Monday, July 28, 2008

The art of lying

In St. Augustine of Hippo's book, "Of Lying," he divides lies into eight kinds, listed in order of descending severity:

* Lies in religious teaching.
* Lies that harm others and help no one.
* Lies that harm others and help someone.
* Lies told for the pleasure of lying.
* Lies told to "please others in smooth discourse."
* Lies that harm no one and that help someone.
* Lies that harm no one and that save someone's life.
* Lies that harm no one and that save someone's "purity."

Had I been sitting with the good Saint Auggie, I would have added a few footnotes to his scholarly thinking tome that included a few rules, such as the following:
  • Assume everyone knows you're lying.
  • If you believe it, it's not a lie (credit George Costanza for that one).
  • Try to know who you're lying to, before lying to them.
  • If caught lying, admit it with a disarming smile, then quickly move on.
  • Apparently, the Service Manager at Bob Howard Toyota in the big OKC, needs to brush up on his Big-L skills.

    The other day my F-i-L went to drop off his pickup for a timing belt change at one of the mega-car dealerships near him. Ever the thrifty consumer, he had let his fingers do the walking and found that this particular Dealer was offering a special on major services (such as a timing belt R&R) so he went against his better judgment and took it to them, instead of to his usual mechanic.

    The Service Manager acknowledged the phone quoted price and all seemed well and good as he handed the keys over and walked off, until he mentioned the dreaded, "vehicle safety inspection," the he'd be ordering performed on the no charge of course.

    Of course.

    Yep, it was the old Columbo fake-exit gotcha.

    Long story short, the timing belt was changed out for the price as quoted, however the "free safety inspection" revealed over $2,000 in additional work that their certified mechanics strongly recommended be done based on their thorough 25-point look-see under and around my F-i-L's 12-year old pickup.

    I don't think I'll be able to regurge in writing everything my F-i-L said they wanted done but somewhere in there was a transmission fluid flush, front brake pad replacement, rotor turning, rear brake adjustment, brake fluid flush, leaky valve cover gasket, fuel injector cleaning, a broken license plate bulb and a partridge in a pear tree. Additionally, they wanted his permission to remove the fuel rails and visually inspect the fuel injectors, "since a Tundra this old would surely have some "gunk" (their word, not mine) built up."

    So, he pulls the Service Manager aside and asks to see a mechanic to go over the truck, point-by-point to discuss the estimate.

    Not their policy, but in this case, he'd make an exception.

    So, the mechanic comes over, and he apparently looks younger than the laptop I'm writing on right now. But he's got the ASE patches on his shirt sleeve to prove he's been fully trained and doesn't seem the least bit stressed about having to "face the customer."

    They go over the points one by one, as the Service Manager nervously nods, thinking he's gonna make enough commission off of my F-i-L's pickup to pay his gym membership that month -- when things start to go terribly wrong.

    The mechanic is actually so apathetic to the questioning about the "strongly recommended" services some other mechanic suggested, that he all but admits he thinks my F-i-L's T-100 is in great shape.

    To which the Service Manager corrects him and says, "Uh, it's a Tundra."

    To which the mechanic retorts, "That truck over his truck, and it's a T-100."

    To which the Service Manager does a double take and says, "A T-100...what's a T-100?"

    Quoth St. Augustine, "rookie."

    1 comment:

    Malaise Inc said...

    Don't even get me started on dealer service departments. I just had my Dodge Truck in for some needed repairs and the guys I dealt with were a whole different kind of dumb. I asked them for a quote to replace the dash, which was cracked. Since one of the other repairs ended up on the vacuum pump and involved getting underneath the dash, I decided to go ahead and replace the dash. So I go pick up the truck and the top part of the dash was indeed replaced. But, there is a facing on the front of the dash that was also cracked and it was still there. I asked the service manager if that wasn't part of the dash to be replaced. His reply was "No, that is the dash bezel." I just stared at him and then left. Not only did it not occur to them that I wanted that broken piece replaced too, they actually had to take the broken bezel off the original dash and put it on the new dash. I need to find a good independent repair shop.