August 14th, 2013

Jam jam jam

The trains are efficient, the food service isn't always!

I've been living in Japan for five months now. In my experience, staff in Japan are usually always 'on', with their smiles and politeness, always very 'genki' (energetic and cheerful). The wait staff at one restaurant the other night was no different - except that something must have been going wrong between the waitresses and the kitchen.

We had a party of maybe 12 people, all foreigners. At least two of us spoke fluent-enough Japanese to communicate effectively, and made it known when we got there by translating for the rest of us when needed :)

Staff were very attentive with getting us lots of drinks, which was odd when compared with the food service, since we had opted for the 'all you can drink' option, so more drinks doesn't get them any more money. But on the food side of things, where they *would* be getting more money the more we ordered, they were surprisingly lax.

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*sigh* TL;DR - staff keep us waiting up to 45 minutes for simple sushi, and one guy doesn't even get any food at all.

Repair shop fails to repair car...repeatedly

I just got back from getting married, and I have SO many stories for this comm it's not even funny. But let's start with the ongoing issue from just before the wedding.

A couple weeks ago, I noticed that my parking brake no longer functioned; it's the kind with a foot lever to set it, and the lever had no resistance when I pressed it, like it wasn't hooked up to anything. So I scheduled an appointment for this past Saturday at my local branch of Midas.

They diagnosed that the cable had snapped (which seemed reasonable given the symptom), but also that my front roters and pads and my back roters, pads, and calipers needed replacing. Since I had a long drive to get to the wedding site, I figured brakes are kind of important, so I signed up for a payment plan and had them go ahead and flush some fluids (including the transmission fluid, this will be important later) and do an oil change as well.

I got the car back on a Saturday night, a few minutes after they closed, and the parking brake had resistance to it when I set it at home, so I figured all was well. We didn't take my car at all on Sunday, but Monday morning, when I headed out for work,
forgetting I had set the brake, I put the car in reverse... and it started rolling a little (I live in a hilly region). Curious, I gave it a touch of gas, and it pulled right out of the parking space as though the brake wasn't set -- which it still was. Ugh.

I brought it back to them Monday night, having to leave work early to get there before they closed (which represents a small but real loss of income), and they were very apologetic, saying it just needed tightening. I picked it up 4 minutes before they closed and took it home.

Tuesday, when heading out, I went halfway up the sloped driveway to our parking lot and put it in neutral, setting the parking brake. Sure enough, when I let go of the normal brake, it rolled right down the hill. So the problem was still not fixed! If they're this sloppy about the parking brake, I figured, how can I be sure they did my normal brakes right?! I'd hate to be up in the mountains on my road trip and have my brakes fail! Still, I needed to get to work and back, so I brought it back in AGAIN, and they fixed it AGAIN. It didn't grip as well as it used to, I felt less rock-solid, but at least it was functional.

So I go to the wedding and I get back and now I'm feeling some bumpiness when I start driving after being stopped. Today, it's REAL jerky -- at one point I wondered if I'd been rear-ended, but no, it jerked forward super hard on its own. I do some googling; turns out, you should NEVER do a flush on the transmission fluid on an Impala, because it will cause "gear slippage", and you shouldn't do it on an older car like mine, for fear of similar issues. So basically, now I've got a crap transmission because the mechanic I spoke to recommended a service I never should have had done!

At this point, I feel like he should be paying another mechanic to fix the damn car, because this is just wrong. My dad suggests I sue for malpractice :/ What do you guys think I should do? Besides never ever trust my car to those idiots again, of course.