Sunday, January 7, 2018

Finding Humor in a Tale of Woe

I couldn’t do anything but shake my head and laugh in disbelief as this tale of woe unfolded.  It all started at 1 AM in the MARTA parking lot upon our return from a trip. “We’re not going anywhere; the car won’t start,” groaned my husband. He tried again, and luckily it started.

Because he came home with a bad cold, my husband got up early Thursday to head to Urgent Care and took my car because, you guessed it, his wouldn’t start. Sick as a dog, he came home, tried unsuccessfully to start his car, and went to bed. I figured, “No worries; he can rest and call AAA tomorrow.”

Fortunately, he felt worse Friday, so  I called AAA. They couldn’t start the car either and towed it to the dealership. I call it fortunate my husband felt worse, because he couldn’t fret over his car much less drive it, nor could he deal with the service department, and that was a good thing. Why? Because this saga continued for nine days.

The dealership called to ask what was wrong with the car; it started right up for them.  They seemed to doubt my story until I reminded them AAA had the same problem. I described the icons that appeared on the panel, and they responded, “We can’t fix the problem if we can’t replicate it.  Want us to run a diagnostic and charge you?”  What else could I do? I didn’t want it back without an explanation.

They called that night to say they’d keep trying on Saturday and call me.  Cool, except I got no call day two, and it was now New Year’s weekend. Tuesday, day five, I spoke to someone who promised to call right back. Then I took my still sick husband to the doctor and discovered he had bronchitis.

In all, I spoke with three folks Tuesday and Wednesday who promised to call but didn’t. Even the parts department got in on the act because the switchboard bounced me to the wrong area twice. Finally, day six, a woman answered the phone, said, “Give me 15 minutes; I’ll call you back,” and she did.

She told me they still couldn’t identify the problem, but there’d be no charge. By now, we were beyond ready to pick up the car. Day seven, I dropped off my husband and headed up the road.  My phone rang, and I heard, “What keys did you give them? They can’t find them.” I suggested they look in the glove box for the valet key, as I was pretty sure I hadn't given them that one. The next call was, “I thought you said there was no charge; oh wait, now they agree—no charge.”

Wait, there’s more. I was right; I had not handed over the valet key, and our set of keys was somewhere at the dealership. Yup, we left another message but got no response. Day eight, we drove back. I found someone who swore he’d looked everywhere for our keys and would have to make us a new key and fob. I told him he didn’t know how lucky he was that my husband was sitting in the car and not standing in front of him. After an hour of waiting, this guy figured out the fob wouldn’t be in until the next morning. Honestly, all I could do was laugh.

Back we went day nine, prepared to leave the car and keys for 90 minutes and have lunch out. The manager assured us he’d get it done in 45 minutes, so when my phone rang 45 minutes later, I expected to hear, “Your car’s ready.”  Instead, I heard, “I have to pick up a fob. Would you like to bring the car back another day?” Was he kidding?  I replied,”Get the fob; we’ll wait.” Hearing this story, the restaurant manager comped my beer and suggested I switch to hard liquor. After two hours, the call came in that the car was ready.

I continued shaking my head in disbelief as I wrote this story and never did pour a stiff drink. I made do with my usual glass of wine. 

Thoughts?  I'd love to hear your comments at inkpenn119@gmail.com.