Shuffled Off This Mortal Highway

, , , , , | Working | September 6, 2018

(A few weeks ago, my 17-year-old son totaled his car. Today, I received an automated call from the dealership, reminding us that the car was past due for an oil change and tire rotation. I call them back to explain that the car has been totaled and that they need to remove our number from that system.)

Me: “Hi, I just received a call stating that we need to bring the car in for service.”

Dealership: “Okay, we can schedule you for next Tuesday. How’s 9:00?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry, but the car was totaled in an accident. We don’t need service on it anymore.”

Dealership: “All cars need service, ma’am, to ensure they run properly and to keep your warranty valid.”

Me: “You’re not listening to me. The car was totaled. It’s dead. It doesn’t need service anymore.”

Dealership: “I can probably fit you in on Friday at 2:00, but you may need to wait.”

Me: “Again, you’re not listening. The car is dead. It was hauled off to the junkyard. It will never need servicing again. I’d like you to remove us from the calling list since we no longer own the car.”

Dealership: “You don’t own the car?”

Me: “Not anymore.”

Dealership: *long pause* “Who did you sell it to? We can arrange service for them.”

Me: *trying to remain calm* “We didn’t sell it. It was totaled in an accident. Do you know what ‘totaled’ means?”

Dealership: “I—”

Me: “It’s dead. It was in a fatal accident. The entire right side was smashed up and a wheel fell off. The insurance company officially totaled the car, and it’s now in a junkyard. Why is that so hard for you to understand? We no longer own the car and we don’t need to receive any more maintenance reminder calls.”

(She finally gets the message, and takes down my name and the vehicle type.)

Dealership: “Can I get your phone number in case someone needs to call you back?”

Me: “What for? The car’s dead. Stop calling us to schedule maintenance. There’s no need for anyone to call us back for anything.”

(I had never before been in a situation where I felt the desire to start quoting Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch, but if she couldn’t understand what it means to call a car dead or totaled, she certainly wouldn’t have understood if I started calling it an “ex-car.”)

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