The Mechanics of Condescension

Leading into Fourth of July weekend I had an issue with my car. I brought it to the VW dealership repair shop (because it seemed to be a really specific issue and I’d hoped it was a recall situation that would get fixed for free). They informed me that the rear windshield fluid had leaked into the back right tail of the car, shorting out a motor used to open gas door, in addition to shorting out the electrical to the rear right brake-light.

Many dollars later, they fixed it.

Last week I noticed that the rear right brake light had water in it. I called Michael (not using real names in this entry), who had been my contact in the VW Medford dealership and Repair shop. I told him why I was calling. He found my paperwork and scanned it, and stated matter-of-factly, “Yeah we didn’t touch that tail light”

“But the electrical shorted out as a result of the rear window washer fluid leaking into the back. So that tail light was worked on”

“Yeah but we didn’t replace the light. What year is the car?”

“It’s a 2012” I said. I did not like his tone, or the way this conversation was going. It had a very Let Me Pull The Wool Over Your Eyes feel.

“Yeah, so it’s a seven-year-old car. That can happen. Water can get in there over time”

“Six weeks ago you guys did all this work on that section of my car and now you’re telling me it’s just a coincidence that there’s water in only that light housing?”

“No, it’s not coincidence, it’s an old car.” he responded in a don’t you know this? tone, adding, “Bring it in and we’ll fix it”

I knew the water trapped in there was likely do to the work they’d done. Even if they didn’t replace the light itself, how could Michael possibly know there wasn’t a connection?

I was LIVID.

This guy talking down to me, telling me a seven-year-old car is old (it’s really not), trying to get more money out of me by convincing me that they didn’t touch that light. When it happened back in July, he called to update me and said “I’ve never seen anything like this before!” and went on about how they’d have to take “everything back there apart”. And now he was telling me there was no chance the water issue was from the work that was done.

You know what the proper response is? An honest one. “I’m not a mechanic, but the repairs team can take a look. You never know!” Instead, I got a condescending, “It happens. Bring it in.”

“No thanks,” I told him coldly, “I’ll take my business elsewhere.” And hung up. I would pay trustworthy Timmy at Autothentic in Wakefield $300 to fix it before VW Medford would get a dime from me now.

I was crafting a scathing tweet about this injustice when my phone rang. I answered, and someone said “This is Harry over at the VW Dealership? I overheard your conversation and I’m looking at your paperwork and yeah, that may very well have been us. Bring it in and we’ll do a diagnostic for free”

Someone overheard that bullshit and stepped in. Hm.

The next morning I dropped the car off, before heading into Mass general for my steroid shot in my hip. Michael was available and Harry was on the phone. The womanwaiting behind me asked if I wanted to go to Michael and I said “No, I’ll wait for Harry”

I then overheard Michael condescend that woman about her tires. They were flat, she said. “Well, why didn’t you fill them?” he responded, again in that tone. “Because they’re brand new” she answered quietly. “Well sometimes they get soft. The air leaks out” clearly he feels he’s talking to an idiot.

What a jerk.

I left my key with Harry and went into Boston for my procedure. In the afternoon he called with an update, “Yup, it was us. They forgot to put the sealer back on”

I felt relief (and rage at Michael).

He informed me that they wouldn’t have the part until early the next morning. I decided I’d pick up my car so I could run errands and have a ride to my parents’ later that evening. Harry said he would call when the car was ready. They had to dry out the light, apparently.

Meanwhile, Harlow had gotten loose into the neighborhood for the first time in over a year, and as usual did not respond to my calls to her. She ran straight up to the busy street and I heard a screech as a car avoided hitting her (I know this because a passerby told me he saw her almost get hit). It was nightmare, and I had no car to lure her back with the promise of a car ride. I could only calmly walk towards her and wait for her to come to me.

I eventually got her back, and once she was safe at home the relief that she was OK, embarrassment that she doesn’t come to me when I call (still), the stress of not having my car, and having a morning at Mass General for my steroid shot, caught up with me. I was really upset.

I was pissed I didn’t have my unrepaired car back yet (if you can’t repair it, why can’t I just come get it?!), but waited to call them knowing I was upset and some innocent person was going to get my wrath.

I just wanted to salvage this day by at least getting some errands run!

I called them at 3:30. My car was ready. Not fixed, but ready.

This morning I got up hella early to bring the car in to have that sealer put back into the light. This summer has been nice because I’ve been able to sleep in a little and work a slightly later shift. It’s helpful for traffic and my sanity. But, today I got up earlier to get the car in. Finally, it would be fixed and I would never have to come back.

I dropped the keys with Harry and went and sat in the waiting room. About three minutes later, Harry came over and informed me that the part hadn’t come in yet, “It’ll come via FedEx, UPS, or postal around 11am…or maybe tomorrow”

Not Harry’s fault, but are you F&*KING kidding me?

So now I get to go back in early tomorrow, and maybe they’ll have the part then? I’m glad it will get fixed. I’m glad for Harry’s help. But thanks to Michael’s crap treatment, I will never be returning to the Medford VW Dealership and Repair.

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