{ Saturday, August 05, 2006 }

The Continuing Saga of AC and Me.

Thursday morning, the air went out on my car again.

Yes, again.

For the third time in a month.

And so, I took it back to the Midas where I'd taken it in the first place. Because I'd just exchanged several big bags of money for an air conditioned car a couple of weeks ago.

I called and told them I was bringing the car in. They confirmed the number at which I could be reached the next day. I dropped the car off Thursday evening.

Friday morning, Steady took me to work. My office is just under an hour away from his office, in the other direction from home, so this was hugely conveinent for both of us.

Now you should know, it might help explain the breakdown at the end, that the manager of this Midas seemed to think I was his friend or something. Now, it doesn't take much to get me chatting, but this guy was really chatty. His wife was thinking about reading the book I brought with me; we talked about my car and his bicycles and who knows what all else. The bottom line is: I made a favorable impression on him in the first place. He was behaving like we were friends or something.

Friday afternoon at two, I called. Because I hadn't heard anything. "Oh! That's your little car? We had no idea what it was here for. Didn't we already do air conditioning work on your car?" They said they'd call me back with information.

At four, I called again. Yeah, the thing that's wrong now? Totally different and not at all under the warranty. They'll call me back before six (when they close) with an estimate.

At two of six, I called again. No quote to be had.

And then shortly after six, just ten and a half hours after I arrived at work, with my work not actually finished, (I did consider leaving a note for my boss explaining that I'm not actually named Rumpelstiltsken.) and a long weekend looming, the boyfriend picked me up from work.

This morning, I had a voicemail from Midas. A quote even. Left just 36 hours after I surrendered my car to them. They want... an entire paycheck to make my air conditioning work. In addition to the money I had already given them in the first place.

I called back. They broke down the quote for me. I asked repeatedly how on earth they couldn't have forseen this. You know, since they've poked around in my air conditioning twice recently.

The manager made the mistake of saying something about just being honest and fair. And so I countered that by simply saying that it actually felt neither honest nor fair that the air conditioner broke three different ways in a month. He started to say something and I cut him off to say I was going to have to consider this and call him back. Then I hung up the phone.

Roughly, an hour later, I called back to tell him to just put my car back together. He told me there would be no charge for today. I thanked him.

And then! Then! The manager delivered a short speech. It was about how he was really bothered and angered that I had called his integrity into question and a repeat of the same "we're so good. All New Parts!" speech I had heard several times from him by now. Also: he was not a fan of being hung up on.

And then he told me that if I continued with this attitude (that wasn't the word he used, but that was the gist), we would have to terminate our business relationship.

He threatened to fire me as a customer!

I know you can do that, I was once banned for life from a conveinence store. At work, we sometimes have to fire our "customers". If you know what industry I work in, it had probably never occurred to you that your provider could do that, but he has a form letter ready for just such an occasion.

So, Midas is threatening to break up with me. Apparently, I need to sit here and think about what I said and how I hurt Midas's feelings. Or something.

I did manage not to stick my hand in The Crazy. I didn't talk back or reiterate that I said it didn't "feel" honest -- I didn't actually accuse him of anything; I didn't try to argue the point that I didn't really hang up on him so much as I announced I was finished with this conversation and would call him back.

I just said "Okay, well, when will my car be ready?" and he told me anytime and I thanked him (I say Thank You everytime I finish a phone conversation and I don't know why and I wish I could stop, but I just can't.) And then we both hung up the phone.

In other news, I totally do this all the time:

I recognize this because it's what I keep doing in my own life. Someone will ask what kind of potatoes I'd like -- mashed or baked -- and I find a way to answer with, "Did I tell you what happened to me last week?"

posted by mary ann 11:39 AM