Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's anecdote where I tell the mechanic he's full of it but then realize he's still working on my car and hope he doesn't cut my brake lines....

The anecdote of the day:

I went to get my oil changed today at about 6K from my last change (my dealer recommended is 6k and I have an oil life monitor that told me I still had 15% oil life (the light went on yesterday) and I've read several articles recently that you really can go much longer than what Jiffy Lube tells you as we use synthetic or synthetic blend oil). The guy tries his typical upsell on air filters and fuel injection cleaning. Nope, I'm good. Then he comes back in from the garage a little while later (he's the manager)

Dude: (Chastisingly said in the someone was a bad girl voice) Somebody went 3K over their 3000 mile change.
Me: My oil life monitor showed 15% and my dealer recommends 6K.
Dude: But you should really still do 3K. It's better for your car.
Me: (Laughing) You're full of it. (oops was that out loud?)
Dude: No really - the dirty oil is wearing on your engine and making your engine wear out faster. The dealers want your engine to wear out sooner so you have to buy a new car sooner. They're seeing a lot of 2000 and 2004 Fords now whose engines are worn out because of that. (By the way - yes, the dealer wants you to buy a new car sooner, but if my engine is totally dead after 6 years and 70-80K when I've done their recommended maintenance, you can be darn sure that the car I buy won't be the same one! So it's theoretically possible that that isn't actually their strategy.... hmm....)
Me: Yeah, but that's a Ford. Show that to me on a Toyota or Honda.
Dude: yeah, true. (pause) But really - the dirty oil is bad for the engine (or something).
Technician (the guy probably actually working on my car who happened out front): Here's the deal - if you use real oil, that last about 3K. If you use a synthetic blend - 5-6K. A full synthetic - 8-10K.
Me: And which did you just put in my car?
Technician: A synthetic blend. (At this point I look over at the manager again who must be seething, but who's really got nothing now.)
Dude: Yeah, but I still change mine every 3K.
(I bite my lip from asking his price v. mine.)
Technician: Some people still do, but you don’t really need to.

Then I go to leave and he tries to charge me $10 more than he quoted over the phone. I got him to honor the price though he told me that I needed to make sure to print the coupon online the next time (this has never before been necessary).

Sigh... Really wish I knew anything about cars - it'd make these conversations so much more fun. I should have been an engineer. Do they have to take lab science in college?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

planes, train and automobiles - and a crapload of work to do before that!

Sorry I've been MIA. Work got totally crazy as I've gotten a ton more responsibilities (and no more time to do them in - ugh). And then we went to Florida for my cousin's wedding. The trip was a ton of fun, but I'll just go ahead and weigh in on TSA with the rest of America now...

My complaint is not so much about the new xray scanners or pat downs, but on profiling. I realize that my toddler who SCREAMED her way through the TSA line (happily most passengers just noted to us that she was only expressing what we were all feeling) probably did do the most to "terrorize" other passengers (and cause terror - you're not on MY flight, are you?), but that does not make her a "terrorist." Seriously, does my 21 month old fit a profile? I know we all have to take off our shoes and everyone hates it, but it poses a threat - and all that stuff. But, see, her shoes are small - not even a foot long (no pun intended) so is it completely necessary for her to take them off when she REALLY doesn't want to (and I mean really!) while you take her milk away from her (ok, so it's possible that when you did that she did start to sound very threatening - but I don't think she's actually part of an organized group on this front).

On our way out, TSA was testing new screening procedures - with a long line of travellers and ONE agent checking IDs. I'd just gone for a new license that week (which I did not know was going to be mailed to me or I would have waited. As an aside, it arrived and I look SERIOUSLY psychotic in the picture. I know everyone complains about the pictures, but this is horrifying!), so, after an hour or so of wrangling a toddler in line, I handed over my old (not expired, just old) license with the paperwork from the DMV that meant it was still valid. I never should have handed over the paperwork. They never would have noticed the "void" stamp (I hadn't noticed it till just then). They called a supervisor who needed to call a monitor. After 7 calls, he hadn't answered the phone yet. My husband looked at the agent and said - wow, so if you guys had a real problem, I guess they just hang you out to dry. The agent, with no sense of humor, said - no, they would NOT. They come as fast as they can. (Well, how do they do that if they don't answer the phone?) Finally the monitor came and after I gave him some secondary ID (credit cards), he decided that the 30 something woman of Irish decent traveling with her family was probably not actually all that big a risk and I could go. (OK, yes, I know they need to double check these things and really would have been much more accepting if we hadn't had to wait SO long to get that far. Or maybe if we hadn't had to stand to the side with a TSA agent guarding us as my overtired toddler tried to make a run for it.)

Then we went through security (see shoes and milk note above). We got to FL and realized we'd made a reservation with the shadiest of all shady offsite rental car places (U Save - avoid them like the plague!!!) and cancelled it. When my husband said - you guys are shady (they had tons of hidden fees and were totally unprofessional), the guy at the counter told him that if he made one more comment, he'd be walking back to the terminal and he was going to follow us outside to ensure that no comments were made. Oh sheesh.

The vacation as good - though busy! The monkey enjoyed the beach a lot (though we did get kicked out of the pool at my Mom's place since she had a swim diaper on. This is south Florida - my husband joked that more of the adults have diapers on than kids!).

TSA was slightly less exhausting on the way back. I didn't hand over the paperwork with my license and they didn't notice the void stamp. We did have the shoes and milk issues again - ugh. Happily they did not make us go through the new scanners though - I have since looked them up and I'm pretty sure that the x-rays are safe, but I really hadn' researched in advance and just didn't want to walk the baby through that. Also, you have to walk through and stand like the DaVinci man - arms out, feet apart. How does one explain that to a toddler - who wants you to carry her? Thank goodness we just did metal detectors! I mean, what if she got the pat down instead? Who knows what she's transporting in that diaper? Actually... I found out later as we didn't want to wake her from her nap till we had to put her in the car even though we knew her diaper was full, so when she got outside and the cold air hit her (and inspired her), she peed all over me! Welcome home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope your travels go well!