Sunday, November 14, 2004

My clusterfuck adventure

So I go to my friendly neighborhood Jiffy Lube this afternoon to see why my Czech Engine light came on after they'd changed my oil and done something I'm too dumb to understand to my fuel injectors yesterday, and the guy tells me that sometimes when they do their magic fuel injector dance it sometimes sets off the check engine light. But they can't reset it at Jiffy Lube so I have to drive a couple miles west to AutoZone to have it reset.

Fine. I don't understand the logic and I kind of feel like I'm being dicked around like a trannie hooker at an insurance convention*, but I feel like I really have no choice but to do what the nice man tells me.

*I don't know what it means either. But if you don't think about it too hard, it sounds kind of funny.

The AutoZone isn't too terribly far, so I head over there and tell my story to the woman behind the counter, who promptly informs me that it's "illegal" for them to turn off check engine lights. After a few probing questions on my part, it turns out she is just retarded too lazy to explain the whole story to me: She can check and probably reset my light, but there are a few situations where she's not legally allowed to turn it off—though it sounds like mine is probably not one of those situations.

She grabs her sensor and rubs it furiously until she shoots her womanly juices all over the bed follows me out into the parking lot. It's only when we get to my car that she asks me what model year it is, and when it say 1995, she gravely informs me that her particular AutoZone can service only 1996 models or later, but there's another AutoZone "just two miles away" that can do earlier models.

Struggling mightily not to bitch-slap her and everyone else withing bitch-slapping distance at the moment, I thank her and continue my trek west waaaaaaaay fucking farther than "just two miles" to the next stop on my clusterfuck adventure.

This AutoZone has a nicer parking lot and is in a nicer neighborhood, so I feel a little less stressed when I finally get there. But just a little. After standing in an irritatingly long line behind a cute-ish biker boi and his functionally illiterate Japanese war bride (she keeps admiring the "pitty" slip-on seat covers in the aisle we are standing in, but she can never answer his weird pop-quiz challenge ("How much? How many?") about everything she picks up to look at), I get to the front of the line only to have the functionally illiterate Latino guy behind the counter tell me that he, too, can't service a car made before 1996. But he reaches behind the counter to grab his sensor and rubs it furiously until he shoots his manly juice all over the headboard above him and heads out to the parking lot. Not quite sure if he is walking away from me or intending to check out my car despite what he's just told me, I follow him, and in no time he has the sensor plugged in and whirring like a weird-people sex toy in an obscure fetish video.

He needs to have the car running to get a reading, though, so I start the engine—and immediately my stereo blares the chorus rehearsal CD I've been listening to: the baritone line from a jaunty little Spanish tune called Procesión jíbara. I get a little smile because I'm sure this will impress him to the point that we'll become best friends—you know, because I obviously speak Mexican and shit—but he motions for me to turn it off and he just keeps looking at the little sensor lying all flaccid and unimpressive in his lap.

Eventually he unpluggs it and—this is where I decide that every AutoZone employee in the universe really is retarded—starts to walk away. I call to him to see what he's found out and he turns to me, surprised, and mutters something about an oxygen sensor and then keeps walking. Honestly. The guy has just performed a diagnostic test on my car—with the sole purpose of diagnosing what is wrong with it so as to tell me the nature of the problem—and he completely doesn't grasp the importance of that last telling-me-what-is-wrong-with-it step. The mind BOGGLES.

Now frustrated to the point that I switch my radio to NPR in the hopes that Car Talk will be on so I can call Tom and Ray right there from my cell phone and tell them my sad tale of woe and single-handedly drive Jiffy Lube AND CarZone out of business (but it isn't so I can't), I head back to Jiffy Lube to give them a piece of my mind.

The guy who had originally sent me on this wild goose chase sees me pull up and comes right out to talk to me. I calmly and without a single bitch-slap tell him my story, and he seems genuinely concerned—and surprised that CarZone couldn't fix the light or give me a helpful diagnosis. I ask how often this happens and why Jiffy Lube can't fix the check engine lights it inadvertently turns on, and he says it's so rare it's not worth buying the expensive equipment needed to handle the problem. But he assures me the light is not something to worry about and that any mechanic with diagnostic tools can fix it and that whatever expense is incurred will be covered by my Jiffy Lube warranty. And unlike the Bush administration and its mindless minions he apologizes repeatedly.

And when I start my car and pull out of the Jiffy Lube parking lot, my check engine light is suddenly off.


Jeffrey said...

I thought for sure this was going to end with Ashton Kucher popping out and saying you've been punked.

Peter said...

Ugh, Auto Zone reminds me of what customer service used to be like in Romania during the great old days of communist dictatorship. One time I went there to get a new oil filter for a lawnmower. I stood in front of an empty counter (with a live computer) for about 15 minutes (the other counter had a really long line). Employees came and went by me, but not a single one could open his mouth to tell me that there was no one working that counter. So eventually I moved over to the other one and got into line... when I finally got to the counter, and showed the old oil filter to the guy behind it, he just kind of gave me a blank stare, asked me for a part number which I didn't know (I think they're supposed to be able to figure it out). Then he brought up something on his computer and showed it to me. It wasn't anything remotely like the filter I had in my hand, so I told him that was not what I was looking for. So he just kind of shrugged and dismissed me and started talking to the next customer. I swear I'm never going there again.

Jef said...

What a funny story... in hindsight.

Sometimes when those situations happen, I wonder if I am being tested by God or there is some synchronicity that I'm passing or by or I'm being gently guided out of harm's way and a 18-car pile-up where everyone is decapitated. It's a really Pollyanna attitude, but it works for me. If that doesn't work, I just say, "Godammit!" repeatedly until I feel better.

Derek said...

Erm? Can only service '96 or later? The Neon didn't change from '95 to '96 did it? It was just introduced as a '95 model . . .

Either way, typical. Those people aren't paid enough to bring their brains to work apparently.