One of the challenges of being a military wife, is that often you have to take on what society has labled as very masculine roles.
Now woah Faith! You completely hate gender roles!
Why yes I do! Unfortunatey, gender roles, as much as I hate to acknowledge their existance, are within my society. I can be all “Boys, wear pink if that’s what you want to do!” and “Girl, your unshaven legs must keep you warmer than my bare skin. I’mma start insulating myelf too”. I am fine with people just doing what makes them happy so long as it’s not hurting others..Society just isn’t as ready to be as open minded as I am.
It’s mostly because I really REALLY don’t care enough about other people to constantly judge them. I’d like to think it’s a higher level of compassion.. like I’m evolved and all that. and maybe I am who knows.. Gender roles has been my lens so to speak for my entire college experience. I have in a classroom of 20 all by myself defended a parent’s right to let their son dress as a girl with maybe one person on my side.. But really.. I don’t care.. do what you’re gunna do…
But I digress..
So back to being a Navy wife and having to wear the pants…
One of things I do every deployment is I get my car inspected up and down.. Now since my car is 10 years old you know already that’s asking for trouble. My car was working fine, other than a blasted check engine light that came on sporadically and went away just as quickly. I asked for an oil change and 23 point inspection but you know I was really saying “hey mechanic man, you have a kid in college? I bet you can find a tuition’s worth of issues on this bad boy”
I knew that was going to happen. But to me, spending a small fortune to ensure some piece of mind before my husband deploys allows me to feel like I have some control over the situation. Things will break down left and right while he’s gone.. but not that car! My car will be the one solid man in my life for the next 7 months. (my car is male btw.. take that gender stereotypes)
This is is our fourth deployment.. Never have I been told there’s so much wrong with my car. $1300 in repairs. The mechanic said one of things needing repaired/replaced was the car’s thermostat.
Here’s a little info on what a thermostat actually does within a car because this information will come in handy later:
Suppled by How Stuff Works:
Any liquid-cooled car engine has a small device called the thermostat that sits between the engine and the radiator. The thermostat in most cars is about 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. Its job is to block the flow of coolant to the radiator until the engine has warmed up. When the engine is cold, no coolant flows through the engine. Once the engine reaches its operating temperature (generally about 200 degrees F, 95 degrees C), the thermostat opens. By letting the engine warm up as quickly as possible, the thermostat reduces engine wear, deposits and emissions.
The repairs to be fair took less than a day.. I paid and went on my way….
Only to find that Nitro..wasn’t blowing out heat anymore.. Ok I lie.. on our trip to Providence.. it maybe got luke warm at best…
I dunno if you have heard about my area.. but we’re getting record lows… This is not the time for my car to lose heat…
So I did what any good consumer
does should do when there’s an issue with a product.
I called the car center and explained the situation. And when I explained it there was no irritation in my voice… There was no teeth chattering, desparation, or anger.. It was was more “hey uh.. my car isn’t producing heat.. which is surprising as it was blowing hot air out like a champ before I had repairs done” And the lady on the phone was pleasant back..scheduled me..
Day comes to drop the car off.. and there’s NO ONE AT THE DESK! They had a buzzer to press if no one was there with a request to use it only once.. So I pressed it at 5 minute intervals… Three times..
By then… my irritation with this ordeal did escalate because working in customer relations I understand how crucial it is to appear attentive.. A mechanic, older and weary comes in and asks if I’ve been seen yet. I shake my head and tell him it’s been ten minutes or so (yeah I lied.. we were at the 15 minute mark) and that I would appreciate being seen because I had a class I had to run to. So he said he would find the manager.
He left and minute or so late a big gruff man comes in. Think Danny Divito but taller and fatter. He grunts when he sees me like I’m ruining his day. I smile politely, because I am seriously ever polite, and tell him good morning. I say nothing of the wait, which I was very much not happy about. I explained the situation of having the repairs done, and finding myself with no heat. I mentioned that I had stellar heat prior to the repairs and now nothing..
So he looks down on me (which isn’t hard to do I’m short) and explains all the reasons I could have no heat. I listen passively, nodding as if I’m receiving a wealth of information. Because here’s the thing he didn’t know. In that 17 minutes that I had free waiting for him to assist me, I was on google troubleshooting sites which listed a few things that could be preventing my car from heating up… Of all the ones he listed.. That brand spanking new thermostat he replaced was NEVER mentioned… So once he was done, I informed him that according to my sources the thermostat is the number one reason cars don’t heat up. And since I had heat previously to a new thermostat being installed, I am led to believe that this is the case. Not once did I say “YOUR MECHANICS JACKED MY SHIT UP! I DEMAND YOUR FIRST BORN SON FOR THE TUITION I JUST PAID FOR HIM!” And that was hard to not scream since I was pretty angry that not only did he make me wait but dared to talk to me condescendly like I was a
moron woman who couldn’t possibly know about cars.
His response was that he would have it checked and he would get back to me..
Off Faithie goes to college where big kids go to learn big fancy words that confuse mechanics. He called while I was in the cafeteria. The message said I needed to call right away!!!! <~ I don’t think that’s enough exclaimation points to truly stress the urgency in my mechanic’s voice.
I call him back, outside is a parade of students making their way to their classes. I hope this conversation is quick because I too need to hurry to class….
He informs me that they found out the reason that I had no heat. Before I could even say anything he says that the heater core in my car was bad…..and it would take over $900 to fix it…
*twitch* I was silent a moment..How do I want to handle this Faith?
I took the polite route (damnit it.. I ALWAYS take the polite route).. I thanked him for his call and that I could be there around 3 to pick up my car to get a second opinion somewhere else. I was ready to hang up and run to my class but the mechanic had to have a last say.
“Listen, I know that’s a lot of money to have to shell out after spending so much already..”
Polite Faithie was clotheslined by Activist Faithie. The one that sees an injustice taking place and cannot stand idly by! She puffed up her chest and grabbed the phone..
(Now this isn’t exactly verbatum.. but it’s close enough…trust me I was there )
“Oh no!!! You know what I find ludacris in this whole situation. It’s that I go into your establishment for a $54 dollar oil check, topping off of the fluids and 23 point inspection to be told I have $1300 worth of NECCESSARY repairs. I’m not niave <insert mechanic’s name>. I knew that NONE of that including the thermostat was neccessary. I authorized those repairs because I was taking preventative measures to ensure my car runs smoothly the next upcoming months. Now what I find ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE is that my car, which prior to your mechanics working on it, had no heating issues WHATSOEVER but now blows out nothing but cold air. This is completely unacceptable and I am not paying your establishment another dime! I will be there at 3 to pick up my car.”
I think I got across that I was PISSED. I never really yelled. The words in caps were stresssed through intonation at best. I find it scarier when you don’t yell when you’re mad.. It’s like you’re some sort of crazy and the person has no real way to knowing what you’re going to do. Am I going to come and collect my car at 3 or am I going to burn the whole place down? Who knows?!!!!
So he then said he really wanted to make sure I had heat. He said it would most likely be a temporary fix, but he could flush the coolant lines. <~ Oh you mean the SECOND most common reason that cars have trouble heating??? I told him that he had my car until 3 so if he wanted ensure I had heat he had my permission to flush the lines.. but that I wouldn’t be paying for the service. NOT ONE CENT! And, which is so unlike me, I hung up establishing that I was in control of the situation and not him….
Four hours go by and I’m semi stewing over the ordeal. I google the part that needs replacing..$100-$130 depending on where you get it from. How the HELL did he get $900 including? His workers better be getting medical and dental for those outrageous installation fees.
Did I have this big “niave girl who will give me lots of money” vibe.. oooo no I only have breasts…. I am angry because my husband was livid I agreed to the $1300 in the first place and other guys meaning will also informed me that I was probably taken advantage of. And there I was defending myself each time saying that not all the mechanics in the world are out to screw women. The world has to have evolved further than that right? RIGHT?! And maybe this mechanic screws everyone over.. maybe my gender has nothing to do with it.. but it sure felt like it in the moment. Either way.. I was being screwed over and activist Faithie was hell bent on not being screwed over anymore.
When I went to pick up my car the giant version of Danny Devito was still there. Although again I had to wait for him,this time it was at least only 5 minutes. He informed me that he had heat running through the car. I said that was good news. He said he was sorry for the inconvenience and that he hadn’t been there the original day of repairs.
Those words he said were verbatum.. He is sorry, and that he hadn’t been there the original day of repairs..
So.. what does this tell me?
Well one usually doesn’t say they are sorry unless there is reason to admit fault..
Him saying he hadn’t been there the original day of repairs also alludes to the fact that there was reason to be at fault, but that he is absolving himself of the blame as he wasn’t present.
Conclusion: YOUR PLACE DID MESS UP MY CAR AND YOU’RE NOT ADMITTING IT!
But the real conclusion is: I have heat in my car again, didn’t have to pay even a cent to get it fixed…WIN!!!
I took my key and told him that this is a business. I understand that issues happen. What shows the true merit of a business is what you do to rectify the issues that happen.
And like a boss.. I walked off leaving him speechless…