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Car problems

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by spup1122, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    So, I called Firestone last night because my mom graciously offered to pay for new brakepads to be put on my car, and they tell me to come at 7 a.m. and they would get my car done and I'd probably be out of my town for my 12 hour drive today by 9 or so. 

    I get to the place this morning, and the guy says "How's noon or later?" Now, I really thought he was joking at first, until I looked at him and had to say "Noon or later is NOT OK.  I called yesterday and you all told me you could get me in first thing this morning.  Taking my information is NOT getting me in to have my car fixed!"  The guy tells me he had some cars that had to stay the night so I was fourth or fifth in line.  Then, other people were in line behind me.  I have a 12 hour drive today and I'm really tempted just not to have my brakepads fixed because I'm tired (only got four hours of sleep last night after packing and such) but I tell the guy to just call me when they know what's wrong. 

    I know they're going to find about 15 different things wrong because the car maintenance business is VERY profitable, but I think I will just tell him to fix the damn brakepads and let me get on my fucking way.  I call my mom to tell her the situation and she's very sympathetic as I'm WALKING to work because I have no where else to go and there's no way I'm going to sit at the car place and watch them take cars before me that were not there before mine.  This is ridiculous.  You know, why can't they stay late and finish cars?  They're hourly employees, probably making no more than a reporter (although, I could be VERY wrong about that).  If a reporter left without his/her work done, he/she would be fired.  It would be unacceptable to not get something done on time, and if we make false promises, at least at my paper, we get a pretty big slap on the wrist.  We have an reasonable expectation to uphold and I don't understand why other industries do not have the same standards.

    There is not much difference.  They are a customer service oriented organization, as is a newspaper (although, i think sometimes we all forget that too often).  They need to accept that sometimes they just gotta get the work done.  I don't see them trying TOO hard to get my car done before "noon or later" today, even though he said he'd try.  I know sitting around and bitching isn't going to get anything done, but maybe I'll write an editorial on the topic.  I'm sure my editor would approve of that.  She never wants to write them herself, so she's usually pretty open to other's writing editorials.
  2. DocTalk

    DocTalk Active Member

    We have a saying where I work...bad planning on your part, does not make it an emergency on mine. "They" probably can't stay late because they have other obligations like family, friends,their own 12 hour drive.

    One of the ways to get reliable service and favors may be to establish relationships with businesses and their employees, so that they know you. Then perhaps, when you need a favor, the "they" who has a name, may actually do one for you. And it may be that at your place of employ, that you are inaccessible to some callers and yet make time for those who are kind to you.

    Sorry, but some of us have been up all night dealing with people who often make bad planning decisions.
  3. lono

    lono Active Member

    One of the reasons they can't "just stay late and finish the cars" is this thing called overtime that their bosses don't want to pay.

    Another is that - as you noted - cars brought in for one repair often have multiple problems, which aren't detected until the vehicles are actually brought in and repairs are made. So what the shop legitimately thought would be a 20-minute brake pad job turns into three hours when they discover rotors need to be turned or replaced, tires are worn up, ball joints need replacing, etc.

    And the absolute worst, least professionial response you can have is to write an editorial about it.
  4. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    I don't deny that I could have thought of this two days ago, but to me, a little squeaking does not mean an emergency.  Sometimes, I let my car go too long with a problem, though, and it ends up costing twice as much.  Thus, the new brakepads today.

    I think companies should provide a reasonable expectation of service, though.  It's stressed into our heads at my current stop.  We are to provide a caller a time frame of when the story will run.  The reporters have pretty free reign over the budgets, so we can give them that time frame.  Then we tell them if they don't see it, to call us back, personally.  When I called yesterday and was told "Be here at seven and I can get you out of here within two hours," I had a reasonable expectation of service.  When I got to the place this morning, I got a callous, rude person who does not need to be behind a counter if he has no customer service skills.  

    Why is writing an editorial about expectation of service bad. I don't plan on writing it about that company per se, but about any business who cannot provide a reasonable expectation of service. There are many of them. How many people sit around and get frustrated in line at a fast food joint because it seems like each car in front of them must have ordered ten meals? Or any resturant for that matter. I know people who won't tip at a sit-down based on the amount of time it takes to get their food out. A newspaper is the same way and are not exempt from this idea of expectations. We're all customer service oriented and the worst thing someone can do is blow off the customer.
  5. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    If I had a brake problem and a 12 hour drive ahead of me I would not be rushing the mechanic to get it fixed. I would want it done properly.

    Why don't you just leave your car in shop and rent one for trip or go to the dealer and see if they will give you a loaner.
  6. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Guy in our state once wrote an "editorial" about bad service he'd received. Earned him a "dart" from the Columbia Journalism Review. As it should have.
  7. OnTheRiver

    OnTheRiver Active Member

    If your breaks are squeaking consistently, then there's a decent chance it's going to require more than brake pads. (Not 100 percent sure on that, mind you ... but it's my best guess)

    One of the first — and best — things you can do when you move to any city is to find a mechanic you can trust. Case in point — I, too, had some brake issues about a year ago, and took it into the shop down the street from our paper. I told the guy I thought the front brakes needed fixed.

    He calls an hour later, said that the problem was that the calipers (sp?) weren't grabbing quite right. I'd caught the problem quickly enough that there wasn't a serious issue. He charged me the hour's labor ($45) it took to readjust them, and that was that. He could've redone the pads, rotors, etc., and charged me $400, but he didn't.

    I've recommended tthe place to half a dozen people since.

    A good, honest mechanic is one of the best finds you'll make.
  8. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    I would, but I'm in a small town, and not 25 yet.  There's a hefty service charge for some companies and others won't even rent to someone under 25.  At least, not here they won't.  You're right.  I shouldn't rush them, but my brakes aren't bad.  They squeak when it's REALLY hot outside.  From what I am hearing around the office about Firestone today, though, is that it won't be done properly no matter what.  THAT scares me more than having to leave late.

    Moddy, did he name names?  We've wanted an editorial about reasonable expectation of service for awhile.  It's just pounded into our heads that it's necessary, so maybe we all just expect more out of others since we make a big effort to give more to the community.  Maybe that's the bad part about working here.  We do take phone calls from EVERY caller and have a reporter here from 8 a.m. until midnight so if ANYONE calls, someone is around to answer the phone and help someone with whatever problem they have.
  9. spup1122

    spup1122 Guest

    I'm moving in two weeks. When I get to my new place, it will be one of the first things I do. My parents did that in my hometown, which is why we use Firestone. They got to know the Firestone people there, and have a Firestone card, so when I got here and saw they had one, it was my best choice. Since I got here, though, I've had to get new tires at Wal-Mart (because Firestone was "unavailable"), oil changes at various places, and then the big things I get done at Firestone. I won't make the mistake of believing Firestones are universally good with customer service and not preying on women who don't know anything about cars. The one here is pretty notorious for it around my office, which is 95 percent female. My mistake was not asking around before I decided that I would get them done there.
  10. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Yes. Not a good idea.
    Writing one when you've been burned personally, names or no, is also not a good idea. Don't type while angry is good advice all around, actually.
  11. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Future Mrs.,

    It is not unusual at all for a car repair shop to have your car longer than planned. Don't think you can hold it against them.

    Now, if they take a reservation and then don't even look at your car the entire day, you've got a legit gripe.

    It's better to get your brake pads replaces, though, before they warp the rotors and you've got to replace them, too.
  12. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    And the problem instantly comes into focus.

    If you are in a strange town and need service before you get a chance to ask around, the Michelin place isn't a bad calculated gamble.
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