Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Letter To Gilbert

  Note to reader: What follows isn't a C.P.E. at all, but rather a transcription of a letter I recently wrote on graph paper, to a local auto mechanic. I so enjoyed myself; writing it, that the idea that you also might like looking it over too(?), crossed my mind today.
  Instead of viewing it as a mere sarcasm-bomb, try imagining it as a first try at "conflict resolution". I've never really attempted to do that, when I feel wronged, I just "suck it up, and move on". . . I hear-by promise to not "repair" the original, but simply record what was written that night.

                                                                                                                         5 Sep 2014

Dear Gilbert,

  I came into your establishment seeking repairs on my '96 Toyota Tacoma. That was 6 Aug, 2014. I was billed, and paid (check #xyz1 BOA), for services rendered. The single reason I approached you, was due to my seeking advice, as to whom to (best) deal with my recent transmission issues.
  When hot, and at a stop, the beginning phase of accel was beginning to "slip". B & G Total Alignment sent me to you. That. . . was my error and believe me, I shall NOT repeat it!
  You found water in my ATF fluid. I said: "That's weird. How could water get in there anyhow?". Your response was something like: "I can't imagine! I've been doing this for 19 years, and have never seen this before!". I thought: "Uh-oh, this sounds expensive", but said instead: "What can we do?".
  Now we get to the weird part. You suggested draining . . ."what we can". . .(?) of the fluid, refilling (about) 1/2 the fluid, and refilling. . . I asked: "Why not just drain it all?". You said: "We have no way of getting it out." I said; "Well, how come Roper's Lubri-cator "can", and you "can't"?". You replied; "We do not have the equipment for that type of work". I should have ended the transaction there and then. It was my error to agree to your "suggested fix". I take responsibility.
  About one week later; the problem began manifesting again. I spoke with you on the phone, Friday evening about 5:30 p.m. (15 Aug 2014). I wish now, I had recorded the conversation! It was a gem! You informed me that Gilbert's "Transmission Service" is not open on Saturdays, and that I should (apparently, skip work?) bring it in again, Monday morning. Your keen insight on the matter ran thus: "Well, maybe it's something down in the transmission, causing the problem, we'll have to take it apart and 'see what we can find'. . .(!)". Gosh, that's a GREAT suggestion!
  As I recall, it was precisely at that moment, that I decided, "This guy is NEVER getting near my truck again!". Gadzooks! He "thinks maybe (?) something 'might be' wrong?". Uhm, aren't we already quite certain. . . just there?
  So, I did what I should have done 10 days earlier, and brought it to Roper's (oddly enough) upon a bright Saturday morning. Prior to that stop, I went to Auto Zone.
  For Free (?) they dumped the codes in my truck's computer, to see if (possibly) a solenoid fault was showing up. . . uh, does Gilbert's have that "equipment"? Nothing on the tranny showed up: Ergo, there is no "problem somewhere down inside the transmission".
  Question: How come the lady at A.Z. KNEW-so. . . and you were still guessing? What's up, with that?
  Further, I described to the lube-guy at Roper's, my problem. I asked: "Supposing I wanted to get water in my transmission for some pointless reason, how could it get in there?". He said: "It's easy, I see that problem 'all the time'...".
  Isn't that interesting? Don't you think that is a memorable quote Mr. G? "In fact, (said the man) there are 'at minimum' two (!) ways water can enter the fluid.". Two?.. And the guy with 19 years service has "never" seen this before?
  I asked; "Is it even possible to evacuate ALL of the fluid, plus-water out of there, and refill?". He said; "Well, it's gong to be expensive, but we do it all the time". "Do it", said I. One hour and nine minutes later, NOT four hours and 47 minutes, like some people. . . he wrapped it up. I was out an additional $120.87, and it is money well spent. trust me, on that.
  Upon leaving Roper's, I decided to give it several weeks in order to observe the results of their work, prior to writing you this letter, of which they shall receive a duplicate. I wanted to find out if their simple and easy fix, rather than dis-assembling the thing, in order to "look around"(!) was going to work properly. It has.
  The way I see it, you charged me 20 more bucks than they, in order to do "one half" of the job, while working at 1/4 the speed! You owe me.
  It's odd (don't you agree?) that somehow; I became a "better" transmission diagnostician in about 17 minutes of friendly conversation with a young pup, than a man with OVER 228 months(?) of experience at destroying perfectly good devices?
  I finish this essay with four points, a parting shot, a request, a suggestion to better serve your (poor pitiful) customers, and a promise!
  The parting shot goes this-a-way. Perhaps 12-14 days after(?) your "work was completed", I received a phone call from a lady at Gilbert's Trans Svc. I do not recall her name. Anyhow, she inquired: "Is this the labor union?". I replied; "Huh? Uhm, well, no it isn't, but my last name is "Labor", does that help?". She informed me that nobody at Gilbert's "could figure out" the billing information. I thought; but did not say: "Good God, What amateurs! She has (or had) my personal check (#xyz1 BOA) WITH MY name printed in BOLD in the upper let corner. . ."? I had those checks "specially ordered" in that way. . .you see? Very bizarre business plan you have there Mr. G.
  As per the recommendation; either change the signage to read; "Gilbert's Fishing Expeditions", or (God forbid!) buy some effing tools to DO. . . your JOB! For starters, I'd go hang around Auto Zone for a few minutes and ask; "Hey, where could a guy find one of those fancy, newfangled "code-reader" thingies anyhow?". Next, go to the professionals at Roper's Lube, and plead with them to show you precisely how to drain a transmission beyond the half way point, and where in honking hades a chap might buy the "equipment" to do so! Just a thought there. . . ZANY huh?
  Per the request, I'm asking you to do the right-business, professional gig, and refund my money in FULL.
  And my promise? Well, it's twofold. First I promise never ever ever to bother you for any reason, or ask any service of you. Ain't that "big" of me? But the better part of the promise please? I promise never to tell you, under any circumstance how water might possibly enter an automatic transmission!
  You see? It's a "trade secret" which, over my vast 27 minutes of training I must closely guard! My lips are sealed. . . except to tell babies, chimpanzees, and those seeking advice. My advice friend? Go to Roper's! They are the pros! They work real fast! Wow, and they are real reasonably priced too!
  Godspeed to you, and your house, my prayers are with you, and FOR you.
                                                                                                          Mike LABOR (union)

P.S. To reader: the only changes I made are to go all-cap on "key" words. Still can't figure out this font thing, so to UNDERLINE! Strangely, have not yet heard from Gil? Wonder why?

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