Thursday, February 21, 2008

Matters Arising From High Finance And Improvised Ear Maintenance While At Work, With Special Reference To The Bloody Car Dealership

Two days ago the half yearly car insurance bill was due, so Mrs Stevie gaily called them and had the $1200 costs deducted from a credit card.

My credit card.

A raging ear infection I've had for a week has necessitated the use of ear drops that not only cure the infection, but melt the wax in there too. As a result, bubbles of liquefied goo have been periodically robbing me of my hearing and then explosively clearing with FX inaudible to others but deafening (literally) to me. Yesterday it became so non-stop and intolerable I thought I would go mad and I spent half the day trying to claw the insides of my own ear out with anything to hand (which is probably how I got the infection in the first place). Last night I syringed out the ear with a commercially available bulb syringe, blotted out the moistiure with a cotton swab and I'm pretty sure I punctured the eardrum in the process. The hearing loss was immediate and there was free flow of blood probably originating from some important part, but at least the incessant popping and crackling was gone so it's not all bad. I think I can see where Van Gogh was coming from now, although admittedly his problem was that he didn't have enough cerulean blue and had forgotten to buy turpentine and so lost a fortune in brushes when the paint in them hardened rather than an earfull of molten wax. Another trip to Doc Rubberglove's House o' Humiliation is probably called for.

This morning I took the fabulous Steviemobile to the dealer for a three thousand mile service, the investigation and cure of the recently acquired handbrake-freezes-in-cold-weather syndrome and a NY State inspection. The two remaining readers of this blog will shudder in rememberance of the last time I did this sort of thing at Huntington Hyundai and I have to admit to a small tremor of homicidal rage when I flashed back a year while at the service counter, but that mood passed when the lady booking me into the computer pulled a face and asked me when the last oil change had been. This is important because although Hyundai call for an oil change every 4500 miles, the warranty requires that it happen every 3K miles.

I looked up from the rooting through the bagged paperwork and said "It was done at the 24K mile service, here".

She shook her head and said the last record she had was at 18K miles. I told her I'd had the 21K mile oil change done at a different place (which was true) and that they should have done it when I brought it to them for the 24K mile service.

"It's not automatic" she said, which left me flabbergasted, since without the oil change there is precious little meat on a 3K mile service. I had an ace up my sleeve though.

"Well, I know it was done" I said, and as she shook her head I pulled out the service logbook, which I insist they sign and date each time a service is done. I opened up the logbook, traced my finger to the entry (which was for the wrong mileage, but that's due to the 4500/3K mile discrepancy between the published schedules and the required-by-contract ones and of no import) and asked "What does a red 'R' mean"?

"Inspect and replace" she said

"Well, according to this signed, dated entry in the official service log for this car, you inspected the oil and filter and replaced it."

I drive the car so little (about 6K miles last year) that I'm not concerned about the mechanical issues of not replacing the oil. I'm bothered by getting charged for it if they didn't do it, and I'm bothered by them not paying attention, and I'm bothered that a 3K mile service doesn't include an oil change as standard. I'm bothered most of all that these clowns could put my warranty in abeyance by lack of due dilligance. It's all right though. If push comes to shove I have my secret weapon - Mrs Stevie and the lawyers she works for. One or the other usually suffices to frighten the living crap out of most New York businesses attempting to cheat us.

I Left the car and Mrs Stevie took me to Farmingdale Station so I could come to work.

The woman is all heart.

I arrived to find a message waiting for me from Huntington Hyundai that they needed to do the rear brakes (only 3mm of lining left, but I drive like such a granny that they haven't begun to give out the low-lining squeal yet) and they want to replace the timing belt - normally due at twice the mileage I've put on the car but the recommendation is also every four years and there's that pesky warranty to keep valid so the bottom line was would I authorize work "valued" at 700 bux?

I'll have to trust that a timing belt replacement actually involves replacing the timing belt, which, considering the recently shattered 3k mile/oil change preconception, is not a given by any stretch of the handbrake cables (replaced this morning under warranty).

I'll just add that 700 (plus another 25 or so in taxes not mentioned openly until they present the bill) to the already near-melted credit card then.

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