Writing 101 Day 12 – Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon – Conversations at the Car Garage

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction.

Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

“Oh no, she’s back again!” I can imagine hearing them say. Their faces confirmed my thoughts.

As I approached the counter one of the staff took a deep breath, composed herself, getting into the role of ‘I am a nice helpful service assistant mode’. Tweaking her smile as she pulled her shoulders back, her chin raised slightly. “Good morning, how can I help you?”

“I have my car booked in again today,” I offered in the friendliest manner I could muster.

She took a quick sideways glance at her associate service assistant sitting to her left. The eyes said it all! ‘Here we go, good luck, glad it’s not me!’ as she breathed out her tension.

“And what’s it in for?” she enquired in a slightly high pitched over the top friendly voice.

I kept it short. The previous time I had been in to explain the catalogue of issues I had with the car, only the mechanic had fully understood me. But I still hadn’t had any joy with most of the faults.

Then came the bombshell!

“I am really sorry, but your car’s warranty has elapsed. It will cost you ….”

“Hang on a minute,” I interjected. “It was in only in last week and you were happy to work on it then.”

“Well I am sorry, we must have been mistaken…” she speeded through wordy company blurb, but I was having none of it.

“Well I am sorry too,” I broke into her flow. “I bought this car because it had a 7 year warranty and I have had nothing but problems with it. I am told you cannot find them, yet I have had the car independently investigated and advised to bring it back as the faults are not in my imagination.”

I made it quite plain that I wasn’t going anywhere. Many discussions with various members of staff followed and after asking me to move my seat to a ’cooling off area’, disguised as a coffee lounge, they left me the allotted time. When they could probably see that the steam from my ears and top of my head had subsided somewhat, the service assistant was sent to inform me that they would carry out the work they had scheduled and re-investigate the suggested faults. No explanation was given and no apology for the misunderstanding nor time I’d been left cooling off.

When I returned later that day, the major job had been completed. However, the remaining faults with the vehicle were still outstanding.

“We’re sorry, we still cannot find any fault with your steering, or the suspension, or the rest of the faults you mentioned. Whilst we appreciate you may be experiencing them, if we cannot find them we cannot fix them.”

(I could appreciate where they were coming from. However, it still amazes me that more than one independent mechanic can find them yet a main dealer cannot.)

“I can appreciate your perspective but it doesn’t solve my problem. You know, I have previously bought Japanese cars and over the decades have had fewer problems with all of them put together than I have had with this one.”

Her head tilted slightly to one side, the muscles on her face around her mouth tightened stretching the mouth out sideways. Not a smile, not a grimace but it clearly expressed with the raising of her right shoulder, as much to say ‘well, there you go’.

With a quick change of pace and a lighter tone, she dangled my keys in front of me and said, “Your car has been cleaned for you and you will find it on the parking lot just outside. If there is anything else we can help you with please just ask.”

I wondered humorously what she would do if I said ‘yes’!

The greater part of me said, “No, thank you.”

I took my keys and vowed never to be tempted into buying a cheaper vehicle ever again.

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