Category: Transportation

The Fluid Isn’t The Only Thing That’s Dirty

| Woodburn, OR, USA | Transportation

(I live in a small town, which at the time only had one mechanic that many people used. This was around 2000-2001. I had just had the transmission fluid flushed the last time my car was in, and my wife called me telling me they showed her some very dark fluid on a piece of paper and said my transmission fluid was very dirty. I asked to talk to the mechanic.)

Mechanic: “I was explaining to your wife that your transmission fluid is very dirty. It needs to be flushed soon. We can do that for you today for—”

Me: *interrupting* “I had the transmission fluid flushed just 3000 miles ago.”

Mechanic: “You did?”

Me: “Yes, and you guys did it.”

Mechanic: “Let me look.”

(There is a long pause while I hear papers shuffling.)

Mechanic: “Oh, I see now. Yes, we did it last time you were in, so never mind.”

Me: “No, wait! You showed my wife some very dark fluid and said it needed to be changed.”

Mechanic: “Yes, sorry about that. The paperwork was misplaced. It does not need to be replaced.”

Me: “Then what fluid did you show her? If you showed her transmission fluid from my car then you need to flush it again because you guys didn’t do it right last time.”

Mechanic: “No, everything is fine. Your transmission fluid is fine.”

(Later that evening I go into the location myself and talk to the manager.)

Me: “So, my wife was in here earlier. Your mechanic showed her some dark fluid, claimed it was my transmission fluid, then later the mechanic told me it was fine. I want you to re-flush my transmission.”

Manager: “That was just a miscommunication. We filed your paperwork in the wrong place. Your transmission fluid was fine.”

Me: “So you are committing fraud, then?”

Manager: “Excuse me?”

Me: “Well, there are only two options here. One, the fluid you showed my wife was not my transmission fluid in which case you committed fraud. Or two, it was my transmission fluid and you are now committing fraud saying my fluid is fine.”

Manager: “No, see, your paperwork was filed in the wrong place.”

Me: “Then what was the dark fluid your mechanic showed my wife?”

Manager: “What?”

Me: *raising voice* “Easy question: what was the dark fluid you showed my wife? Was it my transmission fluid?”

Manager: “I don’t know. It should have been.”

Me: “Well, I have the car with me now. Show me the transmission fluid color.”

(The manager goes to my car and pulls out the dipstick and wipes it on a white piece of paper; it’s not dirty.)

Me: “So the answer is, you were committing fraud by showing my wife dirty liquid that didn’t come from my transmission.”

Manager: “No, see, the paperwork—”

Me: *interrupting* “THE PAPERWORK doesn’t make the oil turn dark magically!”

Manager: “Well, I can give you a free oil change next time.”

Me: “Don’t bother. I will never come here again.”

(I never went there again, and moved out of the town soon afterwards. I told everyone I talked to pretty much about the fraud the mechanic was doing. I started hearing a lot of other stories about other people saying they did something similar to them. They are still there last time I checked. I guess fraud paid off big enough for them to stay in business.)

Should Speak Plane-ly

| Germany | Employees, Ignoring & Inattentive, Time, Transportation

(My husband is flying from the US to Germany. I will be picking him up at Frankfurt Airport when he comes in. Before he boards his plane he texts me that they are boarding 20 minutes late. When I get up the next morning and check the website the plane is expected over four hours (!) late. I am wondering how 20 minutes turned into four hours so I decide to call the airline to see if I can get more information and verify that this is correct.)

Airline: *automated message* “Thank you for calling [Airline]. All our representatives are currently busy helping other callers. If you want to switch to an English speaking representative to cut down your waiting time please press 1.”

(I have lived in the US, so my English is fine, and I press 1.)

Agent: *with an Indian accent* “Hello, this is [Agent] with [Airline]. How may I help you?”

Me: “My husband is on [Flight] from Houston to Frankfurt. He texted me last night. They left Houston 20 minutes late, but now the website says that the flight is expected to arrive four hours late. Can you confirm this for me? Do you happen to know why this is?”

Woman: “So, you calling about [Flight]?”

Me: “Correct.”

Woman: “I see here in my system that it left Houston yesterday at [Time].”

Me: *thinking* “Yes, I know. I just told you this. This isn’t new information.” *actually saying* “Yes.”

Woman: “It will arrive in Frankfurt today at [Time].”

Me: “Yes, I know. This is the scheduled arrival. So, you are saying it WILL arrive at this time? What about the delay listed on the website?”

Woman: “Yes, it is scheduled for [Time].”

(At this point it is painfully clear that basically she hasn’t understood one word of what I said about why I am calling. I consider asking to be transferred to someone who could understand me but I don’t feel like arguing.)

Me: *one last effort* “Yes, I know this is the SCHEDULED arrival. But do you have any information about the EXPECTED arrival?”

Woman: “I don’t have any information about that. You could check the company website…”

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

(I remained neutral and just hung up, figuring it would probably be just as effective to simply call the same number again. This time I waited for a German speaking representative who was local and was able to answer my questions. Am I a bigot for thinking if you work in an English speaking call center you should actually speak enough English to understand why customers are calling?)

Driving Towards The Inevitable

| USA | Coworkers, Transportation

(My coworker always comes in to work looking extremely fatigued. I admit, I’m not very peppy either, but my coworker is our shuttle driver, and drives customers in a three ton van all day long. I’m concerned about it, but when I bring it up, I’m laughed at. One day, I see my tired coworker drive off with a bunch of passengers including children, and a few moments later, I get a phone call.)

Me: “Hello, this is [Office]. [My Name] speaking. How may I—”

Coworker: *sounding more alert* “[My Name], give me the manager quick! I’ve totaled the shuttle van!”

Me: “What?! Okay.”

(I get the manager.)

Manager: “Who is it?”

Me: “[Coworker].”

(The manager took the phone, looking very bemused, then shocked, then outraged. Turned out some of the customers were seriously injured, and the van had to be fixed in a garage for a week. Customers weren’t too pleased, and some sued, but my manager didn’t fire him, saying it would be too much bother to look for a new driver.)

Train-ed For This

| Melbourne, VIC, Australia | Employees, Transportation

My company’s CEO told this story at an employee’s meeting:

Before taking the job at my employer, he was working for a train company in Northeastern England. At one point while he is working there, the local football (soccer) team makes a major final for the first time in many years. Naturally, on the day of the match, the trains are packed with fans making their way down to London.

Shortly before one of the trains is scheduled to depart, the train driver calls in sick, leaving the company desperately calling around trying to find a replacement who is available. Come departure time, they are still trying to find a driver, and the full train of football fans is becoming increasingly frustrated that there seems to be no sign of action.

Eventually, the company finds an available driver — in fact, he is a passenger on that very train, waiting to go to London! So he gets out of his seat, fully kitted out in team colors, including face paint, walks up through the carriage, gets in the driver’s cabin, and the train takes off.

Shortly after this, the company got a call from the police ordering that the train be stopped — apparently a passenger had called them. The CEO had to explain to the police that the fan who had “hijacked” the train was in fact a driver registered with the company.

You Co-Sign Like A Girl

| Toledo, OH, USA | Bigotry, Employees, Non-Dialogue, Transportation

It is approximately 15 years ago and I am in the market for a new car. I have decided on an SUV from a now defunct manufacturer. They made awesome cars and this would be my second car from them. Mind you, I’m a woman in my 30s at this point and a legal secretary at a law office plus run my own side business. I have good credit and make more than enough money to afford this car.

I pick out and actually order the SUV I want, because I want a specific color with a few extra options such as a 6 CD changer and moon roof. I’m using the same salesman that sold me my original car from this dealership. He’s great – answers my questions without acting like I’m an idiot. We get the paperwork ready and hand it over to his financial team, at which point I am told it can take up a bit to process the paperwork as there are a lot of people there buying cars. My salesman needs to speak to his manager, so I start to walk over to get a drink of water when I hear my name being called – it hasn’t even been 5 minutes. I say “over here” and the man simply turns to me and doesn’t move towards me. So I wave at him and start to walk towards him when he proceeds to tell me very loudly from 10 feet away that I will need a co-signer. I immediately know he hasn’t looked past “female” on my paperwork nor done a credit check because I haven’t needed a co-signer since I bought my first car at 16.

So I stop walking towards him and from 10 feet away I very loudly reply “Please go back to your office and get me a list of the banks you called that say I needed a co-signer and I’ll go back to my office and subpoena their records because I guarantee you that they have sold this very car to a man who makes less money and hasn’t worked as long as I have, and without a co-signer.” It is at this point I see the guy who was helping me purchase my car with a big grin on his face and what I assume was his manager next to him scowling. I did not see that man again but I had the paperwork and a date my car would be delivered not 10 minutes after he disappeared.

I was and still am a huge fan of this particular car manufacturer. I went back to them for all of my oil changes, etc. And I never once saw that financial guy again. My salesman did however tell me that he thought it was awesome how I didn’t even miss a beat telling that guy off and loved that I did it in front of everyone. Apparently they had been having problems with him and losing sales over his sexism since he was hired and my response brought it to attention of a lot of higher ups that this kind of behavior was an open door to a lawsuit.

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