Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nailing Customer Service

Daddy Day Care has been in service for the past three days while the wife enjoys a city with more doctors per capita than lawyers, Target cashiers, and McDonald's drive-thru specialists combined while attending a conference for work.  Holding up the weather beaten home fort as been more a test of which side of Harvey Two-Face was going to come out of the kids the next minute.  Picking the kids up garnered whines of wanting the window down despite the humid Minnesota air being thick and hot enough to slow cook a 64oz. ribeye.

(photo cred: stuffwelike)
Heads:  We love you  Tails:  We'll just break your laptop and soul

Add in another chunk of tree missing my house but squarely falling in a neighbor's yard and the air conditioning deciding that 86 degree is an acceptable temperature while trying to figure out the differences between double-declining and straight-line depreciation methods and my patience remaining could have filled one of those four holes on a button.

Yesterday after a brief flash flood and just as quickly clearing up for swimming lessons, I placed each kid in the car ready for the dreadfully humid Brooklyn Center pool.  "Hmmmmmm"  I thought after getting the newly minted seven year old situated with his Pokemon guide book (yes I used exactly six "M's").  The back tire was a little low as in "yeah, that would blow out on I-694 if you don't get some air in it".  After having the transmission in the mini-van during the coldest day of the year, why not go for the mother nature yearly double and get stuck in the same place only this time sweat your balls off instead of fighting hypothermia.

The culprit bend nail was found quickly as my mechanically inclined father had an air compressor and was able to fill it up but not plug the hole.  The ride was smooth, and swimming lessons were enjoyable as my son looked like he finally mastered the doggy paddle well enough to move up a level, and the daughter did not drown the teacher so I'll call that a win.  At 6:15 my sister mentioned a tire place right on the way home which I would attempt to sneak in to take care of this nail since I'd need all four Firestones working in perfect harmony for this weekend's meeting of degenerates. 

First stop:  Discount Tire Co.  I could see an emptyish parking lot next to Home Depot and figured this quick fix would take no more than 20 minutes.  The garage bays were still open but as my flip-flopped kids walked towards the tires showroom the hours were from 8am - 6pm.  Really?  Do people's car problems only happen during business hours? 

Just unlucky I guessed and went towards an auto repair corner of Brooklyn Park that I remembered.

Second stop:  Firestone Complete Auto Care  Garage bay still open as seen after deftly moving thru all the possible auto care places and arriving 20 minutes before closing.  Might get gouged here but the thorn in my steed's hoof needed removal.  The chrome-domed "manager" had to unlock the door to tell me they 1) wouldn't take in the car  2) don't do plug/patches, only patches  3)  he was late for his Call of Duty pizza and beer night.  But, made a suggestion to hit up Tire Plus down the road.  Hulk not like, Hulk smash.

Third stop:  Tires Plus  My brother once worked for this fine company (for two weeks) and left due to its complete lack of professionalism such as hand tightening lug nuts and denying anything wrong when the wobbly car came back in.  But, I needed a quick fix and with only one car up on the lift and about four mechanics around, I figured there was plenty of time since they were open until eight.  Again, the kiddies strolled inside as the barely out of high school manager type who spent a little too much time inside the cheese curds deep fryer explained they do not do plug/patches and it would take over two hours.  Pointing out the glut of mechanics and lack of cars got me a blubbery spew of apologies but no advancement.  Hulk want hit something.

(photo cred: here)

Last stop:  Salvation.  After driving around the small town of Osseo (which is nearly inside of Maple Grove) and no mom and pop shops open, down County Road 30 I spied some small businesses tucked behind some pines.  Maple Grove Auto Service spelled out in bubble popping red letters had a business hours sign stating they were open until nine and like Princess Leia's message to Obi-Wan:  They were my only hope.  Fearing for the worst and getting polite, complete service was unexpected to say the least.  $.50 cans of pop and a genuine smile went a long way since my kids decided that sitting quietly was not in their nature.  20 minutes later, plugged/patched, $17 invoice in hand and peace-of-mind driving ahead.

A lot can be said about large corporations forgetting the smallest business tenant of personal service trumping short-term profit margins.  True, Maple Grove Auto Service could have bent me over like Bree Olson in No Holes Barred #19 but instead they gained a positive customer, a positive review, and a little faith that my quaint suburb hasn't been completely engulfed in vapid pre-packaged franchises.

1 comment:

Wolfshead said...

Service with a decent price, what more can you ask for except maybe finding the place sooner.

That's what you get for buying Firestones.