December 27th, 2007

big gun!

Tale inspired by the mechanic's horror stories + bonus car rental failure

I got rear ended a few months ago, in my 2006 Corrola. We weren't sure where to take it to, so we called the dealer and they recommended the small local chain across the street from them, Riverdale. There was an Enterprise two doors down. We've had a favorable experience with the rental company in the past. Never used the mechanic before.

I'm not sure on some of the lead-up to this, as my dad handled most of the phone wrangling, but I was the runner, since I had breaks between classes during the day. But I do know the guy's insurance was supposed to pay for the repair and a rental, since I work two jobs and go to school.

The damage was a dent + paint scraping on my trunk lid, and complete destruction of my outer bumper, plus some damage to my trunk, and the place where the spare is kept to the point that we couldn't get it out. (I was hit by a minivan.)

The repair itself looks good. My dad who knows quite a bit about cars checks it over, and it's okay. They'd repaired and repainted the bent material, and replaced the bumper. Now, if anyone's seen Pimp My Ride, or any other car repair/customization show, you know that when they paint a car, they mask off the glass.

For us... that didn't happen. I didn't notice until the first rainfall a couple days later. I was delivering sandwiches in a light rain, and my wipers were fogging the outside of my glass. (the paint overspray was grabbing hold of the water droplets, making it look foggy.) That made for an interesting night of deliveries. I tell my dad about it, and there's more phone wrangling. I'm told to bring it in when I can, given my substitute schedule (I get called first thing in the morning if I'm needed) and my class schedule. They just ask to know a day ahead of time, we tell them friday afternoon for sure. I take it, they clean it, problem solved.

Meanwhile, we rented a car. Since I'm the primary driver, I had to put down a deposit on it, instead of using my brother's credit card. This is a problem as I don't have a lot of wiggle room in my finances for them to just take 50+ at random. (In b4 personal finance wank) I'm reluctant, but we need the car, so I do it. I'm told I'd get it back at the end pending damages/mileage. I have the car for a week and a half, the time the body shop has my car. They actually finished the car in a week, but they wouldn't give it to us until something with the guy's insurance went through. Despite my schedule, it ends up working out that I return the car on the same day they release the car.

But here's the Enterprise suck: They said the insurance company wouldn't pay for the extension of the rental due to the body shop holding the car, so they took the deposit without warning me, and then expected another 100+. I talked to the guy, asked him to please do everything they could to get the insurance company to pay it. Guy just turns short, snippy, and rude on me, so I just drop it. My dad pays it, and reimburses me the 50 they took, most likely after talking to them on the phone. (I don't pay for the car to begin with, at the time I didn't even have to pay for gas.)

I know it's a business, not a charity, but it was pretty clear that the situation leading to us having the car an extra few days was not due to laziness of not wanting to turn it in, it was due to their own shit insurance company. (The guy that hit me was driving an Enterprise rental.)
Mesousa spin

Gas leak? No pilot light in winter? Well, those aren't REAL emergencies, are they?

When I'm not heaping my own misery on myself during Christmas vacation at home with the family, the gas company is doing it for us. We've kept the thermostat pretty low most of the week and worn sweaters, which contributes to the sad tale of people who don't seem to care about their jobs.

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The New Jersey Utility Commission will hear of this day's events tomorrow - and tomorrow's events the following Monday, if the gas company doesn't start doing its job properly by then. We should not be playing phone tag while our house fills with gas in the background!
Narcis Maggock

999 Bad Service.

Last night at 1.30am, I needed to call the police when a man and a woman were having some sort of drink/drug fuelled fight outside my house. My area isn’t the sort that’s used to this kind of sight – no pubs, clubs, shanty homes or anything nearby. He started punching her and sitting on her in the street, with their car blocking the middle of the road, engine off, no lights. So I thought it was a good time to call the police!

I dial 999 and ask for the police in my area. I get put on hold while my call is transferred to the local exchange. This is not the suck.

The suck is that no matter how many times I told the operator where I was and where this fight was taking place, he just could not “pull it up” on the system.

Operator: “Are you sure that’s the name of the road?”

Me: “Yes, I LIVE here. *House number and street name*”

Op: “Hmmm, no, it’s not coming up. Is it two words?”

Me: “No, one.*Repeats it slowly* Let me spell it for you *spells it out slowly*

Op: “No, still not coming up . . .” *makes no other suggestions and goes quiet*

Me: “I can give you my postcode.”

Op: “No, our system doesn’t work on postcodes.”

Me: *Thinking FFS* “Look, try the adjacent road. The fight is happening at this junction. It’s ****** Avenue

Op: “No . . . that’s not coming up, either.”

Me: “Spells it out really slowly” I wasn’t panicked before, but now I’m rather pissed. I don't mumble and I was very calm while watching this whole thing continue outside.

Op: “Oh, spelt with an “ F!” There it is! Got it. Ok, be there soon. Thanks, bye.”*Click*

Remember that all during this 5 to 10 minute long phone call, the guy is still smacking the girl around. She’s still screaming hysterically and smashing at her car horn. I have no idea what he’s doing to her in that car, but it sounds horrifying.

The guy is in and out of the car at random, screaming he’s “gonna smash her in." This goes on for what was another 5 minutes. But then he sees a police car at the end of the road, jumps in and drives off with no lights top speed in the opposite direction. The girl is in the vehicle with him, still screaming.

It actually takes the coppers another five minutes to reach the junction where this is all happening. And there were three cars! Not one of them spotted anything. And it was yet another 5 minutes until one parked-up copper got out of their snug car and came to speak to me who was freezing their ass off in the porch, waving at them to come over.

No-one took my name, not a statement, nothing. Even now I have no idea what happened and just hope the girl is alright. Had I been 6 foot  and a bloke, would I have been better off going out there and pulling the pair apart?

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