Attacking Life with Comedic Jaws of Sarcasm. Recovering Dating & Relationship Blogger - Made it to Step 12 When I Got Married.

I Need the Harley Wind Blowing In My Hair

Velvet vs. Vehicle-Like-Machinery

The Harley
My precious motorcycle recently had a date for service. The dealer called said I had to sign some paperwork. I wasn’t in town, so I asked them to fax it to me. First I tried for my friend’s fax, where my friend would forge my signature on this useless piece of paper so work could commence.

Harley Dude: I tried to fax it and got no answer.
Velvet: Let me check.

After confirming that their fax machine had not, in fact, rung, I relayed this information to the guy.

Velvet: Phone never rang. Are you sure?
Harley Dude: Yes, I tried it three times.
Velvet: Okay, well, it is long distance you know. The area code is 203, not to be confused with D.C.’s 202.
Harley Dude: I know. I dialed 203. It says it right here next to the words ‘no answer.’ We’ll need another fax number or we can’t work on your bike.

Fuck me to tears.

Next day.

Velvet: Hi, I’ve got another fax number I would like to give you. I’m at my brother’s office.
Harley Dude: We tried and tried yesterday, you are going to have to come in and sign this.
Velvet: I am in New York. So it is not possible for me to come in. You have to fax it.
Harley Dude: Fine, what’s the number?
Velvet: 212…….

20 Minutes later.

Velvet: Hey, did you fax it? I’m trying to get out of here.
Harley Dude: I did, but I got no answer.
Velvet: Okay, see, now I know that is not possible. I’ve traveled to another state, it is clearly a problem on your end. This time it is 212, not 202. I know these area codes are similar to D.C., are you definitely dialing the right area code?
Harley Dude: No, I really can’t get it to work. I’ll try again. See? No answer.
Velvet: The phone is NOT RINGING over here. Try again.
Harley Dude: I will, but if it doesn’t work, you will have to come in and sign this or we won’t work on your bike.
Velvet: Again, NOT IN TOWN. You have to make this work.
Harley Dude: Well, I’ll try again.

20 minutes later I called again to ask where the stupid paper was. Someone else answered thankfully.

Harley Dude#2: He said he faxed it. He’s faxed it close to 10 times and there’s never an answer.
Velvet: Are you understanding that this is not possible? I’ve given you two separate fax numbers in two separate states. Try it again.
Harley Dude #2: Here we go.
Velvet: Great. The phone is ringing. Okay. The paper is coming through.
Harley Dude #2: I wonder what he did wrong. Let me look at the printout.

Are you ready?

Harley Dude #2: Oh, he’s new here. He didn’t know he had to dial 1 before the area code.
Velvet: Listen to me. No matter how new you are, you should know how to dial 1 first, especially when I remind you that you are calling long distance, and more importantly – DO NOT LET THAT GUY NEAR MY BIKE!

At every oil change that doesn’t occur at the dealer, I go to the 10 minute place because, well, they take 10 minutes. But that’s the only thing I like. There is nothing about paying $40 for an oil change worth $15 or dealing with the bullshit sales pressures that I enjoy. My dealer services Speedracer and I trust that whatever they do is right and that nothing recommended by a 10 minute oil change place is valid.

I went to the garage on Saturday and rolled down the window.

Grease Monkey #1: Hi Ma’am. What can I help you with?
Velvet: I need an oil change.
GM#1: Okay, you know this is a high performance automo….
Velvet: Yes. I really just want the cheap oil though.
GM#1: Well, ma’am, I need to tell you that…
Velvet: I know. You guys try to sell me the $100 oil every time I come here, I really just want the basic. Last time I was here the tech looked at my service records and said even my dealer uses the basic oil.
GM#1: Okay well I’m telling you you should…
Velvet: I really just want the regular oil.
GM#1: Okay, fine. It should just be a couple minutes.

He filled out some paperwork, stuck it in my windshield wipers and told me to drive into the bay when they opened the garage door. Satisfied that I warded off their attempt to sell me extra crap I don’t need, I smiled smugly to myself and pulled into the garage.

GM#2: Hello ma’am, I’ll be doing your oil change today…I see from the paperwork here that you only want the regular oil. With a car like this you really need the synthetic…
Velvet: I know this. I told the guy outside. You guys always try to sell me the expensive oil and even my dealer doesn’t use that.
GM#2: Okay ma’am, but I’m obligated to tell you that you need to have that synthetic oil for this car because you don’t want to run the regular oil through the engine, it is bad for the engine.
Velvet: Regular oil. That’s what I want.
GM#2: Okay. It will just be a few minutes.

At this point, I grabbed my driver’s manual and the last service records from the dealer in my glove compartment. I confirmed that the dealer used 5W-30 oil, which means nothing to me, but I was charged $18 for the oil. Okay…that sounds like cheap oil to me. Then I flipped to the driver’s manual to the “recommended oil” page. And whoa, what do I find there? “This car should be using 5W-30 oil.” 5W-30, as in, oil that costs $18.

I waited for the inevitable, the time where the tech comes over and tells you how your oil looked, and then how they try to tell you either need new brakes like yesterday or there’s a gremlin under your hood who is going to gangrape you by Wednesday and only they can remedy this problem for “10 minutes and a grand total of X.” Sure enough, GM#2 comes over to the car window.

GM#2: We do a 36 point check of the car and your brakes look great (because they’re new!) fluids look good (yes they do!) battery is charged (that’s new too bitch!) tires are in great shape (also new!) but your engine oil is getting some sludge on the cap. Engine sludge can hinder the performance…blah blah blah.

I tuned out. He wanted to do some $129 engine flush. Hells the fuck no. I presented him with my findings on the oil and he sort of smirked in that “I know that you know that I’m trying to get one over on you because our profit margin on these extra services we convince you that you need is incredible and my boss is watching and I also know that you’ve totally dumped about $2000 into this car in the last 6 months so everything is new and this is all I can legitimately come up with and since I am trying to prove you need the expensive oil it just works for my pitch.”

So what did I learn from all this? Well, in lesson number one with the Harley, I learned that men are very stupid. That’s really all I can say about not knowing you have to dial 1 before making a long distance call. In lesson number two with the car, I learned that men will try to sell women anything by scaring them about the future performance of their vehicle.

In both cases, it helps to be smarter than the person with whom you are dealing.


  1. MA

    Well, I know that you are WAY smarter than that. And I would like a ride on your motorcycle at some point. That’s just awesome that you have one.

  2. Muskego Jeff

    Oil Change donkeys try that with shtick with everybody. Due to lack of time I recently took the family truckster in and had somebody change my oil for the first time in over a decade. These a-holes did their best to convince me that I need to spend big bucks to fix a leaking valve cover gasket, a stripped oil pan drain plug, leaking oil pan gasket, dirty air filter, and to flush the tranny. Not to mention trying to sell me higher end oil. It’s a freakin 1996 van which has 205,000 miles on it, and it puts 1-2 drops of oil on the driveway every few days from these “major” leaks. They can take a big bite out of a sh1t burger if they think I’m going to pony up hundreds of dollars to fix these “problems”.
    I didn’t bother to tell these ass clowns that I actually know enough about cars to see through their line of BS – I just nodded and thanked them for charging me $35.00 for what I could have done for $14 if I had the time. That was enough of a reason to make room in the garage to do the rest of the fleet myself.

  3. I-66

    Stop the presses.

    Velvet actually likes it when it only takes a few minutes.

  4. Scarlet

    Now I am going to put off that oil change I need for another day.

  5. Beach Bum

    Ok, so here’s the thing… 5W-30 oil doesn’t mean whether it’s regular or synthetic oil, just so you know… Both regular AND synthetic have 5W-30 type.

    And synthetic oil really is better for the car… It’s what I put in my corolla… And you can do the oil change every 10k miles instead of every 3k miles (which is the real reason why I use the synthetic — getting an oil change three times less often? Priceless… Plus the price difference pays for itself once you don’t have to change the oil that often).

  6. Velvet

    MA – I’m a klutz. Trust me, the back of my motorcycle is the last place you would want to find yourself.

    Jeff – If I knew how to do it, and didn’t live in the middle of the city, I would. But unfortunately, my car has very difficult access to the oil, so it’s apparently easier to just have it done.

    I66 – Yeah, and at 10 minutes a pop, I might be inclined to go back for seconds. Ba dum ching!

    Scarlet – Yeah, it sucks…

    Beach Bum – I actually emailed you on this. Thanks for the info. All it said on my bill from the dealer was 5W-30, and the 10 minute jockeys determined from that alone that it wasn’t synthetic. My car has to get serviced every 10K miles on the round number. I’m at 75K, so this is my interim oil change. The reason I do it at the 5K between and not every 3K is because the dealer said I could since the car takes the highest octane gas.

  7. Not So Little Woman

    Here, here, Velvet! I totally agree with that. That’s why when I used to have a car in Texas, I took it to my trusted mechanic. In fact, he was one of the few men in the automotive industry that was honest about those things. Just like he always told me “nah, you’re good with this and that done today”, one day he also looked me in the eyes and said “I’m sorry, but the car’s so dead it’ll cost you more to fix it than to get a new one”. He’s a really good man. 🙂

  8. homeimprovementninja

    It helps to be smarter than the person you are dealing with? That’s not hard when you’re dealing with auto mechanics.

    “we have no idea what’s wrong, so we’ll just keep putting in new parts (and charging you!) until the car starts working.”

  9. JohnnyDC

    LOL. Just imagine those morons in bed.

  10. Drunken Chud

    i always change my own oil, however, one time i got a free oil change coupon thing from work. it was good for up to 5 quarts, which is perfect because the fluid capacity for a 1991 f-150 with a 300c.i. engine is… 5 quarts. so i take it in to save myself some money, and they want to charge me 25 bucks. after some bullshit, they tell me it’s because it took 5 3/4 quarts. so they charge labor and oil blah blah blah. i told him to fuck himself, and drain out that 3/4 because the engine only takes 5. we argued and argued, i stormed into the grarage and grabbed the chilton’s manual for my year range truck and showed him. then i may have said something about fucking his couch, and about needing to learn to read people better, and something about staying in school and he shouldn’t have knocked up his high school sweetheart just cuz she was the only one to want to go near his grossly undersized penis… it got ugly, but in the heat of victory you’re allowed to get a little ugly. i hopped in my truck and drove out with a smile on my face with that asshole just standing there wondering what the fuck just transpired. now my truck leaks so much oil i never have to get an oil change. it gets two new quarts every 2-3 weeks. heh.

  11. barbara

    I’m not sure it takes much to be smarter than these two bozos put together. I’m glad you stood your ground with both of them!

  12. Rachelle

    I feel like you run into more than your fair share of stupid people. That’s really not fair to you, I’m sorry about your luck.

  13. Velvet

    Rachelle – That’s awesome. I just laughed my ass off! You could be right. Or you could draw some parallels between Harley guys just not being very bright, and my cheapness in picking the 10 minute oil change putting me square in the path of inbreds. You know, I bring a lot of this on myself by being cheap and lazy!

    Barbara – Makes me wonder what crap I pay for without realizing I’m being taken.

    Chud – Uh, that was scary. No, really. Very scary.

    JohnnyDC – No! NO!!!

    Ninja – I like to set my bar low.

    NSLW – I probably overpay by going to the dealer, but I like them and trust them, and they can guarantee their work. That counts for a lot too.

  14. Valley Girl

    You rock! I’ve always fantasized about having a bike.

  15. Phil

    You don’t need the synthetic.

    Sure, BeachBum may be able to drive his Corolla to the year 2035 with the good stuff, but technology with newer engines (i’m guess yours is less than 6 or 7 years old) and oils means the regular stuff will work just fine if it’s changed regularly.

  16. Drunken Chud

    scary? i thought it was pretty damn lame of them.

  17. Gewels

    I just had this same stupid experience with my car. I was due for my service in 4,000 miles and was just there for an oil change. He kept suggesting I get the $$$$$$$$$ major service done. I said since I had to come back before the next major service ANYWAY for another oil change I would wait…..geez, I was fuming when I got into the car. Damn men!

    And, the whole time I’m reading the dialing story I WAS wondering if the idiot was dialing 1.

    But, we know we’re smarter than them.

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