Monday, August 27, 2012

Not-so "Reliable Towing"

This whole saga began on this past Saturday AM. I was getting ready to go and from the grocery store, and then do my regular work routine. At least, that's what I'd planned...

There were no signs of life when I turned the key in the ignition, only a few red icons, including the battery light. I called the 800 number for Ford Roadside Assistance, and got a soothing, young voice, who dispatched this Reliable Towing company to give the battery a jump. The dealership's regular shop was not open on weekends, so I had fingers crossed that this would be a one-time intervention, and then I could move on with my life, thank you very much. This is important, since even on Saturdays, I usually have my life scheduled to the nanosecond.

I ambled around my back driveway, taking the deeeeeeep breaths I'm frequently encouraging in my clients, to bring down their feelings of irritation and frustration. Finally I got a call from the tow-truck driver, saying he was in front of my house, and where was I? I explained that my garage was situated not in front, but in back, off the alley. This is the case with many of my neighbors, as can be observed if one were to drive along my street. I had clearly explained that to Roadside Assistance, and had been given reassurance that this information would be passed along. Throughout the years, and with all the vehicles I've driven, it's never been a problem.

The driver seemed totally perplexed, saying, "I don't know how to get to the alley. Can you come out and point the way?" (Oh, really? You don't know how to make two right-hand turns?) When I said it was around the corner, he said, "I don't think I can do that." So, I stomped out through the side gate, and pointed (but not with the finger I was tempted to use), and wonder of wonders, he made it to the garage.

I got to and from the store, and then to and from work without incident. Sunday AM saw another dead battery, and I begged the same dispatcher to NOT SEND RELIABLE TOWING. This time, the neon yellow truck that arrived had "Polite Auto Service" on the side and was driven by an older,soft-spoken gentleman who actually had his wits about him. My plan was to keep my car running until I could get to the dealership on Monday afternoon after my morning appointments. My new "BFF" at Roadside Assistance and I agreed to schedule a "just-in-case" jump start appointment for Monday AM between 5:30 - 6 AM, which I would call and cancel if it was not needed. Fine, this worked for me. Again, I got to and from my office with no problems.

Today, Monday AM, I was up even before Tiggy, at 4:15, to go out and check if I needed the jump (turned out I did). I made breakfast for Mom, put her lunchtime provisions in the insulated bag, and set about with an efficient pace, with an eye toward the 5:30 - 6 AM ETA. At 4:50, I got a cell phone call from *cue the screechy horror film music*, RELIABLE TOWING. They were outside, in front of the house, demanding to know where I was.

I lost it. Not one to lose my temper on the phone, I yelled that they were way ahead of schedule, and I was just not ready! Click! A few minutes later, a (I believe) dispatch supervisor called me back, and I swung into Round Two, telling him that clear arrangements had been made with Roadside Assistance, and all this miscommunication was unacceptable. He yelled back, and said he'd route me to another company. Fine, do that...and I was so ramped up at that point, I didn't need any coffee! And it wasn't even 5 AM.

You know what they say about not "poking the bear"? Well, the same goes for pissing me off early in the morning.

So then, there I was, 5:32 AM on a Monday morning, fully dressed, doing the old "hurry up and wait" dance. Then, at 5:35, the call came...

P & M Towing was passed the baton this time, and I was to work was ahead of schedule, affording me time to do my makeup in the parking lot, slurp some now lukewarm coffee, and set myself right for my clients. I got my last jump at 2:30 (from an unmarked truck this time) and sped to my dealership. While I waited at Galpin, I had a late lunch/early dinner/whatever at their Horseless Carriage Restaurant -- a marvelously gooey cheeseburger and a huge hot fudge sundae for dessert. As I type this, it's weighing a bit heavy in my stomach, but I'm glad I indulged. Even if it was a couple of thousand calories, they call it "comfort food" for a very good reason.

I'm home, and it's not even 7:45 PM. I've got a fatigue-headache, and I'm going to crash any minute. My car now has a new battery, and all is well. I'm going to drop a note to my dealership and Roadside Assistance, thanking them for their assistance and giving them my feedback about the entire experience.

When I enter my car tomorrow, perhaps I'll kiss the steering wheel and promise not to take it for granted again.

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