Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Breasts and Brains... the total package

I got a recall notice in the mail awhile back for my little Toyota SUV. The check engine light was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced. Free of charge. I was very happy about this since my check engine light had recently come on. So I took it to the dealership and they fixed it. Well, four days later... yep you guessed it...the stupid thing came on again. So I call the dealership and tell them. They say that there must be something wrong with it then since they fixed the recall thingy. And they want to charge me $75 to run a diagnostic test to see why the check engine light is on. Um I don't think so.

So when I start to argue this the guy on the phone tells me that I need to speak to Justin because he is the representative in my "service tier". WTF is a service tier? Ok whatever. Maybe he can help me but he's at lunch so call back later. Well, of course, I'm a busy girl and don't get back to calling Justin for a few days. By now he's on vacation and won't be back until next week. Okay fine. My ride is running okay so clearly this check engine light thingy can't be anything of great importance so it can wait. In the meantime, I arm myself with several arguments as to why I'm not paying him $75 to plug it into a machine that will diagnose the problem. How hard can that really be? Definitely not $75 worth of hard. Plus, according to my brother and confirmed by me when I called and asked, Autozone does it for free.

So I call Justin when he gets back from his vacation ready to argue. But I don't have to cuz he says just bring it in and we'll hook it up to the machine- no charge. As any good service tier representative should have. Well, turns out the thermostat was "not functioning to it's maximum" but was "working intermittently" which "could cause it to overheat at some point if it ever got stuck open or closed".

Okay how much to replace the thermostat, the gasket you said I needed and that gallon of antifreeze, I ask innocently. "$275 plus tax. So can we get started on it right away for you?" was the reply. I know that mechanics see a sucker when a chick walks in alone with a Ms. in front of her name. But I'm not a stupid woman by any stretch of the imagination. I casually mention that my brother-in-law is a mechanic and I want to check with him first to see if that's a fair price. Justin begins to stutter and stammer a bit and then throws out that I qualify for the "preferred customer" discount so he can knock off 10%. I guess I became "preferred" in that second because he wanted me as a customer. I tell him thanks and I'll get back to him after I talk to the bro-n-law.

My phone rings about 3 minutes later. It's Justin. Apparently he "goofed". My price would actually be $199 minus my 10% "P.C." discount plus tax. He had "accidentally" added in the $75 diagnostic check fee even though he said he'd do it for free and had "luckily" just caught it. Yeah right J. I'll call ya back.

So I get referred to a mechanic through a co-worker who's father owns a garage of his own. Unfortunately, co-worker's dad is out of town for a week. I call this other guy up and ask him how much. I didn't even bother to throw out the name drop of the co-worker. Even without the friend discount, he tells me it'll be about $65. Geez.... the effing dealership mechanics are thieves. I call J back and tell him thanks but no thanks. Then I tell my ride we really need to hightail it up there to pick up my Toyota before something else mysteriously goes wrong with it. That's all I needed was some sabotage.

We drive it over to the referred mechanic. I'm a bit leery since his "shop" is the garage behind his house. But he does have a sign out front so I guess that makes it officially a business. Right? But I'm still cool with it cuz I trust the co-worker who suggested him. So I pull around back to the garage and meet the mechanic. Think Larry the cable guy but much skinnier and less teeth. He opens up the hood and looks around. "Well I reck'un that thermostat's in here somewheres. I just gotta find that dang thang. We don't get many new cars in here." Uh oh. Luckily, he finds it but unfortunately, doesn't have the proper tool to fix it. Well, it IS a foreign job and "new" according to Larry's standards. Fruck!

He sends me "down the road a piece" to another guy that'll "do me right". This guy does have the proper tool and says he can fix it but the price from him is $160 total. Dammit. But still cheaper than the dealership so fine... just fix it. I get a call a few hours later. Seems mechanic #2 has accidentally broken the alternator belt which has rendered my car inoperable until it's fixed. Which can't happen til tomorrow cuz the part had to be ordered. Double Fruck!

But he's nice enough to not charge me for the belt or the labor to install it. I let that comment slide for the time being. In a very friendly, professional way I advise him that this is my only means of transportation. This is not what the plan was. I was supposed to have my ride back in a just a few hours. What are you willing to do to help me out here? Which translates to "let's talk about lowering the price". He again says he's not going to charge me for the belt or the labor. Now I'm getting pissed. Are you frucking serious dude!? But instead I say, in a sweet as pie but stern I'm-not-gonna-take-no-bullshit-from-you-voice "I know you're not. Because YOU broke it. That's just good conscientious business practice. To correct a mistake you made. But what are you going to do about the price seeing as how I'm now inconvenienced and have to find a way to get home from work and then back to work in the morning?" (Yes for those that pay attention, I have my unmarked car that I drive for work but dumbass mechanic didn't need to know that.)So the price is now $115 total. Not great but not hateful either.

It went from $275 + tax .....to $250-ish + tax with my "PC" discount..... to $199 (cuz of the accidental charge... smirk) minus the discount + tax .....to $65 but no tool.......back up to $160.... and then down to a final $115. Boy I'm tired just writing that. But it just goes to show you, ladies. Just because we have breasts .....doesn't mean we don't have a brain. It costs too much to allow yourselves to be a doormat. So don't.

30 comments:

Debbie said...

O.K Krysta, you lost me at Toyota - I work for Honda.....lol.....

Deb

Sandra said...

Good for you, Krista. I really had to learn to not be afraid to speak up and stand up for myself. It is something I struggle with still....

Melissa said...

So was "Larry" so buck toothed he could eat corn-on-the-cob through a key hole? Was he so ugly he'd run a dog off a meat wagon?
Guess he didn't realize that even though you have CHESTICLES you are tougher than a one eared alley cat.
shit.....I've been down south too long....got caught up in your Larry the cable guy talk.....

Princess Diaries said...

OMG Krista- I'm laughing so hard, mainly because I can totally identify! Those toyota sevice dept are the WORSE!

Stacy said...

Wow! Good job! That really stinks that mechanics think we can be so stupid.

Glad you got a deal!

Krista said...

Damn! I totally forgot to use your new word Melissa.

"Chesticles" would've made this story so much more amusing. :)

Sam said...

You go, girl!!! "We don't need no stinkin' men" to take care of the problem!!! WE.ARE.WOMEN!!!!

Kathy and Joel said...

For crying out loud! Glad you finally got it figured out, but it is so unfair that you had to expend that much leg work.

Johnny said...

Does packing (and showing) a gun help or hurt in this case?

Headmeister said...

Good for you for showing your estrogen muscles! BTW - you said there was "no tool", butyou were wrong, because there WAS a tool... He's the one who busted your belt ;)

Janet said...

I HATE CARS! I HATE TRUCKS! I hate anything that you have to put gas in and get fixed. I especially hate buying cars. And car salesmen who think you're an IDIOT because you're a mom with four kids. And then they get all ticked off because you won't just "take their word for it" and you get a second opinion. Sigh. Sorry you had so much trouble. I think we should all just ride horses from now on.

cougchick said...

Way to go Sista friend!

Robin said...

Oh my gosh.. Thanks for the laugh this morning. I'm glad you got that guy straightened out. I had to laugh though because my X-father-in-law had a workshop behind his house. He worked on a lot of peoples cars and was very dependable. I don't think I ever heard him speak like Mechanic#1 though.. LOL..

C.J. said...

Just annoys me that people try to hose us.

Hope things stay in running order for a long time now.

haze said...

"...down the road a piece, "...do you right..."

Oh fug me, that's hilarious!!

Great blogging!

thegreybullet said...

Love how you handled the situation! I hate cars and having to rely on them and hate the mechanics that try to take advantage of you even more. Glad it is all working again.
Ellen

Doris & Dan said...

Lordy! What a rigamaroll! Hope nothing else get broken and you get your ride back in better shape then before.

Keep smilin!

Lisa B. said...

OMG!! I love your stories....you have such a way of telling them. Can't wait for the next "edition".

Susie said...

Came across your blog yesterday and I read your post about the birthing of your nephew. I was laughing the whole time. Great sense of humor. Today's post was just as funny! Men think we are just stupid or something. They are a bunch of tools themselves. Loving your bog and independant woman attitude!!!

Jennifer "Jenny" said...

Way to Go! I own a VW and now steer clear of the dealership! They are crooks in my book.

Mark & Michelle said...

I love the line about checking the price with you BIL...I will have to remember that one!

Lisa and Doug said...

You go girl!

kris said...

Man you are such a good writer... and good for you, standing your ground.

eggrolls and chopsticks said...

Way to Go Krista ! I shamefully admit that when it comes to anything with my car I just say, Jacob, blah blah blah, and it is all better!

Shandra said...

The whole things kinda makes me feel icky! I hate dealing with car stuff.

Noemi said...

Wow! you made me laugh so hard. We have been in the same boat! It is amazing what us gals can accomplish with our sweet but stern voices...

Norma said...

I have said, when car shopping - that my dad is a mechanic and I would like him to check it before buying it. It lets them know they can't rip you off! Good for you, Krista!

Mariah said...

Too funny!!!

Mommy-To-Channing said...

I hear ya about getting hosed from these guys!!! But sometimes I just bite my lip and cave....seems easier in the end than running around!! But sometimes I like to put up the fight just because.....LOL!!
Good for you Krista!!!!

Mommy-To-Channing said...

Hey,
Thanks for the email the other day!! I will have to wait and see if I can make the trip.....I may be in China or just home around then. So I will play it by ear....it does sound like such a blast!!! I will though check on flights...just incase!!!