Velvet vs. Vehicle-Like-Machinery
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.
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?
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.