HLRGazette Archives

Relive some of our best stories.

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

“OVER MY SHOULDER”

E-mail Print PDF
Sports related Famous Bloopers:
Greg Norman, Pro Golfer, was reported to have said: "I owe a great deal to my parents, especially my mother and father".
Baseball announcer, who said: "If history repeats itself, I would think we can expect the same thing to happen once again!"
Someone asked Yogi Berra what time it was. His reply: "You mean right now?"

"Other funnies"
Why do mens' clothes have buttons on the right, while womens' clothes have them on the left? Answer: Buttons were originally only affordable by the wealthy. Most wealthy women were dressed by maids, so dressmakers put the buttons to the maids' right. Since most people are right-handed, it was easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Oh, never mind................
Why do ships and planes use "Mayday" as a distress call? Answer: This comes from the French "m'aidez", meaning "Help Me!". The pronunciation is "Mayday".
What does "being on cloud nine" mean? Answer: Types of clouds are numbered according to their altitude. When someone is said to be "on cloud nine", they are figuratively riding on top the highest of all clouds.
Why is "zero" or "no points" in tennis called "love"? Answer: In France, original home of lawn tennis, the word "l'oeuf" means "egg". The word in the U.S. transposed itself to "love" due to pronunciation.
Can anybody tell me what's in Carmex that cures cold sores overnight? Damn stuff really works!!

I've quite often heard it said that in these high-tech times that we live in, a person had better be a mechanic or married to one! That saying originated among Jaguar owners back in the 1980's before Jag was acquired by Ford Motor Company, and their quality improved to the point where they were actually fun to own once again. In a similar time frame, I used to watch and listen to Mercedes-Benz owners when I was calling on dealerships. They were complaining-no, make that bragging-about the amount of the repair bill they just paid out of pocket in order to keep-or make-their mechanical darlings road-worthy once again. It became obvious to me ages ago that owners of these high-quality, high-acquisition price cars somehow expect to spend lots of money on repairs and "adjustments"; Sort of like having a "high maintenance" woman-annoying and costly, maybe so, but oh how it addresses and fulfills the ego-not to mention making men of lesser means unrelentingly and irrevocably jealous. Status symbols.
I've often said that when it comes to taking a car to a dealership for repairs-even, or especially, under warranty, I would rather stick needles in my eyes! Recently I had an experience that just about had me reaching for the sewing kit! But I am proud to say that this particular situation resolved itself in a manner both dignified and fulfilling, and yet quite unexpected. Here's a synopsis of what happened:
My "B.W." and I in July of 2009 bought a new Kia Spectra 4-dr sedan from a new car dealer in East Texas. We "traded in" (actually gave away) our beloved '97 Jeep Grand Cherokee only because she had 365,000 miles on her, and Julie Jeep was starting to demand costly repairs to keep ‘er on the road. Well, anyway, we settled on a silver Kia mid-range sedan that promised-and delivered-32 mpg, and for 14 months now that Korean beauty had performed as advertised-with one exception: Prior to a 2,500-mile trip to Missouri and Iowa this past June, I bought two new tires, as the Kia had by then 40,000 miles on her-about 2 ½ times the mileage the average driver puts on a new car every year. Hey, we're in Texas-where it takes 14 miles just to go buy milk and bread, and we always drove our cars to the limit. Hyah! "Git-um-up!" Ain't that what they're built for, to use? Well, turns out that after our return, the car began to have steering issues; the steering wheel wobbled at low speeds, and it began to pull to the right. Having had cars now for some 50 years, and having experienced just about every joy & malady that goes along with vehicle ownership, I considered the possibilities, and began to take the car in to places that would either confirm my diagnosis, or suggest one of their own, to cure the problem, which by now was getting to be just the other side of annoying.
I first went to the Wal-Mart in Mineola, where I had purchased those two new tires, and had purchased two others three months prior to June of '09-still a lotta tread left on them all! The store did their hocus-pocus and determined that I "might" need a front-end alignment. Well, of course they added quickly that they didn't do front-end alignments, so they recommended an independent garage out of Hwy 80, and I went there. After describing the symptoms to the owner, he quickly and authoritatively told me (much to his credit for his honesty-for I would have bought a front-end alignment on the spot) that I did not need the alignment-that is was "a tire problem". Then I took it to a larger Wal-Mart store in Lindale, where the shop manager confirmed the independent's diagnosis, and told me that "one tire was out of round"-a fancy word for "defective". Two days had now gone by. I decided to take the car back to the dealer from whom I purchased it-after all, wouldn't a mother recognize her own child? That-the next day-is where the real fun started!
As this was NOT my first rodeo, I called ahead to the dealer's service department the afternoon before, described the problem, and made an appointment to bring the car in for their diagnosis at nine o'clock the following morning. Oh, and I told them I needed a car to drive, ‘cause I was gonna do some "bidness" in Tyler, and would come back the next day. Good so far, huh? NOT!
I got up early, did all my little morning preparations, fed the cats at the Holly Hut, and headed to Tyler-it takes a circuitous route to get there, and about 45 minutes if there is no road construction or accidents-two "constants" in East Texas! Upon arrival, there was only one car ahead of me in the service drive-thru (I'm thinking "Boy, Howdy, this will be a snap"! Then I can go to Whataburger and scarf down a nice breakfast after I pick up my rental car (in Texas they call them "rent" cars!) I learned real quickly from Crystal, the service greeter, that not only did she fail to reserve me a "rent" car for that morning, but also that their only source for "rent" cars, Enterprise" was out of cars, period. They had no more to lend. Later on, I confirmed this: Enterprise had rented out on that particular morning (how nice for them!) all 156 cars in their inventory! Do I know how to pick them days, or whut? Aaron, the service manager, a young fellow who was the epitome of cool in terms of dealing with a potentially distraught customer (me, or anybody else) assured me that he would "keep trying" to locate me a "rent" car, so I took up residence upon a big soft brown leather couch in the showroom that I had plopped on before, along with some car brochures and a hot cuppa "Joe (another problem: there was no "Sweet-N-Low" anywhere in sight!)", and actually fell fast asleep, dreaming of movie stars and brand new cars, and...hot redneck bars..... Awakening from a short nap, no one had called out my name, so I assumed the "rent car" was not forthcoming. Wandering about the showroom, I stumbled on to the office of...let's just call her "Carol", a tall, willowy Texas blonde who was the dealership's warranty administrator. I introduced my self, then plopped down into a nice leather chair, and we talked "about things on our minds". Thus passed away nearly three hours, when the service manager, Aaron, approached me and told me that since Enterprise's whole fleet "had left port"-translation: not a "rent car" to be had-the he was ("now, normally I'm not supposed ta DO this"... ) having a brand new Optima brought ‘round for me to drive, and bring back the next day, presumedly after repairs had been made. Following this so far? Good! It does get even better!

Leaving the dealership and Miss Carol behind, I hopped into the Optima, familiarized myself with the myriad gadgets and gages, adjusted the mirrors, check the fuel levels (they had filled the tank!) and left Tyler bound for Holly Lake Ranch, with what was left of the day. The agreement with Aaron was that they were not to institute any repairs before calling me to tell me "what they found wrong". By the time I arrived at my forest primeval, he had indeed called and explained to me that they had found "one bad (defective) tire" which they took off the front and put on the rear. That should take car of it, he said. He even "took $30 off" the $99 "force-balancing" they had to do in order to even determine that symptom.

I thanked him profusely, and told him I'd be in the next morning. Flash-forward to the next morning-I brought back their Optima, took all my books and stuff out of it, and my phone and handicapped sticker-two treasures if there ever were ones-and got ready to pick up my Kia and pay the $69.95-which I thought was fair-and leave. Guess what, sports fans! When I began to drive home in my own car-after the problem had been "isolated" (one defective tire, which caused not only the wheel-wobble (but they don't fall down!) but now another, more severe problem-the car pulled HARD to the right! In point of fact, except I maintained a death grip on the steering wheel, I'd have wound up in a ditch on the side of FM2869 at any moment! And this "fixed" the problem?? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm!

By now I was waxing both forgiving (really!) and philosophical: The words of my cardiologist kept echoing in my ear: "don't get over-excited! Remember your blood pressure!" I had now been to FOUR garages and gotten at least SIX explanations of what was wrong-or could be-with my little silver Sweetheart. And she still pulled to the right, only now with greater strength, as if this were a contest, and as if to say "I'M in control here, buster! And I'm gonna dump your aging keester in the nearest ditch!" Well, I refused to get upset at having "my little lady" talk to ME that way, and I determined that I would visit once more the original Wal-Mart store in Mineola the next morning (now day three of fooling with this problem!) and have the defective tire replaced with a new one. After all, I had purchased the road-hazard warranty when I bought the tires, so it shouldn't cost me much if anything at all. One of the three things I had so far done right in life! The other two? Getting' hitched in '65, and quitting smoking in '95!

*********************************************************************

DIGRESSION (NOT REALLY): WHENEVER YOU PURCHASE A SET OF TIRES, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS SPEND THE EXTRA FEW DOLLARS AND BUY THE EXTENDED WARRANTY/GUARANTEE. Failure to do so will haunt you and your wallet in the months and years to come, causing severe headaches and gnashing of teeth!! You will NOT be able to pass "Go", and you will NOT collect two hundred dollars, sucka! Ask me sometime WHY some tires get "out of round"-it is as fascinating a story as you'll ever hear from any Congressman-and probably as true!

Fast-forward to the next day, at the Mineola Wal-Mart's automotive center. I was met very courteously by the lady service writer (apparently the word had preceded my arrival that I was not in any mood to accept less than unconditional surrender!) They wrote me up, brought my car ‘round, then within a half an hour determined the following, which presented me with not only an explanation as to what had been going on for all this time with my car, but also a serendipitously fortuitous windfall: They had "force-balanced" all four tires, one at a time, and determined that all four tires were defective! That they had several "broken bands" each-a manufacturer's defect, and they were gonna check out four new tires for the same scenario, then mount them on my Silver Sweetie! Though considerably pleased that finally, some sensible solution was at hand, only one question remained: Why was this not determined during my first visit, when they rotated and balanced these now-declared-defective tires in the first place?
I chose to leave that question unanswered-just another mystery in the universe-paid the nominal tax and charges, and drove home playing "InSync" music on the stereo at full volume, happy that once again my Little Silver Sweetheart and I were at one with the universe!!

Yes, there are good dealers, and service departments out there. But sometimes one wonders why, with all the training and experience most of them have, it is so hard to pin down a problem. It seems as if they all start out using the "L.T.T." method**. I had intended to write a scathing letter to both Wal-Mart and the car dealership-emphasizing the hassle they put me through by not providing, at my request, a "rent car", but in the end, I may still write a letter praising them for what went right during my Odyssey. People are just people, aren't they, after all? And everybody makes mistakes-either by commission or omission-so I will take the high road, and compliment those who did their job right by me, their customer.

"Happy Motoring!"
Beep-Beep!!
**"Let's Try This!" method

Steve H Kehoe
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it