There's a certain peace that comes over me when I realize I can just walk away from a stressful situation. Pull the cord on the emergency chute. This is the type of calm that settled over me tonight during a careening ride through rush hour Toronto traffic in a beat-up Beck taxi--a ride paid for by my car dealership; no doubt because I got General Motors Canada involved in a little "disagreement" about the latest service incident with my car. Tonight, I decided, is the last time I deal with Midtown Saturn Saab. I can pay this ridiculous bill, walk out the door, and never come back...
I blogged about these car troubles on the 16th and the 19th. The trouble on the 19th (howling noise from engine; fluid leaking out) turned out to be a loose power steering hose, right under the top radiator hose. The very radiator that the dealer did a flush & fill on last week. No, I know. Completely unrelated.
I was informed of this over the phone this morning. In addition, I was told that since the problem was unrelated to the previous service, the dealer would no longer be covering the cost of the tow (as promised on Saturday morning). "I really fought for you," the service rep said, "but the manager won't budge." Then he launched into yet another pitch about how I should disregard the manual's recommended oil change intervals (16000 km regular use; 8000 km severe service) and get the oil changed today (5956 km after the last change). Do these people work on commission?
I said I'd call back. But my next call was to GM Canada. They heard the story, and requested a faxed copy of the Nov. 16 repair order. This afternoon, GM called me back. After speaking with the dealer, it seemed there was a "miscommunication" about who would be paying for the towing charges. Midtown would pay for the tow as promised, and GM would try and get Midtown to come down a bit on the current repair price.
So I cabbed up to the dealer, paid the $102.81 bill, and left. I won't be back.
I wish I didn't care about cars. I wish I didn't care what kind of car I drive, or that I felt the need to own one at all. Earlier tonight in the stinking taxi, I looked out the window and watched the traffic beside me on Mount Pleasant Road. Two gorgeous E-class Mercedes-Benz, followed by a Pontiac Montana. All three drivers were getting from A to B. The Benzes had gleaming, crystal-like headlamps and pretty gauges casting attractive glows on the drivers' faces. The Pontiac needed a wash. My mind drifted to the recently-announced massive layoffs at General Motors. Too many cars being produced and then sold at cut-rate "employee" discounts. Cars are a disposable commodity, I thought. They're like microwave ovens, or cordless telephones, or widgets.
Anyone want to buy a widget? It's all up-to-date on its service!