Friday, June 5, 2009

If It Were an Old Clunker, I Wouldn't Care

My car, that is. But it isn't, so I do care...
We are preparing for our trip to see John's family today. So yesterday, John wanted to stop and get the oil changed. (He is obsessed with oil changes, and starts to freak a bit when it goes from 3K miles to 3001 miles between changes.) So the car is due for one, and we are also going to be driving it for 4 hours today, so I agree. What I do not agree with is where he wants to take it. I said dealer. He said no, that we should take it to this discount store chain, who shall remain nameless, as they are cheaper. Not really cheaper, but more convenient because you can do all of your shopping while you wait on your car. I go along with the plan.
So we get the oil changed, and we head back home. I am cleaning the car a little to make it more comfortable for the trip, and John is helping me, when he sees it. A nice fat oil stain in the distinct shape of a handprint. On the headliner by the door. The pale, pale, bone-colored headliner. Of the 2009 car.
I don't even care that I smell like Armor-All at this point. We load back in the car, and John goes in and comes out about 3 minutes later with the store manager. I am standing there, leaning against my car, when they emerge from the store. The store manager lets out a low whistle and tells us how he loves the car and asks if it drives as good as it looks. Are you serious? "Yes it does", I say. "It's brand new." He gets my point and sits in the driver side seat and looks at the stain, telling me how it is better for me that I brought it back right away. All I can think is that these people maimed my car, and that they are not doing me any favors.
The first attempt at a solution is to try to get the guy back at the oil change place to clean it. I watch nervously as he takes a red shop towel to the light fabric. It doesn't come out all of the way. Instead of a handprint, we have a gray smudge there now. He stops, telling me that it is fraying the fabric, and it is going to have to go to a professional, and how the guy who changed my oil has done this countless times, and he isn't even sure how the guy still has a job. (!) Back in the store we go, where the manager tells us they will take care of the damages, that I need to get an estimate and bring it back to him. When I ask if there is any place in particular I should take it, he says he would recommend I take it to the dealer being that it is new.
So now I am in a nightmare. John calls the dealer and speaks to some woman who says she will call back, that they contract all cleaning issues out to this guy in the area. She calls back and talks to me this time, and gives me the number. I must have said something in the conversation that triggered a reaction in her. Apparently John was not clear on the extent of the problem. She didn't know it was a new car, and she didn't realize it was on almost-white fabric. She tells me to call the guy anyway, and then also gives me the number to their body shop, just in case.
Of course the guy tells me that he wouldn't even fool with cleaning it, that I need to take it straight to the body shop or consider dying the headliner. I call the body shop and they are saying that I may have to completley replace the headliner, or I can have the strip of fabric replaced, which would be less of a hassle, but would be just as unsightly as the stain.
All of this is making me wish for the days when I had a junky used car. I wouldn't have cared then.

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