My identity as a female recently got another shot of validation. Not exactly the good kind either to be perfectly honest. At the end of last year I had my car inspected and found out the cost to bring it up to code was a little over 3 times what the car was worth. Well, after 11 years and not one single breakdown, the shoe was going to drop eventually. Having heard enough horror stories about trips to the mechanic from other women, I decided to try to cut them out of the picture as much as possible, so I went looking for a good lease. New car every 3 years sounded pretty nice to me.
The car leasing experience was fantastic. I was treated like a real person by the salesman and even managed to negotiate without once being talked down to or bullshit, and I was happy with the deal I walked out with. The thing with a lease is that you really have to keep up on the oil changes and not just wait for the angry red light on the dash to come on, so I scheduled an appointment at the 3 month mark. To celebrate the deal, my salesman gave me a coupon for the first oil change on the house, which I’m pretty sure he probably gives to everyone and hands them out to dismayed children on Halloween. My experience with the oil change… not so fantastic.
Going for an oil change in dude mode is not even an experience that registers as a thing. Sure, you get a half hearted song and dance that you really should consider changing the coolant or something else pricey, but you look him in the eye and say, “Just the oil, Mr. Lube, if that is even your real name; just the oil. And fill up the goddamn washer fluid this time!” I didn’t realize this could be any different until my mother-in-law complained how she hates going for an oil change because it costs her over $500 every time. I thought she must have diamond pin in the shape of a sucker pinned to her blouse every time she walked in there. No, they simply gave her the old song and dance, and when she hesitated even for a second, the balls to the wall pitch was rolled out and she found herself writing a hefty check for muffler fluid replacement.
I thought about this as I rolled in there and resolved to be the kind of chick who knew for sure that mufflers didn’t have fluid, if my car even had one anyway. I wasn’t really sure, and not about to get under there and check. Walking up the counter, I waited through the inevitable awkward stare and let them know everything wrong with my brand new precious. “Um, the oil needs changing, the trunk button won’t open the trunk, the remote starter starts the car, but won’t turn on the heat making it pretty useless, and every time I turn off the car, my iPod shuffle goes back to the beginning of the playlist and doesn’t shuffle or anything.” He smirked at me and said don’t worry, I could sit pretty in the waiting room while they did manly things. He didn’t say that last part, but oh, it was implied.
After a while, I was called back to the much dirtier part of the operation. Coming through, one of the mechanics held the door and gave me a, “There you go, little lady.” Nice. He was all of maybe 2 years older than me, but I let it go. They took the usual tack of making you feel stupid first in the run down. “Well miss, the trunk works just fine, you just gotta hold down the button for a full 2 seconds.” It worked like a charm, because I felt really fricking stupid. Next they sold me a cable that would fix my iPod problem that cost $60, nearly $20 more than I bought the iPod itself for. Next they told me the oil change went well, with no complications, brining my hopes back up. “About that remote start…”
I stood there surrounded by 3 mechanics and the manager, including the asshole who called me ‘little lady’, as they explained that the remote start feature wasn’t supposed to turn on the heat at all. “Well, I read the manual and it said that if I left the heat and defrost on when I turned off the car, the remote start would turn them on. The whole reason I got it was so that I wouldn’t have to brush off the car anymore, which I hate.” Living in Buffalo and doing this 274 times a year got kind of old. They chuckled at my bosomy foolishness. Oh, no, no, no! The remote start was only so that when I did get in the car and turned on the heat, it would be warm right away! I seemed a marginal benefit at best, but outsized, outnumbered, and apparently outwitted, I capitulated and even thanked them.
After stalking back to my car in humiliation, I found that the ‘special’ cable they sold me wasn’t even for an iPod, as they left it on the seat and didn’t bother hooking it up for me. I had to slink back to counter and received a refund, though it seemed implied that the mix up was based solely on the fact that I failed to properly communicate the problem to them. To make matters even worse, I had to go back a second time because I didn’t know if the garage door was going to open for me automatically, or if I kept going I was going to hit it with the car.
When I got home I jumped on line and found out that the remote starter was supposed to turn on the damn heat and that it was occasionally wired wrong when installed which causes my problem. Fixing it is time consuming and expensive for the dealer. Fuck. It looks like I need to work up the nerve and go back there. An no, no I’m not going to bring a guy along with me.