I have a personal story for you today. I originally planned to post another article I wrote this morning titled, “People See Who Jesus Is By Looking At Our Lives”. I proofread that one yesterday morning, called it good, and headed down to the dealership with my son to have some maintenance items done on our truck. Little did I realize how that article would directly apply to myself that day.
We drove about 50 miles to the dealership showing up for our appointment at 10am. Our service representative greeted us, and we confirmed the work that will be performed. I then had him walk around the truck with me so he can verify there is no damage before I turn the truck over for service.
I always do this. That way, if you find damage to your vehicle after service, you can point it out and have them take care of it.
Our service would consist of an oil change, and a new set of tires all the way around. As we stood at the counter finishing up the initial paperwork I said, “So how long are you thinking it will take for service?”
He said, “Realistically, we probably won’t have you out of here until 3-4pm due to the size of the truck.”
I said okay.
Though I thought to myself, 5-6 hours for an oil change and new tires?
Well, we will make the best of it, and off we went to the lobby. Hey, it was still early, so I grabbed myself a complimentary coffee and worked on some emails while my son worked on his schoolwork (our children are homeschooled).
Before we know it, 12:30pm rolls around and lunch is sounding like a good idea. So my son Jacob and I go get a bite to eat.
During lunch, I told Jacob about a nice walk down by the river my friend told me about. Jacob loves adventures, so we went on what must have been about a 2 hour walk in perfect weather by the river. We figured it was about time to head back to the dealership as the truck would probably be about done.
So we stroll in at about 2:45pm, not that I was keeping track of the time of course.
I check in with our service rep and he said they just got the tires off.
I think to myself, seriously?
I mean at this point we have been at the dealership for nearly 5 hours and they are just getting the tires off?
However, I thought, well the man said it would probably be 3-4pm before they completed the job, so maybe they would have it done in time. The rep seemed to think so.
So I held my peace and my son and I sat down in the lobby in chairs that happened to be facing the TV. I quickly realized why we do not have TV programming, it is distracting, and what they have on is nearly all against God, down to even the most minute details. But hey, that is another story for another time.
Tired of sitting, Jacob says, “Do you want to go for another walk?”
Sure, so off we went. Though we went on a shorter stroll this time, surely the truck would be done soon…
The Bad News
At about 3:30pm we come back to the lobby and take a seat. Shortly after our service rep comes over and apologizes for the delay and said it will probably be another hour or so to complete the job. Then he throws in the bad news…
He says, I am sorry, but they damaged your front rim. He proceeds to show me pictures of the damaged rim which was not going to buff out to put it lightly.
I could begin to feel my blood boil and was reminded once again why I hate having others touch my belongings. Yet, I stayed cool and calm. Despite another customer sitting across from us who overheard the damage report.
He did not help matters…
Have you ever had a bad experience, and found someone who thinks it is okay to laugh at the situation as if that will make it better?
Yeah, we were sitting next to that guy. I don’t think he meant to be a creep, but well, he was.
You must be shouting, “Brandon what about the rim!?”
Thanks for reminding me.
The service rep said, we will have the rim sent to a shop for repair.
At this point I am thinking, we drove 50 miles to bring our baby (our truck) to the biggest and best dealership in the area and they just messed up our truck. To be quite honest with you, I wanted to squeeze someone’s neck! But hey, we don’t do those sort of things I thought.
Somehow I managed to find some patience.
Hey, I am very particular about our property. I know they are material possessions, but we saved our hard earned money for this truck and take very good care of our belongings. Having it damaged by a major dealership was upsetting and meant another long trip back and no doubt half a day waiting for another job to be completed that should have never been.
So I asked the service rep if they can install a new rim from the parts department. To save you all of the in-between details, they did not have another rim for our truck, and they were going to have the rim repaired at a later date.
To me, that was unacceptable. A repaired rim could have the repair fail. I could just see the chrome flaking off in a couple of months. So I told the service rep that is not acceptable. I would like you to order a new rim for the truck.
He apologized again for the damage, fulfilled my request, and said the rim will be in town on Tuesday.
As we walked back to the lobby I told my son, hey, you have to speak up in life or people are going to walk on you. Always ensure you get what is rightfully yours. No one else will claim it for you.
By the way, now might be a good time to add, I went to this dealership, as the last dealership in the area scratched the paint on our trucks first ever oil change two years ago. They fixed it good as new, but I did not want to give them a second chance to do it again.
Ahh, it just goes to show how the best plan can be sabotaged at times.
The Waiting Game Continues
The time was now about 4:45pm, again, not that I was keeping track. Our service rep visits us once again and explains that a second valve stem is slowly leaking, and asked if we would like it replaced for $27.
I thought to myself, our truck is still not done after 7 hours, you damaged my wheel, and you are haggling with me over a $27 valve stem?
I looked at him and said, please replace it. Of course, this meant the tires were still not back on the rims. Our service rep explained he put two other guys on the truck to get it done for us, and the truck should be done in about 30-45 minutes with the extra help.
Disappointed with the dealership, that pacified me, otherwise, I would have been looking for a manager.
Always do that by the way. The only reason I did not do that this day, was the expectation was set in the beginning that the truck would be done at 3-4pm.
As the service rep walks away, Jacob my 11 year old son looked at me and shook his head. Jacob told me his thoughts which happened to be my own, just throw in the valve stem and be done with it he said.
The Waiting Game Continues Some More
6pm rolls around and the service department closes, the managers are gone and everyone else has now gone home. Except for us, our service rep, and the supposed guy(s) working on our truck.
The service rep explains the delay is due to the stiffness of the tires which is making it hard to mount them on the rim. We have a dually truck so there are six tires and a spare. Regardless, there truly was no excuse for such a delay. We have tire machines in the modern era, guys do not use pry bars to get the tire off and on the rim.
It was another excuse, and really showed how ill-equipped this dealership was to handle a basic task.
6:30pm rolls around, and so did Jacob and my eyes in the back of our head.
Here comes our service rep once again…
The truck will be right out he explains, they are finishing up the last tire.
There was hope, I think I had enough patience to endure, and there are so many minute details I am leaving out. You just might go gray if I shared them all.
Our service rep throws in, to save you some time I can check you out now.
Did that statement just ring with horror, it did with me?
I jokingly thought to myself, you mean I have to pay for this torture?
Good thing our inner thoughts don’t just come our right?
As we paid for our torture, I mean service I asked for a reduced bill. Not for the unbelievable time we sat there, but since I would have to drive another 150 miles to come back and replace the damaged rim. With no managers around, of course he could not authorize it, but he did offer to fill my tank next time and detail it.
Come on, do you really think I would let them detail my truck after what happened?
You must be crazy, but I would take him up on his offer to fill up my tank. You do not want to know how much 45 gallons of diesel cost in California. You better believe they are not driving our truck to the fuel station though.
7pm The Truck Is Done, Sort Of…
At 7pm our truck comes rolling to the front door!
My son already knows the drill, walk around the truck and inspect for any damage. So we did, and while we did not find any more damage, we found plenty of mistakes in their work.
With the service rep and the mechanic present my son begins to point out there mistakes, yes, my 11 year old son. Improperly mounted hub caps that would have fell off down the road, wrong or missing valve stem caps… Hey, these are special caps, not the typical kind you find on a regular vehicle.
Then I discovered the rear wheels were not mounted in the correct position. You see, if you do not mount the rims of a dually correctly, you cannot access the inner valve stem to air it up.
I begin to lose my patience.
It was now well past 7pm and our truck was still not right. A $1500 service led to a damaged rim and numerous mistakes that still needed to be addressed. Including a tire pressure sensor they managed to mess up.
Was there no quality control I thought… This is insane coming from a major dealer. Why was I surprised?
My tone became sharp as I told them what was wrong with the truck, and they quickly jumped to fix the issues.
As they ran to get the appropriate tools, I checked the oil as I always do after service, and it was below the safety line.
That was it!
My patience had almost vanished as I begin to raise my voice some more… Then I remembered the article I was going to post today, “People See Who Jesus Is By Looking At Our Lives”.
Dang, right when you want to rip someone, God had to pop into my mind and ruin the whole thing. Of course, I laugh as I write this. But I told myself, hey, relax, you are a Christian man. It is okay to be upset, but let’s just relax a little here, get this figured out, they are going to take care of it, and they did.
The mechanic was so rattled by his day I had to tell him to stop adding oil to the truck, but we stayed calm and cool.
7:30pm rolls around and we are finally done. Seriously. I mean it. The truck was okay despite all of our setbacks.
I gave the mechanic a rag to wipe the oil off of his hands, and I put my hand out for a shake. I said hey, I know you had a rough day, thank you.
Call me crazy, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
My son and I looked over the truck one final time, fired her up, and headed home.