Always A Line Outside And On Your Windows  

, , , , , , | Working | November 19, 2019

This happened before cell phones were common, and I didn’t yet have one. I took my car to a local full-service car wash for a full wash and detailing. I pulled into a vacuum lane as directed, told the attendant what I was there for, asked about the turnaround time — an hour to an hour and half due to how busy they were — and told him I’d be at the restaurant next door — the other side of the building from the drop off and vacuums — for lunch, but would be back well before the completion time. “Sounds good! Enjoy your lunch. See you soon,” was the reply. “Ding, ding, ding,” said my car.

Fast forward to about 45 minutes later. I returned to the car wash, expecting that my car would be well into the process of being clean and shiny, and there it sat, right where I’d left it, all of my personal items sitting on the ground around it. “You didn’t leave us the key and didn’t tell us where you were going,” I was told, “And you caused the line to back up since we can’t use this lane.” There were two workers, one of them the original attendant.

I replied, “I know I left the key, as when I was walking away the alarm was sounding and my keyring is right here, without the car key on it. I also told you I’d be right next door, which you acknowledged.”

“Well, we don’t have the key and couldn’t find you.”

So, I started sorting through my things on the ground and, lo and behold, the key had been dropped into a tissue box that they’d taken out from the back seat! Not only would they not acknowledge that they’d messed up, they’d left all of my things out that they’d removed, supposedly to vacuum, and they hadn’t even done that!

I went inside and talked to a manager, who dismissed my complaint, wouldn’t offer any compensation or even an apology, and told me I must have put the keys in that box myself to try to get his guys in trouble. I didn’t get the car detailed that day; I had it done a few days later at a competitor who did an excellent job and cost less than what I would have paid at the first business.

A couple of years after, confident that the workers were not the same, I tried again to get a vacuum and car wash there and it took three tries after it was “done” for them to wipe my windows without leaving greasy streaks. How they remain in business I don’t know but, on warm, sunny days there’s always a line waiting.

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