What a Fiasco # 2 (7/25/01 +)


A customer called this morning and asked if I’d be in my office this afternoon. “Sure, I'll be home ALL afternoon!” Wrong! I had taken the company van down to the Ford garage to have a recall done and since the air has never worked from the day I picked the thing up in Sterling, I figured I might as well have it repaired at the same time.


That was on Tuesday. On Wednesday the repair place called and told me that they had found the problem and it was gonna cost $405 to repair it. I told them to go ahead.


Yesterday (Thursday) at 12:10 PM, they called to tell me that the repair had been completed and that I could pick up the van. I told them that I had no way to get there until 4:30 or after. They said that they could come and pick me up if that was convenient.


At 12:20 the driver called me and asked where I lived? (I had already given the office directions) But, I asked him where he was. He had gone past my place and was sitting in front of Carpenter's Home church. I got him turned around and heard him out front honking the horn by 12:30.


When we arrived at the garage, I was presented with a $537.86 bill. (I had asked them to make a spare key also!) They did NOT make the key but charged me $39.95 anyway. Then when they printed the bill they added the key that they didn't make plus the one that I had asked for! It took 25 minutes to straighten that out!


The repair lady gave the car jockey my keys and told him to bring the van up front while I paid for the repair. When I walked outside to get in the van, I could hear the same clatter that the piece of crap had made since the day I picked it up in March 2000. I drove it around the block and back to the garage. NO AIR!


My repairperson was now gone to lunch. The replacement repairperson had no idea where the paperwork had gone and the person that I had paid for the repairs had been fired while I was test-driving! Whew!


By 1:30 I was getting a little testy! My repair lady returned and had the car jockey pull my van into one of the open bays. (The dude that worked in that spot was gone to lunch, but at least it was back inside!)


At 2:30 I saw “Driver Bob” wandering around aimlessly. So, I asked him if he could take me back home. Just then, my repair lady popped her head out of her work nook and reported "We discovered that they put the wrong part on your van, but they are replacing it right now. So, if you'd like to wait, they should have it replaced in the next 30 minutes." “Driver Bob” said that he was headed to South Lakeland, so it would be 45 minutes before he returned to take me home anyway. So, I waited!


At 3:15, the "Team Leader" came to talk to me. He explained that they had NOT put on the wrong part, instead they had misdiagnosed the problem, but that since it was their fault they were going to go ahead and fix it at no charge. However, they can't get the parts until tomorrow!


At 3:20, I saw old "Driver Bob" wandering aimlessly again. He agreed to take me home. So much for Thursday afternoon!


At 2:00 PM on Friday my repairperson called and said that the van was finished again. I went down and picked it up, drove it home, and it appeared to be fine.


First impressions can be very deceiving!


On Saturday, I drove the van to Tampa to catch a flight to Los Angeles. I had NO problems with the van while I was in LA. However, upon my return the DUMB thing wouldn’t start! All it would do is turn over and over and over, but it wouldn’t start! The dumb thing sounded like my MGB when the coil wire falls off, but this thing has electronic ignition! Even being as mechanically challenged as I am, I still HAD to look under the hood! Low and behold, there hung a wire that looked very much like a coil wire. I plugged it beck into the only open receptacle that I could find, tried the starter and sure enough it started! Am I good or what?


Knowing that I had solved the problem, I confidently headed for Lakeland. I made it 400 yards past the Airport Parking Toll booth before the damn wire fell off again! Now I’m up on the curb, in a spot where four lanes of traffic funnels down to two lanes, and everyone is trying to get in the left lane to access I-275. I turned on the flashers, put the wire back on again, and headed out. This happened three more times (On I-4, the busiest Interstate in Florida!) before I got home. L


Thank the Lord I have the MGB, at least it RUNS!