The Dreaded Oil Change

     Bright and early this morning, I brought my vehicle in for an oil change. It was a scheduled complimentary oil change at a nearby auto dealership. I groan just typing the words. I hate having the oil changed in my vehicle. Even for free. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to do it myself. But I am a woman, going into an auto dealership, and all I want is a simple oil change.
     In my mind, I had already formulated the extra things they were going to try to convince me that I “need.” The air filter was an absolute given. Other items in the potential running were fuel filter, brake pads, system flush, A/C recharge, tire rotation, or the ever popular dissertation on tire wear and how all the tires need to be replaced.
     I was greeted by a friendly customer service specialist, Ray. He was a smiley, happy-go-lucky kind of guy. Not your typical specialist. Anyway, he was courteous and showed me to the waiting area.
     There were two other “guests” waiting already. They both ignored the television that had ESPN blaring. I brought a book to read, but the tv was so loud, I couldn’t concentrate.
     Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Pocono. So, my dad’s happy. But California Chrome’s owner was anything but happy. By now, most of The Free World knew that. I give him credit for not stringing together a long bunch of expletives on camera. Lord knows he probably wanted to. And I loved how his wife (she was standing behind him) was poking him trying to get him to calm down during the interview. Priceless!
     I was saved from having to hear the baseball updates by the sudden wailing of a high-pitched screeching alarm. It wasn’t a car alarm. It was the building alarm. The other “guests” and I looked at each other briefly. They went back to what they were doing. I looked around to try to identify the problem. I didn’t smell smoke or see a fire. And there was an exit door directly in front of me. So, I could escape if the situation warranted.
     A guy walked out of his office and looked around in all directions before returning to his office. A second guy did the same thing. A few moments later, my buddy, Ray, came from the service area and looked around.
     I said, “That alarm is really annoying. Nobody seems to be turning it off.”
     He replied, “Huh! That’s odd.” Then he walked off.
     A minute or so later, a salesman walked to the keypad near the front door. He pressed something.
     Nothing.
     From an office, a voice yelled, “Just press ‘Silence.’”
     The salesman yelled back, “I did! It didn’t work!”
     The office voice shouted, “It should have!”
     The salesman shouted back, “It didn’t!”
     Another salesman appeared. “Did you press ‘Silence?’”
     Salesman #1 replied, “Yeah. It didn’t work.”
     Salesman #2 grunted. “Hmmm. Should’ve worked.”
     Salesman #3 approached, carrying a cup of coffee. “It needs a code.”
     Salesman #1 yelled, “Does anybody know the code?”
     The faceless office voice responded, “I don’t know the code. Does Joe know the code?”
     Salesman #2 said, “No. Joe doesn’t know the code.”
     Salesman #1 stated, “Somebody has to have the code.”
     Salesman #3 replied, “Doug knows the code.”
     Salesman #1 asked, “Where’s Doug?”
     Salesman #3 shrugged. “He’s not working today.”
     Salesman #1 swore, “Jesus Christ! Does anyone else know the code?!”
     The faceless office voice offered, “Let me ask Ann. She might know who has the code.”
     Sorry, but this was hysterical. I tried not to laugh out loud. But I guess I could have because they wouldn’t have heard me over the stupid alarm! I was also wondering where the police were. This was the building alarm. The cops should have shown up by now. We’re going on twenty minutes. My home ADT system dispatches the police to my house. They arrive in less than five minutes. How I know that is a story for another day!
     Anyway, as you might have guessed, Ann knew the code. She took care of the alarm. Thank you, Ann. Although why she didn’t take care of it without prompting was beyond me.
     By this time, Ray was approaching me with my air filter. I braced myself as he started his spiel.
     “No, thanks. I’ll keep it for a bit longer.” It didn’t look that terrible. My furnace filter has looked worse.
     Ray didn’t argue. He continued, “The wipers are a bit worn.”
     I declined those as well.
     Then he did the unimaginable. He said, “Okay,” and walked away.
     I was confused. I was prepared to say, “No,” at least a few more times. Huh!
     After signing the paperwork for $0.00, I left, smiling! The entire process took thirty-four minutes. That was the best oil change experience I’ve ever had. And they threw in a complimentary comedy act too! Bonus!

Copyright © 2014 by Suzanne Purewal

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