I really need to grow a pair

I really need to grow a pair. Truly. I let people walk all over me and I actually give them engraved invitations it seems. Urg!

So I left my car at this auto repair place last Thursday. It had gone dead twice and I figured I needed a new battery. So the woman from the shop calls me Friday morning around 11 and said, “A battery for your car will cost $89.” I hate spending more money on my car, but I had a killer week coming up this week (meetings, putting up my art show, hosting my art reception Thursday, etc), so I said “Go ahead”. Then I sat waiting and waiting. Finally around 2:30 I called her back to see what the status was. “Oh, the two bays in my husbands garage are still full and its raining out, so its not ready yet.” Me (through gritted teeth): “Ok, well please call me because I need my car. I have a very busy week coming up”.

My mom then called and reminded me that my battery was probably still under warranty and may or may not cost $89. She, by the way, was just waiting to come get me, since the garage was two bus rides away. So I called the shop back and told the woman what I wanted to do, i.e., bring my own battery since it was still under warranty. And suddenly my car needed a $75 diagnostic.

Funny how that worked, huh? Here, let ME be your $75 diagnostic. I NEED A FUCKING BATTERY, LADY!

But I didn’t say anything, since I’m like the world’s largest wuss. So we hung up and I called my mom back to just come and get me. She lives about 17 miles away and the car place was about in the middle of us. So she finally comes and we go to the garage, because in the meantime I had called Napa Auto parts where I got my battery and asked what I needed. The number on the battery and, well the battery, so they could test it to see if it was really defective.

We arrive at the now growing Evil Auto Shop. It was pouring rain. The woman comes out, all pouty and hands me my car key and I run out and get the info and look under the hood at the battery number. Blah, blah. blah. I then go to get in my mom’s car and the lady yells at me. “I need the key back!!!” Like I could really steal a car with a dead battery in the middle of a fucking downpour. So we get to Napa. They were really nice. But they couldn’t give me the rebate price without the battery. I used my mom’s cell phone to call Cruella over at the other place. Her: “No, we can’t give you your battery until the job is done.” Did anyone else hear the word “YOUR”. Doesn’t this kinda sound like it shaping up into a hostage situation?

Bring da money or the Subaru getz it!”

So I paid the $89 and we drove back the HELL Auto Center and I lugged in the battery. The woman was standing there looking all irked. OMG, so sorry, your highness.

So we told he we needed the car before the end of the day and would be waiting up the street at a fast food place, since after all, it was only a battery replacement. She had my mom’s cell phone number. She said “Wahhhh! its raining out. My husband might get electrocuted”…Okay, she didn’t say that, but she did say she’d call when they were done. With the diagnostic. I told her I needed the car by the end of the day. Please just put the battery in. She again was standing there pouting. But she really got us good. Ha ha ha!

My mom and I went to Wendy’s and I ate a big thing of ice cream and I was all miserable and crying. All I could think was all the stuff I was going to have to go through because I didn’t have a car for the busy week ahead.  And of course my mom did her favorite saying….”I’m an optimist…you’re a pessimist”. Yeah. Thanks Mom!!

So we waited and waited. And yes, it did stop raining. Finally at almost 5 p.m. we drove up to the garage and guess what? Go ahead, guess?? The bastards had closed and were gone. And my car had magically gone from parking in the crappy front lot to a safe, widdle spot inside their LOCKED garage. You know, in case I tried to steal it before they their precious $75 diagnostic.


Was I unhappy? Just a smidge. And then my mom started saying I should have refused the diagnostic and demanded the key. And I was thinking…and like how was I supposed to dramatically drive away in a cloud of indignant dust if my battery was dead??? I cried a lot that night. All night.

The next morning I had something to go to that was right next store. So I hopped my two buses and got there right when they opened their doors…at 11 a.m. Cruella was off. I guess she was having a Mean Girl Replacement Valve done or something, so I had to deal with her husband, who amazingly turned out to be even a bigger dickhead than his wife. I told him I needed to get my car and was it ready. He said he had done the diagnostic and there was a BIG DRAW on the engine, but he hadn’t had any time to figure it out. Mind you, this was Day Three of my car being at his garage for a mere battery replacement.

I lost it. I don’t really lose it in public. I usually just stomp around my apartment and in my car cursing at people. I am definitely a candidate for Anger Management. I did take it once, but the woman who taught it was always late and it used to piss me off.

Anyways words were exchanged and somehow the words, “Your wife has been holding my car hostage for three days” came tumbling out of my mouth and he took my key and physically threw it at me. It kind of bounced off my shoulder. So I picked up the key and went out and fortunately the car was working…at that point….and I got to do my indignant cloud of dust out of the driveway. No payments were exchanged. I was actually just going next door to do an art meditation class. Naturally the battery was dead when I came out.  Fortunately some one gave me a jump start there and I got home in one piece.

I was pretty unhinged. Or more unhinged than usual because naturally the car didn’t start the next day…with the new battery. Incidently, before the car croaked I did get some of my money back from Napa Auto Parts and the guy there was extremely nice. He didn’t even check to see if the battery was, in fact, defective. I think he gave me a break there. Thanks Gary!!

So all day Sunday I tried to figure out what to do, since my impending week was going to be busy. So Monday I just went to a Monro Muffler up near where my mom lives (after yet ANOTHER jumpstart) and guess what? Go ahead guess? It was my Alternator. That’s it! That’s all it was! Genius at Brand X garage obviously missed the most obvious thing it could be next to a defective battery. Even I had thought, after a fashion, that it might be that. So I just said to fix it, even though it cost almost exactly half of my entire monthly income. YAY!

And I don’t know why…must be that pessimist thing, but I still didn’t trust that it was fixed until the car actually started on Monday evening for a meeting I had to go to. Charlemagne called for a ride and I had to wait until I knew the car was working. And it even started Tuesday for the hanging of my art show at this next little gallery. I was still convinced that it wouldn’t. So I’m….ALMOST….convinced, that the last car place actually did the right auto repair and my car should be working for the rest of the week.

I know one thing….I better sell a painting or two, since that has now become my main source of income for car repairs.


12 Responses to “I really need to grow a pair”

  1. stepfordtart Says:

    If its any consolation a new starter motor cost me around $1200 for my car. Turns out there *probably* wasnt anything wrong with the starter motor at all as I also had to buy a new battery about a week later. Another $200. I weep with you, dear witty, I weep with you! s x

  2. freshhell Says:

    I HATE being burned by mechanics because you’re at their mercy and they know it. And take advantage of that fact – the really corrupt ones. I had a wonderful mechanic once and I nearly cried when he retired. I’d finally paid for his boat with all the repair work he’d done to my vw bug. Still miss him. Guys like him are rare. Don’t feel too bad – I’m never able to stand up to people like that either. Maybe we BOTH need some kind of “grow some” pills.

  3. Lisa Says:

    I had some bullshit happening with my car battery as well over the weekend which forced me to buy my own portable jumpstarter…..cost $89 but I will never have to have AAA jump me again since I can just keep this in my car at all times for when it happens again (which it will.)
    So I used the jumpstarter the last time it was dead and it worked yay! Got out of my car to close the hood and closed the door by mistake which LOCKED MY KEYS INSIDE!!! Having no spare and no one to help me I was forced to call AAA to have them unlock my doors. Which of course used up my last free service call for the year. So ya, I can really relate to what happened to you. 😦 fuckers!!!

  4. karmacat Says:

    So sorry for your frustration.

    I went through a very similar situation at Pep Boys (why Pep Boys – because they’re open nights and weekends) a couple of years ago. The battery they had put in barely made it a year before biting it. I went in for a replacement/refund, and, yeah, they had to run the whole diagnostic BS to determine whether I was intelligent enough to know what a dead battery was. They didn’t tell me they were doing this, nor did they tell me how long I would be waiting. THREE HOURS later, I had a mad crazy fit for all the store and garage to hear. I ordered them to halt the diagnostic and install a new battery at no cost to me. And a bunch of other threats. I was leary about what they were/were not doing to placate me, and sure enough, the “new” battery they installed konked out in less than three months. I had kind of suspected they wouldn’t hand over a new battery so easily. Needless to say, I have not been back since. Instead, I have to take time off from work to go to a regular, non-franchise garage.

    This diagnostic testing crap has to be one of the biggest rip-offs out there. I’d like to shove one of those machines up the ass of every garage owner. It only seems just.

  5. Shippie Says:

    Car plights are such a drag! I had a friend…who was also a housemate…who was a mechanic. And SHE was even an ass!! No free cuz we’re friends look under the hood and give me an opinion. No ‘oh you don’t need that, trust me we just do that to get more money off of people’….nothing. That woman raked me over the bank coals on more than one occasion with unnecessary repairs and parts. I despise mechanics! All of them!! I fee for you!

  6. artgnome Says:

    I’ve always been careful about finding trustworthy mechanics. There is nothing worse than an asshole mechanic. If anyone would have given me that kind of an attitude or thrown anything in my direction, they would have been talking to the police, that’s what a menopausal bitch I am.

    I’m glad you are away from them and the best revenge is to post and tell everywhere who they are and what they did to you. Bad reviews get around fast. There are even pages online where you can give reviews of local businesses. I suggest you let them have it!

  7. Anna Says:

    Nightmare, witty, absolute nightmare. So relieved that you have your car working again xxx

  8. Holly Says:

    I’ve been ripped off a few times by mechanics, the worse was being charged for an alternator when all I needed was a belt (I should have went to my roommate’s dad inthe first place. Now it helps that both my ex and my son are car entusiasts and quite mechanical. Mike is a jack ass, but he knows cars and he knows the shit that some shops pull (showing a ‘defective’ part that isn’t even from the car and then charging people to ‘replace it’, with thier own original part, and worse. I’m so glad I have a son who will be going into that field, most likely.

  9. xat Says:

    Grrrrr. What an enormous, ridiculous, pain in the ass!

    I am discovering that, with the right manual, you can do a lot of your own work. And, judging from what you wrote, you’ve got good instincts about what might be the causing the troubles.

    Your local NAPA should have aftermarket repair manuals for sale. One specific to your model and a good, general guide to auto repair should give you the tools to either do it yourself, or talk with some authority to a mechanic.

    You can do it. I know you can.


  10. Seacreature Says:

    Okay, the asshole THREW the key at you? What is he, 10?! What the fuck is WRONG with people??!

    I’m sorry you had to deal with all that bullshit…and then to have your mom throw it in your face when you’re at a very low point. You shoulda glopped that freezie onto her face. You know, pick up the cup and smoosh some chocolate ice cream right up her nose.

    I hope your car is a good girl for you this week. Good luck…and enjoy the artness of it all! ((hugsies))

  11. kittiefan17 Says:

    you know what? great job witty! I really like the way you take matters into your own hands. I, for one, don’t know jack about cars besides the fact that you turn the key to start it. Atleast you know your car well enough to know what’s good for it. That’s actually a good quality to have. It demonstrates INTELLIGENCE!

  12. Allyson Says:

    witty, I want you to take me with you the next time you have to deal with things where having a pair would help. There is nothing in this world I enjoy more than yelling at customer SERVICE people who give poor service. And, I would sue the mechanic who threw the key at you. Even with no physical damage done to you, that is abuse, and he’s an asshole who deserves to lose his business.

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