Today was 107 degrees with the humidex. I mention this in standard measure because Americans read this too. In our language, that is 42 with the humidex. Nasty hot. At 8:45pm, 15 minutes to close (in fact, we were counting the till, about to close early), a tow truck pulls in a 1997 Chevy Venture. The lady inside rolls out of the tow truck and beckons Tam, a service advisor of Canadian Tire, over to her. Wondering what is wrong with her lazy ass self, Tam approaches the middle aged blonde woman.
"My car won't start!" she announces.
"And I've waited for this tow truck for three hours."
Tam offers his condolences, as it is disgustingly hot even in this late hour. By this point we are all standing by the bay door awaiting the tow truck driver to put the car down somewhere... preferably in a parking spot like any other competent chimp would do. As we begin talking amongst ourselves, the customer begins to wave her hands. Perhaps it was some sort of tribal sign language--but she was Canadian, and white to boot, so I should have understood if it was. Tam might have recognized some of the gestures, and asked where she was going to have the car dropped.
"Well where am I supposed to? In the shop? I need this fixed TONIGHT I have a babysitting to deal with!"
"Oh. No... miss, we're not going to be able to look at it tonight."
"Well um--why not??"
"Because it's to late. We are closing."
"What time do you close?"
Looking at her watch: "Yeah - and its not nine yet. Look at it tonight. God. How long could it take?!"
Blank stares from all of us. The 'This is not McDonald's' line comes to mind.
"Uh --How am I supposed to know? Do I know what it wrong with your car?"
Tam now is a little taken aback at the woman's brass, and glances to the mechanic, Ron, for a sign of life. Receiving nothing, he puts on his bullshit hat.
"Okay well we can bring it in, but we might not even be able to determine the problem. We were closing. We will just take a quick look."
Curtly, she shot, "thank you" back at Tam before we could about-face and retreat into gossip central: the air conditioned front desk.
Chit-chatting away, we suddenly realize she hasn't come in yet. It was four minutes to nine o'clock now and we all had better things to be doing. We venture outside again to notice she is sitting in her car with the tow truck driver repeatedly trying to start her car. Yeeeah. Good luck. Annoyed at her blatant disregard for store hours, and the lives of the employees that were suspended on her problems, we pushed her car in. With a huff she walks into the office. Luckily I had avoided all direct contact with the woman, and Tam begins to write up a work order.
Apparently, telling us her name and address was similar to the process of a root canal that seemed to severely take time out of her busy schedule, which would otherwise be spent waiting for her car. (Doing nothing.) After rudely answering basic questions (ie. what year is your car?), she declared that she would leave the car here over night.
Perfect. Fuck off lady.
Tam asks her to sign the work order when she pitches in an abrasive tone:
"So how much are you guys going to rob me for this anyway?"
"$74 for a 'no-start', 'engine will turn over', inspection."
"WHAT?! EXCUSE ME?! You guys are absolute robbers. This is disgusting. What ever happened to free inspections?! Oh wait--I forgot. This isn't 'Speedy'."
Jenna's internal dialogue: okay then, I will personally push your ugly ass car outside and you can wait three hours for ANOTHER tow truck to take you to Speedy--so they'll be CLOSED.
(Aside: Speedy does not do free 'no-start' inspections. Speedy, like Canadian Tire, and Midas and every other large automotive service centre will check your exhaust and brakes for free. If you think a licensed technician is going to spend potentially an hour of his time hung over your car, trying to figure out why it won't start for free, you have taken crack up your nose one too many times, mmkay? All right. Especially if your engine does turn over, you've essentially left every element a possibility.)
Ron has yet to show a sign of life. He sits there, clearly wanting to go home.
Throwing the pen on the counter, she snarls:
"What time will it be done tomorrow?!"
"We don't know. What if it starts tomorrow? What if once we diagnose the problem, we have to order something that is on back order? We have no idea. We will call you."
"Well WHEN will you call me?"
"You know what--here. Here is our phone number. You take this and call us as many times as you like. We will keep you updated."
Snatching the number out of Tam's hand, the lady laughs as she leaves feeling thoroughly ripped off. Ignorance, what can I say?
As Tam and I laugh too on the matter, and resume counting the till, Ron is doing a record time inspection. Actually, he found the problem quite quickly... but Tam will wait until tomorrow to call her. The conversation will sound like this:
"Um, hello there miss. This is Tam from Canadian Tire calling to let you know what the technician found with your car. All right. So first we took a look at the charging system, and everything is all right. No connections were loose and your battery and alternator seem fine. The engine doesn't tick when trying to start it, and your starter appears normal. The spark is generating well from the plugs and wires, so there was no problem with the general ignition components. Ron checked your fuel filter, and it is clear enough not to have interfered with anything, and your fuel pump appears to be doing its job... uh, what else... oh, and, yes, you’re an idiot, your car ran out of gas.”
Jesus Christ! And her fuel gauge is working perfectly fine. If this is a lesson in nothing else, it is to always be polite to people. If she had been nice, we would have charged her for $5 in gas and called her that night... but no. Now we will wait for tomorrow and charge her $74 for the inspection + the $5 we put in gas + tax + “complete embarrassment at no extra charge!”
Thank you for shopping at Canadian Tire!
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