Parts And/Or Service.
The saga of my car’s transmission repair continues, with some serious progress. You see, True Beleivers, the transmission itself was repaired over two weeks ago. During the test drive, there was a fuel flow problem, and the car shut off. Not unheard of to have a second problem after rebuilding a transmission…it is the massive part of the car that takes the engine’s power and drives the tires with it. This made a kind of sense.
Fuel wasn’t getting to the engine, so we needed to buy, and install a fuel distributor. That became “The Part.” One part, ordered, and sent to the shop. In about four days, The Part came, and was put on the car. The Part was defective, so we needed to track down another Part.
At that point…things took a bizarre turn. No human hands touched my car, and every time I called in or checked with the shop, three blocks away, there was another reason that The Part had not yet arrived. It wasn’t until two weeks had passed (bringing us to Wednesday) and I had been told three contradictory stories about what was happening on a major, costly job, that I lost my temper. Still, I lost my temper in a different way than usual.
You see…the co-owner of the small chain of auto shops told me, point blank, that the part was “completely unavailable.” The dealer didn’t have it, the Mercedes Benz homeland in Germany did not have it. This part was that rarest of birds….and pretty much unattainable. That set of ideas, said to me by the co-owner and the manager, just didn’t hold water with me.
At this point, though, I was unclear if we needed a “distributor” (which is a part of your engine), or a “fuel distributor” (which is another part of the engine). Between classes, I turned to the internet, and located both parts. Easily. Forty minutes away.
No trip to German needed, no insane rarity. I had a choice of used or remanufactured, from multiple vendors.
At that point, I texted a picture of The Part, and where and how to get it. The whole conversation about the job immediately turned on its side. I got a text from the co-owner asking me “Are you looking for the part?” My answer was along the lines of, “Yes, and I seem to have found it…except I’m not a mechanic.” Suddenly I was on the phone with mechanics, confirming The Part via part numbers from the dealer, and setting up the local transaction. In one text message, I went from being a customer that didn’t know about cars or parts availability, to Someone That Needed to be Satisfied.
Although I was glad to see the process start forward again, I was also upset. The co-owner had said to me when I spoke to him that he would “get on the internet immediately” and look for The Part. Clearly didn’t happen…because I somehow found it first, and in little time, with no real knowledge of the specific part, or the local vendors. The conversation really only changed because it became clear that effort hadn’t been put into the repair past the transmission, and clear that I obviously knew this. Beyond the possibility of debate.
When I drove by the following morning, my car was finally back in the repair bay, finally getting repair attention once more. Again, progress. Things aren’t done yet, but my now frequent check ins are pretty detailed in their questioning, with specific progress reports. Everyone seems incentivized to get the car off the lot, and the transaction done.
All told, the problem might have stemmed from me being too reasonable at the beginning. The shop is known for quick, quick service. Knowing that a transmission job is pretty huge, I was very “hands off”, very patient about everything. Again…a huge job, easily two weeks. I think maybe that produced a feeling that everything could be put before my car as a repair project, that I would be okay with not ordering The Part and so forth. That well intentioned organization of shop tasks resulted in excuses, which in turn started to contradict each other as different people started to try and explain why things had slipped through the cracks. That’s my theory, anyway, and it seems to fit the facts.
With any luck, this plot line will be done very soon. Fingers crossed.
About the art…I decided to draw the vehicle that the protagonist is troubled about as a landed Millennium Falcon. Or a YT-1300 Freighter, I suppose. Whichever, really, it’s six of one, a half dozen of the other here. That’s really how Skrull Space Princess made it into Panel Two, where our hero is brandishing an Old School Science Fair Type Part. The conversation is obviously directly related to the Part issue.
Fingers crossed. So far, it has been a lot like Lando’s repairs to the Falcon’s hyperdrive in the “Empire Strikes Back”…complete with “It’s not my fault!”