Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sabbath, Classic Sabbath

Auto repairs woes

Considering that I've just dropped over $2600 for repairs to 2005 Chrysler Town & Country van, I figure that the least that I could do is tell you about some of the non monetary woes of dealing with this particular dealership (Darcars of Rockville) from the perspective of a guy bringing his van in for repair.

I made an appointment for a Monday and dropped my van on Sunday nite via their night drop off. By Monday afternoon I hadn't heard anything back from them so I called them and the service rep told me that he'd call me back. He did and shocked me by telling me that I had a small mint in repairs to be done (power steering, transmission, etc.). This is not a post of Chrysler vans, so I won't tell you how disappointed I am that I essentially had to change the power steering and most of the transmission after only 109,000 miles. Thank you Chrysler workmanship.

Later that day I received a call telling me that they wouldn't have enough time to fix my van on Monday and that they would like me to drop by and get a complimentary rental car. I showed up around 3:30PM and that's when some of the issues started.

When I got there, only one service rep was there and two customers in line. So I waited about 15 minutes or so until they were done and then explained my situation.

The service rep filled out the paper for the rental car and called a gent named Tim and assigned Tim to give me a ride to the rental car agency. Tim asked what car should he use to take me there and the service rep said for Tim to check and see if my van (which I saw on the side and not being worked on) was drivable. Tim disappeared into the shop to find out and then service rep began to take care of a new customer. At the point a second service rep showed up and he also began to take care of a separate customer. I waited.

Tim came back and stood by the side of the service reps, he told me that my van wasn't drivable and he'd need to use the dealership car. He stood patiently while my service rep ignored him and continued to assist his new client. Tim must have stood there for five minutes, at parade rest while the service rep didn't as much as look at him.

Then the other service rep grabs Tim and tells him to please drive his customer home. At that point I get alarmed... by now I've been there maybe 30 minutes.... and I start to talk to the other service rep to tell him that I was waiting first and needed Tim to take me to the auto rental place. But the service rep raises his hand, cuts me off and says: "Sir, I'll help you in a second, but I am working with this customer now."

Tim disappears with the customer and the second service rep comes back to me (my original guy was still helping his new customer - I think he was changing a bulb in his dashboard). When I explain the story to him, he apologizes and tells me not to worry, that Chris will give me a ride to the car rental company. He calls Chris, and they spend 10 minutes looking for a car to give me a ride. In one of the largest car dealerships in the US, there is none available, so the service rep tells me that he will call the car rental company and have them pick me up. He does so and tells me that it will be 15 minutes.

25 minutes later I come back out and he sees me and he calls them again. He apologizes again and tells me that they're on the way.

15 minutes later they arrive. I get in the car. The kid drives the car to the corner, makes an U turn and parks right across the street from DARCARS.

Yes, I had been waiting over 45 minutes to get a ride to a car rental company that was across the street. It was so unbelievable that no one said to me during the 45 minutes, "hey the car rental is across the street" that I didn't even get mad, but was astounded that I had wasted almost an hour waiting for nothing.

Next day it's 1PM and I haven't heard back, so I call them. The service rep asks me to wait while he asks the mechanic. It will be done at 4:15 he tells me.

I show up at 4PM, but the van is not ready... now I know that the times are just estimates, so I sigh and wait in the wait room. An hour later my van is done and by 5PM I am driving away, wondering how we waste time so easily sometimes due to lack of good communication.

On the good side, so far the van feels good again.

Anderson's opinion on this experience?

For your Friday art...

Tomorrow is March Madness at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria.

* Artwork - 200 pieces of artwork on 10" square panels – each only $100
* Prizes - many of the panels will be loaded with prizes donated from local businesses (I will be one of the jurors for the prizes)
* Music - awesome beats by DJ Stylo
* Food & Drinks – wings, pizza, beer & more, provided by local businesses
* Beer - sposored by Old Dominion Brewing Company
* Games – join in the fun with a little fun competition!

March Madness is an exhibition of approximately 200 10x10-inch works of art. Torpedo Factory and DCarea artists, as well as local high school students and college students will create the artwork. It will be on display in the Target Gallery from March 17 – March 27. All work will be for sale for $100 with 10% of all sales being donated to the March of Dimes. In addition, several of the artworks will be “loaded” with prizes donated by local businesses. The goal of this fundraiser is to raise money and awareness for the March of Dimes, a charity that helps children in need, and to raise money for the Target Gallery’s 2011 outreach programming.

They have two main events to accompany this fundraiser:

#1. Kids Art Activity: The first is a March of Dimes sponsored art activity for kids whose families benefited from the March of Dimes. This activity was held at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s main hall on March 19th from 11am to 1pm. This was used as a tool to help raise awareness for their annual “March for Babies” walk held in May 2011.

#2. Art Party: The second event will be a March Madness Art Party, which will be held tomorrow, March 25th from 7-11pm, and will be a ticketed event. This party will be held at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s main hall right outside of the Target Gallery. The theme of the evening will have a NCAA March Madness Tournament pub like atmosphere, to include games, pub faire, live band, prizes and more. Click Here to learn about the Torpedo Factory’s Target Gallery Community Outreach.

Dates: March 25, 7-11pm
Where: Main hall of Torpedo Factory Art Center, right outside of the Target Gallery
Cost: $15 in advance; $20 at the door

Details here.