Toyota Must Love Me After All
ABOUT SIX OR EIGHT MONTHS AGO I began getting snail mail, E-mail, and text messages from my local Toyota dealer telling me it was time to bring in our car for its 25,000 mile check-up. Because the car had only about 16,000 miles on it at the time I really didn’t pay much attention to their communications.
They didn’t like that.
I think they were assuming that I drove a lot more than I actually do. Before I retired I was on the road all day. I had to fill up the tank at least once a week, but now it is once every three weeks, if not longer. Terre Haute (That’s French for, “May I rotate your tires, Monsieur?”) is not that big a town.
I started getting a “reminder” from Toyota every week. At one point I called them to ask them to cease and desist with their onslaught of messages and junk mail. They smiled, telephonically, but nothing changed. They kept sending. I kept deleting. I kept the coupons, of course. I figured that by the time the day would come for me to take the car in they might end up owing me a few bucks.
That day was today.
I made an appointment for 8:30 AM. I was to get an oil change (with coupon) and the 25,000 mile look-see even though the car was at 23, 596 miles. I try to be flexible.
I arrived on time. I’m the punctual sort. OK – I was really 15 minutes early. I felt that it was like a doctor’s appointment where they ask you to show up early, but I didn’t bring all my meds with me. That would have filled up the car.
The “Customer Lounge” really does have the look and the feel of a Hospital Waiting Room and an Airport. There is a TV tuned to the Weather Channel (Must not offend anyone – except for those people who hate Jim Cantore.), more old magazines than the Mayo Clinic, and a super large screen labeled “Departures.” Instead of planes leaving for Orlando or Las Vegas, these Departures were listings of the times before customers cars would be ready to go. I was scheduled to take off at 9:30.
There were four other people in the lounge with me – two men who looked semiconscious, and a young woman who was intently focused on her computer. The fourth was a woman who was sitting on the leather sofa holding her head in her hands. She was the picture of Grief. I knew that she had to be the driver whose car was listed as departing at 5:00 PM. She was going to be there all day. Her car must have been in for the automotive equivalent of a heart/lung/liver/pancreas/credit limit transplant. I felt bad that there wasn’t a real gift shop there. I would have bought her some mints.
The only flaw in my morning was that after leaving the Toyota folks behind, I stopped at Sam’s Club and dug myself into a financial hole for the day.
It’s a good thing I don’t get too many discount coupons. I can’t afford them.