Deluxe Car Wash Package Now Includes Assault

You don’t have to be a senior citizen nostalgic for “the good ol’ days” to realize that customer service isn’t what it used to be. I’ve worked in customer service. I know that people can be miserable assholes hard to handle and the worn-out motto “the customer is always right” should just be retired already. I don’t think it helps that there’s such a broad spectrum for dealing with customers; some companies will bend over backwards to keep their customers happy while others couldn’t care less to see an irate patron take their business elsewhere. You have the right as a business to choose how to handle your customer service; you don’t have to grovel for any customer you don’t want to serve. If you think your employee wasn’t at fault, you don’t have to bend to the whim of the consumer; it’s pretty cool to see a company stand behind their employee rather than side with a customer who’s in the wrong. However you choose to handle your customers, there’s never a reason to be rude.

I purchased a Living Social voucher last week for a car wash and detailing from Car Care (never heard of ‘em? Don’t worry, you’re not missing anything). They didn’t have any actual locations, but worked out of three parking garages in Boston (red flag #1), so I called the one closest to my house and made an appointment for Saturday at noon. I spoke to Kevin, who said it wouldn’t take more than hour. I called Saturday morning to confirm my appointment and ask about a waiting area (really, I just wanted to see if they were actually in a parking garage or if I had misunderstood the website) and Kevin told me no waiting area, they were in a parking garage, hadn’t I been to their website?

My appointment was at noon, Google Maps said it would take 10 minutes to get there, and I left my house no later than 11:35 (saying I get lost easily is an understatement, and I wanted to give myself plenty of time). B and I put the garage address into my GPS and headed into the city. We get to the garage and I’m already confused. The sign says $7 to park, and the voucher I printed out said it would be $6; I wasn’t being stingy w/ a dollar, I was pretty sure we were in the wrong place (yup, you're paying to get your car washed at a company that works out of a parking garage but you STILL have to pay to park). I buzzed on the intercom to get an attendant who was irritated that I didn’t seem to know how a parking garage worked. I explained to him that I was here for a car wash, and he told me that was a different garage. I had to take a ticket to get in to the garage (which was the wrong one), call Kevin at Car Care (who didn’t answer on the first time) and wait around to find that I was, in fact, in the wrong place (big fucking surprise). Kevin told me that only one garage location was open at this time of year. The number I had been using, which I thought was the direct line for the garage location I wanted, was actually the main line for all three garages, and when you made your appointment, you were magically supposed to know the seasonal schedule and hours of each garage. Needless to say, I was irritated at Kevin for not giving me the correct address when I called to confirm my appointment earlier in the day (red flag #2). He was indifferent and told me the other garage was “just around the corner.” Oh, that’s helpful. Good thing I’m not in the middle of a fucking city with one-ways and pedestrians or anything; oh wait, I am, and it’s Saturday afternoon with a Bruins game in an hour and I’m two minutes from the Garden. “Just around the corner” isn’t the 30-second trip you’d think; it’s like another 10 minutes in the car.

B’s trying to calm me down as we drive to the garage, and by the time we get there, I’m feeling better. Until I see the actual car-washing operation. They’ve staked out some corner of this parking garage, and I’ve never seen anything so shady (red flag #3; I should have just cut my losses at this point and gotten the hell out of there). A few vacuums and water buckets do not a car-wash make, so I’m more than a little skeptical as we walk over. A guy comes over to me and asks when I’ll need my car (phew, I didn’t want to deal w/ any kind of greeting or pleasantries, either). I tell him as soon as possible.

Shady car washer (amused): ASAP?

Me: Well, yeah, it should only take an hour, right?

Shady car washer: I can have it done by 3.

Me (confused, since it’s only noon): 3? I was told it would take an hour, max.

Shady car washer: I’m a little behind schedule.

Me: What’s the point of making an appointment ahead of time?

Shady car washer: You can call my boss.

Me (confused how calling someone who isn’t here is going to get my car cleaned any quicker): Okay…What’s your name?

Shady car washer (walks away to get his business card, which he gives to me): Here.

B and I walk back to my car. I don’t trust myself to say anything, b/c I know I will blow up at this man. It’s probably not his fault they overbooked appointments, or underestimated how long each car would take, but I am outraged nonetheless by his unapologetic attitude. For once, I was in the right for having made an appointment and showing up on time, and I don’t care to be treated like shit.

I leave the garage, fuming. B and I are headed to Mohegan Sun to see the Dropkick Murphy’s later that night, and this wasn’t how I envisioned our excursion (it was more along the lines of B treating me to a fancy lunch in Beacon Hill while we waited for my car, which we pick up sparkling in the sunlight – even though there’s no natural light in the scary garage – and head to Connecticut laughing w/ the top down – even though my car isn’t a convertible).

I forget about the whole thing until Sunday night, when I go to Living Social’s site to see how to get my money back. They don’t give refunds past 5 days, and fortunately this was w/in the 5 days, so I’m hopeful that I’ll get my money back. Curious, I pull up the Yelp reviews for Car Care.

“BEWARE! This was the worst car service experience of my life... In the end, he extorted an additional $20 out of me to get my car back, but not before requiring me to promise I would not file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.”

“…a job that I could have done myself at a gas station vacuum kiosk. Pathetic. Piles of dirt in between the seats, in the door handles, smears of mud still on the interior doors, white specks of exterior cleaner on the windshield, PATHETIC.”

“I was beyond disappointed to discover that what took them 8 hours might have taken me 2 and I'd have done a better job…I will never give them more business and want to ensure that others avoid the headache and rip-off.”

Looks like I didn’t miss out on that exceptional detail service. They actually did me a favor by turning me away; now I can spend my money at a legitimate car washing service that doesn’t operate under flickering fluorescent lights and look like the setting for a SVU episode.


Michele said…
This was awful! (but it made me laugh!!!)