Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reliable Service and The Car Wash Guy!

I'm not going to put up any major posts until I get the blog back to firing on all cylinders, but here's a couple of brief things.

First of all, I'm saved from having to write a long tirade about air travel since Jim has that pretty well covered lately. A two-parter, no less! But I did think I should pass on this tidbit. I bought a new bag before my recent travels. If you count connections, this bag has now flown on four flights. It arrived at LaGuardia with a fairly substantial hole torn in the side.

I decided to go to baggage services before leaving the airport so I could have my complaint on record. I knew I wasn't in for a good time as soon as I walked into their little office. The one guy behind the counter is trying to help some guy who lives in Detroit, but barely speaks English; he was Japanese. That's OK. The guy behind the counter didn't speak such great English himself (although I'm certain he's at least a third- or fourth-generation American). He keeps asking the woman (who I assumed was his supervisor) how to enter stuff into the computer. I figured I could just bump my complaint up the food chain until, she grabbed her purse and left, with a cheery, "G'night. See you tomorrow".

I'll boil this down to one salient point. In attempting to remind me that there are signs saying Delta isn't responsible for "incidental" damage (i.e. dents, scrapes, etc.), he repeatedly told me that "Delta isn't reliable for your problem!" I had a very difficult time sticking to my script; that a hole isn't exactly a dent or a scrape, while I tried to point out that he was either choosing his words badly or he was making my own point for me.

And then there's The Car Wash Guy! A guy I know; another Location Manager working in NY, posted on Facebook that he was moving to my neighborhood. He posted the address and I thought, "Damn, that's right down the block". Later, I walked up to the store and decided to pay attention and see which building he was moving into. Well it turns out, he's moving into the building where the Car Wash Guy lives. I don't know what he does during the winter, but every spring, a badly lettered sign shows up on the corner reading "Adorable Hand Wash Car Expert". I can't do the sign justice since he always has at least a couple of letters reversed -- like a Toys-R-Us sign -- but I can't get Blogger to let me type backwards letters. He spends all day out in front of his house with a couple of traffic cones blocking off space for his customers and a big tub of water that he fills out of a fire hydrant down the block. I see cars there sometimes, so I know he has some customers.

The thing is -- one evening, my doorbell rang at around dinner time. It was The Car Wash Guy. He seemed agitated and said he had to get up to The Bronx right away -- could he borrow eight dollars for the bus? I only had a twenty and I loaned it to him without thinking twice. I've asked him for the money a few times and he hasn't ever gotten around to actually paying me back. That was about four years ago.

I'm thinking that if you add in interest, he owes me about six thousand dollars now. I hope he washes a lot of cars this year.

P.S. I make no warrantees regarding the accuracy of my math skills.


Graham Goetz said...

Does he actually live there? I just thought it was a convenient spot for him. I plan to have several conversations with him about not blasting the music on the stereo of the car he is washing.

I walked past him a couple of years ago when we were in the middle of renovating our place on Clinton Ave and he was stripping paint off an old door. He quoted a good price but I ended up doing it myself. He seems like the kind of guy who makes due, year round. Just don't loan him anymore money.

Nathan said...

I'm pretty sure he lives there with some other family. I see him year round.

And yes, his signs are improving.

Steve Buchheit said...

When he's washing a car, you should walk by and say, "That one is on me, from the $20 I loaned you."

Jim Wright said...

City people, you just crack me the hell up. You're so...adorable...

Nathan said...


The major difference is, if you live in a city and start screaming at everybody at the baggage're headed for a tasing. Doesn't matter whether you're right or wrong...that's a tasing.

WendyB_09 said...

Yeah, lost a zipper pull to Delta a couple of years ago. And the pull in question was less than an inch from the handle. WTF?!?!?

I really can't wait 'til about noon on Aug 11. They'll get to abuse me further by forcing me to pay more money when I go check my bag. Rah. choke, hack, cough. I'm hoping they'll let me pay when I do the on-line check-in thing.


Nathan said...


I know the on-line check-in puts them on notice that you're actually planning to show up for your oversold flight, but I can't, for the life of me figure out what checking your bag online in advance actually does for you.

You have to enter your credit card info (which takes time) and then when you get to the airport, you have to stand in the same line with everyone else to use the kiosk and then tell the machine you want to check a bag all over again. Then you have to wait for the one woman behind the counter to notice your baggage claim spitting out of the machine and hollering your name before you can carry the bag to the x-ray guys all by yourself.

And no. you can't use curbside.

WendyB_09 said...

Actually, Delta redid their whole terminal here in Atlanta not long ago. The last couple times I flew last year and did on-line check-in before I headed to the airport, I didn't have to use the kiosk at all. The 1 bag showed on my printout.

I just handed the boarding card I printed at home to the check-in agent, they scanned the bar code, baggage tag started to print as soon as it was scanned, and she put the tag sticker on my ticket.

Then threw the bag onto the conveyor to go down to the TSA folks in the xray caverns under the terminal. Delta deliberately timed their renovations to coincide with the scanners being moved underground.

The whole process took less then 2 minutes and it was Christmas at that. I doubted I even waited in line for more than 5 minutes.

Which is why I'm wondering about the stupid f*n luggage fee being forced down our throats. It is not included in your reservation. I've known since I booked the flight I was going to check 1 bag. I don't for the life of me understand why I couldn't pay that $25 then with I booked the flight well over two months ago. Need to do a little research on the situation!

So if I can't pay until I get to the airport, it may piss them off, this is going to be a cash trip for me as everything else is already 100% pre-paid!!