The Time I Called “Bullshit” On A Mechanic

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Today, I refused to take shit from someone and it felt pretty fucking awesome.

First, I should probably admit that I suck at car maintenance. Not as in I can’t change my own oil. More like how even though routine maintenance on my leased car is free from the dealership, I’m too lazy to take my car in and have it serviced. Have you been to a car dealership lately? It’s the seventh circle of hell. I don’t trust any of those bastards and I feel dirty just walking in that place – holding extra tight to my purse and trying to keep them from raping my wallet.

Anyway, my car recently hit 6,000 miles and was due for its first oil change/service. (By recently, I mean about six months ago.) So, I went ahead and drove around with the light on for another 2,000 miles. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely felt bad about it every time I got into my car and saw the “Maintenance Needed, Lazy Bitch” light on, but I still put it off. I felt especially guilty since, as I mentioned before, this car service visit would be free. It’s one of the perks I was happy about when I leased the car.

Since I turned over a new leaf on New Year’s Day and basically resolved to be a completely different person, i.e., one who gets shit done, I finally sat down to schedule my car maintenance.

I called the dealership and got Pablo in the service department. (Pablo isn’t his real name because I didn’t understand his real name when he told me. And not because he was Latino, you racists, we just had a bad connection.) I told Pablo I needed my car serviced for the first time and he looked me up in their system by phone number. For some reason, they still had the information from my previous Corolla (2009) in the system, which doesn’t make sense to me. I really don’t think these people have their shit together. Maybe Sales and Service don’t talk to each other.

Once we were on the same page with the fact that I now have a 2011 Corolla, I told him I needed to make an appointment for the first oil change and that the car has 8,000 miles. I wanted to make sure that the service was free. I thought it was free for three years (the term of my lease) but I couldn’t remember. Even though the car seems to be three years old (it’s a 2011 and it’s now 2014), I’ve only had it for 2 years, having leased it new (at a bargain!) in mid-2012.

This is where things got frustrating. Here is the conversation I had with Pablo:

Me: “So, before I make this appointment, there is no charge, right?”

Pablo (in the trailing off voice people use when they’re trying to avoid doing their job): “I’m not sure…”

Me:  “If you’re going to charge me for the oil change, no offense, but I’ll just take it to the place around the corner. It’s a lot more convenient for me.”

Pablo: “You can bring it in, and we can tell you whether or not there’s a charge. If there is, you don’t have to get the work done. We’ll ask you before we do anything.”

Me: “Why do I have to bring my car in for you to figure out whether or not this service is covered? You know the year and make of my car. I can tell you anything you need to know about it in order to look up whether or not this is covered. Do you want the VIN number? Why do you need me standing there with my car in order to look up in your computer whether or not this service is free for me? Can you understand why I don’t want to come all the way down there in order for you to do that?”

Pablo (actually looking shit up this time): “Hold on…it says here it’s two years or 25,000 miles, so it’s not covered.”

Me: “Okay, thanks. Bye.”

So, I didn’t make the appointment. Ha-ha, motherfuckers!

It probably sounds like I was not very nice, and that’s the point! I mean, I wasn’t rude to Pablo or anything, just honest. At some point in the conversation, I realized that I cared more about saving time and money than I did about Pablo thinking I was a trifling bitch for pushing him about whether or not I was going to be charged for something and then deciding not to make an appointment just because he spent five minutes on the phone with me. I’m normally a big people-pleaser, so the idea of a stranger on the other end of a phone that I don’t know from Adam thinking I’m nice and cute and full of sunshine has traditionally been pretty important to me.

But fuck that! Ha! Today I decided that it didn’t matter, and it was incredibly liberating. In restaurants, if a server gets my order wrong, I complain to my husband and then when she comes by to check on how everything is, I enthusiastically nod, “Great!” and then tip her at least 20%. Not anymore!

Unfortunately, I still have to take my car in to get an oil change. There’s a place around the corner that’s great. I’ll go tomorrow. Probably.

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