Mar. 27th, 2010

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I took my car in to the Toyota dealership for maintenance today. Just routine stuff. It wasn't quite due for any work yet but I had a coupon that was going to expire on 4/2, and the rear end was feeling a little off to me in some turns, so I figured I'd go ahead and get things taken care of. I arrived at the dealership a little before 9 and turned the car over to a guy named Joe. He said it would probably be a couple hours, and I told him I was going to walk somewhere to eat but would be back.

Maybe this was my mistake, I walked to a nearby McDonald's and had breakfast there, and finished a book I'd been reading. I drank coffee, which is often bad medicine for me. Today I think it definitely was a bad idea. But going to the McDonald's, perhaps that was my error.

Around 9:45 I walked back to the dealership and saw my car parked in the 'exit' line. I thought oh great, it's already done, I'll be out of here before 10. I didn't see Joe anywhere and I needed to pee; I checked my phone and saw he hadn't called yet so I went to the restroom then walked back to get my car. Except, it was no longer there. I went and found Joe and asked if my car was done, as I'd seen it by the exit. He said the cashiers might know, he could check in a bit. I volunteered that I could do that and walked off to ask the cashiers. The cashiers paged Joe. I said OK, never mind, I saw it by the exit so I thought it was done but, I guess not. Let me know when it is ready please, etc.

I went into the waiting room and started a new book and had been reading for about an hour when Joe showed up. Nothing wrong with the car. OK, great. I paid the cashier and was told my car was around the corner. Except, the car wasn't around the corner. I went outside, looked around, couldn't find it. Went back in the building and waited. No car. Finally I went back to the cashier - hey, my car's not there, do you know where it would be? This was apparently something that is unheard of, and it seemed to take them 15-20 minutes to register there was an actual problem, and to finally decide they needed to fix it. They couldn't find the car and after awhile were asking me if there was anything maybe hanging from the rearview mirror that would help them pick it out.

Finally someone digging around in keys and paperwork discovered that the key to a car that had been loaned out was actually still there. They called the person who should've had the key and discovered that they had taken my car. They got the person to agree to bring the car back.

I think of myself as having some hothead tendencies, but in reality I'm not sure I lose my temper all that much. It occurred to me I needed to control my temper in this situation, as I don't have a lot of practice being angry with people and might not do it well. But, I was both pissed off and stressed out, and didn't really know what to do. I imagine it was clear I was both livid and agitated but I think I was fairly controlled about it. The manager talked to me and made the kind of apologies I hate having to make all too frequently where I work - this has never happened before, we'll change our processes because of this, I'm really sorry, etc. He gave me a coupon for a free tank of gas and an oil change. Hrm.

Then, I had to wait around a half an hour or so, fuming and worrying, til the idiot that took my car returned with it. I say 'idiot' because, look - my car is clearly someone's car, not a loaner or rental car. It's 8 years old and while the outside looks pretty decent, the interior is quite lived in. My gloves and scarf were on the backseat, my ipod cables in the front seat, for heaven's sake. The glove compartment, arm rest, and trunk are all full of stuff. I am pretty good about seeing other points of view but god damn, no one with any brains at all would've thought this was anything but another person's car.

So then of course I'm thinking if you're clueless enough to drive off in my car, what else did you do? Did you drive in low gear on the highway? With your stupid brain, what kind of damage did you inflict on this car I've managed to keep in pretty good shape? Did you run over someone?

The manager guy walked me to my car and I couldn't see for sure who had taken it although I had a couple suspects. I know that the culprit was short as well as stupid due to adjustments they made to the mirrors. I'm sure to the manager it was slightly silly, me all bent worrying over my eight year old car and my trunk full of diet soda. But you know, fuck you, I overpay you for work on the car because I want things done right, not so you can let some random asshole go joyriding for the morning while I waste time in your waiting room.

I feel like I can't go back to this dealership. Not that I made a scene or was unreasonable, just that it feels like when something such as this occurs, the smart thing is to not give the fuckups another chance to create problems. Of course there is probably no other dealership anywhere convenient to me but, we'll see.

So that's kind of been my day, being angry and then trying to get over it and worrying about my car and wishing I'd been able to spot the person who took it so that I could maybe understand why their actions seemed reasonable to them. And maybe a little glad I didn't see them since I might have not been able to resist venting. It is bad sometimes to feel like you've got a right to be angry. I guess I got a little story out of it though you can see what I've made of that.


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