialized knowledge and industry draw my ire. Locksmiths, plumbers, that guy who told me my Gibson would be in pieces by the end of the year and it's not but I still hope he's since died in front of his children. When entering in any given transaction with these individuals, we, the customer, are at their liberty and mercy. Vulnerability. It's one of my most hated emotions. It’s at the heart of why I hate flying, will only go on a roller coaster under severe duress, and can’t stand to ride passenger in anyone’s car. If something goes wrong, all one can do is sit there and hope the operator got a full night's sleep, or isn't pissed at their spouse.

With that in mind, I try to take my vehicle to chain outlets whenever possible. It minimizes the chances of getting fucked. Independent garages and shops are under immense difficulties in staying afloat. There’s too much pressure and temptation for the mechanic to conduct unnecessary work at your, the vehicle owner’s, expense. At Midas, or Jiffy Lube the person working on your car has no incentive to drum up additional work. The employee's earnings remain constant, regardless of the labor conducted.

The trade-off is that the service can be sub-par.

What follows is verbatim.

I pulled into the Wal-Mart Tire and Lube (snicker) Center early Sunday morning. There were no cars ahead of me, yet I waited at the entryway for ten minutes before approached. A woman with a PDA began taking mine and the vehicle’s information. From the oil tech’s station in-ground, beneath the railings ahead, which guided the vehicle into the garage, I heard a muffled holler. The woman interrupted me to yell back.

“I’m taking his information!”

I was able to read off half of the mileage from the odometer before the murmured yell came back. Given his place beneath the ground, I couldn’t make out what he said. Luckily, the woman’s responses filled me in.

“He’s still in his car!”


“Maybe the muthafucka doesn’t want to get out!”


“Nu-uh. You being rude!”

The oil tech pulled back the metal grating above him. His head emerged. “Is his car running!?”

She shouts back angrily, “No!”

My car is obviously running.

At this point I chime in, hoping that my complete cooperation will help quell this skirmish.

“I can get out of my car. That’s not a problem, at all.” I exit, holding the door open for her as she entered.

From the floor, the head cried out, “Why is his car still running?! That engine is going to be hot! He’ll be waiting for an hour and a half.”

She stuck her head out from the window, “He don’t mind waiting!”

The thing is, I sort of do.

The woman gave me a receipt. “It’ll be ready in an hour and a half.”

I accepted the receipt. Graciously. “Thank you. I’ll be inside, by the home furnishings.”

And for the next ninety-minutes, I stared at blinds. Wishing I’d taken measurement of my windows before I came.


Moaning Myrtle said...

I work in the automotive department these days. It should take 20 minutes to get your oil changed if you get a value package, 15 if you get the economy package. You should never, never, never, never ever take your car to the Walmart Tire and Lube Express Center ever. DO. NOT. DO. IT.

A.v.E said...

But it's less than twenty bucks! And I get to look at blinds while they do it. Blinds, Myrtle. Blinds!

I liked you better in Sporting Goods. You'd let me handle the firearms and look at other shoppers through the cross hairs.

Anonymous said...

She didn't "let you" do that. You kept doing it even after she told you to stop.

Moaning Myrtle said...

No, no, i definitely allowed this to happen because in my imagination the gun was loaded and there was no trigger lock.

Back to the point. Don't EVER take your car to the Wal-Mart TLE. None of them are safe.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't they safe?