Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This is how I ended up driving an SUV…

I hate to admit it.

Just the thought makes my skin crawl.

Let me start at the beginning. So, I’m driving to work yesterday and my front, passenger-side tire decides to explode. BAM! I veer off the freeway (whatever happened to shoulders, anyway) and AAA comes by to put my wee tire on my car. “Now, don’t drive on the freeway,” the AAA dude tells me. (I call him a “dude” because I couldn’t get a bead on him even when he was there. He kept moving and talking, as if I was just one of the car’s accessories.) Then, he says, “And don’t take it over 50 for more than…. ten minutes.” Ten minutes? Ten minutes? What if I’m doing 51 in a 45 mph zone for 11 minutes? What happens, then? Ka-BOOM???

I get to work and I know I have an immediate problem. I have to find a tire shop in south OC. Now, this might not seem like an issue to you readers in Washington or in Morocco (oddly enough) but south county is a strange place, filled with every shop you could never afford or figure out what it’s there for. They change so quickly, too, with every trend, I don’t know how south county people even buy their food. Their menu must change daily. Anyway, my first idea was good-old Costco. But Costco does not perform alignments and I knew that one tire out of alignment is like wearing one shoe backwards – I needed to get the tires aligned!

Too bad nobody did alignments… and those who did, didn’t have my tire in stock. (Honestly, a Honda Civic. How rare is that?)

Finally, I found a shop that sold a tire my size and performed alignments. It was the Firestone dealer at the Laguna Hills Mall.

Do yourself a favor: STAY AWAY! (Again, if you’re in Washington or Morocco, this might not apply.)

I called their service manager, David, and he said that they couldn’t take care of my car until after 2:30pm. I said, “That’s fine. I don’t get off work until 3pm.” To which, he replied, “I told you, no sooner than 2:30!”

This should have tipped me off.

So, I made an appointment for 3:30pm (to be safe) and brought my car in at the appointed time.

Immediately, he says he can’t do my alignment until 5:30pm. “But I made an appointment on the phone... with you!”

“We don’t take appointments. I can’t help you until 5:30.”

“But you told me on the phone.”

“That’s the best I can do. You want a tire? I got that tire there.”

Now, listen, I’m normally a smarter consumer than this but I was having a horrible day. My back was killing me. My car was on a bicycle tire. I was just generally stressed and this assface took total advantage of that. So, I accepted his 5:30 time and I waited…

When 4:00 rolled around, my car was driven out. “You got your car there,” David said like some mob goon with no sense of the obvious.

I rose as quickly as my bent body allowed and asked, “Wait. What about the alignment?”

“Yeah, we can’t do it.”

“What are you talking about? You told me just half an hour ago that you’d do it at 5:30!”

“Sorry, we can’t.”

It didn’t matter that I’d made an appointment or that I’d totally changed my plans and missed school for this fuck. He was rude, unprofessional, and totally took advantage of me when I couldn’t drive my car back home to find a shop where I’d prefer to bring my car. What a dick.

Was there yelling? Was their swearing? Oh, you bet. But it didn’t matter.

So, I ended up driving my wobbly car back home.

This morning, Vicky offered to bring it to a shop by our house for the alignment. I couldn’t bring it in because I had to get to work, which is how we ended up trading cars. I’ve got her smog hog… she’s got my little Civic with the great gas mileage.

And we both hate it. Maybe, tomorrow, things will return to normal.

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