so i'm sitting in the waiting room at the toyota dealership. no, i'm not buying a new car. i'm here for an oil change. i know, we are one of those crazy types who have all of our car maintenance done by the dealership. yes, i'm sure it is more expensive, but i have also learned to convince myself that they somehow take better care of my car than the guys down at george's garage. maybe its the nice and shiny factory parts. maybe its the free coffee in the waiting room. maybe its the way i get to walk through the showroom on my way to the coffee, and be reminded by all the nice new cars that the investment i made 24 months ago has very quickly depreciated. ahh yes, nothing like a little financial anxiety to go with your oil change and instant cappuccino.
but i'm not the only one. i mean, there are others who also opt for this ridiulous mode of torture, but they all appear to be over the age of 73. and they love free coffee.
despite my affinity for talking with old ladies about how expensive it is to have their cars worked on, and how difficult it is to get cat hair off the back seat, that is not the reason i come here for oil changes and other routine car maintenance jobs that i should have learned how to do myself. and, believe it or not, its not even the free joe, rich and creamy and oily as it is. i come here because of accountability.
that's right: accountability. somehow i believe that big brother or mr. toyota or some overpaid government person is watching out to make sure that big fancy dealerships like this one serve fresh coffee and don't rob and steal from their unsuspecting and (mostly very old) customers. when i've been to george's garage, not only was george lacking a good free caffeinated beverage, he also spoke too fast. he told me things like, "wellwecheckedoutthesoundyoutoldusaboutanditlookslikeyou'vegotacarbeuratorproblem, andthenwealsonoticedasmalloilleakundertheheadgasket, sowe'regoingtoneedtoripoutyourwholeengine, andwhileweareintherewemightaswellchangethetimingbeltandtheplugsand, radiatorschmadiatorabracadabrawearegoingtorobyoublindandmakeyoufeeltotallydependentonus,
this is why i come to the big shiny toyota dealer. accountability. here, the people employed by the company are trained not to use the big words in front of you. they speak calmly and confidently, as if everything is totally okay, even as they ask you to sign here, indicating that you agree to $1,200 worth of work that you didn't anticipate. they also direct you to the free coffee. if one employee accidently smirks at you, realizing how incredibly stupid you are, the other employees probably take care of things behind the scenes, threatening said employee with tire rotation duty for a month. "we only laugh at the customers when they are out of earshot," they probably say, which isn't really a problem since most of the customers are fully equipped with hearing aids that don't allow them to hear anything over the conveniently loud sound of electric drills.
and so, in short, i believe i am being ripped off. whether i go to george's garage of overt mockery and thievery or toyota's palace of discrete mockery and thievery. i am being robbed. at least, here at toyota i can steal back something in the form of free coffee.