Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 1 : How to get a mini-van out of storage in 5 hours!

We all settled into bed around 1 am last night and the kids would have slept most likely until 1 pm this afternoon, but Jill made and "executive decision" and woke us up around 11 am. We got up and got ourselves ready and waited for the Barkat clan to come over and see us. They came to see us and then we had lunch at one of my favorite places Pita Jungle. It was busy as every at 1 pm and we had a pretty nice lunch of hummus, falafel, lentils and pita pizza. After that we decided to get my mini-van out of storage so we wouldn't have to depend on friends to cart us around all day.

We arrived at the office where are vehicle is in storage and I told the lady at the desk I would need the gate code because I didn't have it with me. I didn't even think of brining this code because when I was back in January they gave me the gate code no problem. Anyway, they called their management office and they said not to let me in because it could be a divorce situation. I was livid. They explained to me that my name wasn't on the account and that my husband had to verify some information for me to get back in the facility. I told them that my husband was in Chengdu and that it was the middle of the night there, but if I could call him from their phone I could do this. They wouldn't let me know use the phone and told me I needed to go somewhere else to do this. They also told me that there was another person on the account and that person was a woman. I told them it was my friend Jeanette who had taken us to the airport when we moved to Chengdu and the reason she was on the account was because she parked our car in storage. They wouldn't budge even after I called Jeanette, but luckily she had written the code down in our client file (she is our Allstate agent too!).

I was a still a little upset for them not letting me in to our facility. I do understand that they have their rules, but sometimes you have to look outside of your rules and do the right thing from time to time.

We went to the garage where we keep the mini-van and sure enough it didn't start. I borrowed jumper cables from the office and it wouldn't even turn over. I thought we could just go buy a battery, but Jill reminded me that our van is probably still under warranty. I called the Honda dealership and they said that they would tow the car to their facility and it would be free of charge. They gave me a number of the towing company and I gave them a call to schedule a pick up.

I talked to the guy at the towing company and they said they could have someone there at 4:15 p.m. and not later. I explained to them that I was at a storage facility with 5 kids in the car I was in and that we would take the kids somewhere for the hour we had to wait for the tow truck and would return to let them in the facility. Sure enough, they arrived 15 minutes later and left before we got back. Now I wouldn't have been upset, but I left specific directions. I called the towing company and they said the driver went home for the day. Of course I was angry and let them know it. The woman kept telling me to calm down, but I didn't really feel like she needed to tell me what to do. I was angry and trying to explain to them that I explained to the first person that they told me they wouldn't be there until 4:15 pm and that they were to wait for us because we were trying to entertain 5 kids under the age of 7 for the hour while we waited for the tow truck. The woman on the phone said it would take another hour to get the truck there, but by this time the kids were starting to get fussy and tired. They ended up scheduling the tow, but I called back to cancel and the guy on them phone then hung up on me. I called back for a manager and they put me through to a totally different business. I called back again and they guy who hung up on me told me that I was the meanest person he had ever spoken to and that they didn't want my business. I ask to speak to the manager again and made some comment about the they put me through to "his" voicemail and the guy said in the most condescending tone that manager could be women too. I am sorry, but I didn't understand why a person who was suppose to be helping me acted to belligerent to me on the phone. I know I was angry, but rightly so. I made the effort to explain my situation, but obviously it didn't get communicated to the driver. I don't think that was my fault, but obviously they thought so. I didn't even yell at anyone and yet I am the meanest person in the world after they hung up on my and told me how mean I was. I didn't even swear! I ended up having to call again and spoke to someone in charge. After my account of the events earlier the person hung up the phone without letting me know if someone was coming for my vehicle. Jill told me to not worry about it, they were rude and she said it didn't matter. Very true, so we blew it off.

In the middle of my squabble with the towing company I had called the Honda dealership back to ask them if they would still be there to replace the battery in my car because the towing company would be over to pick up the car until after 5 pm. The guy I originally spoke to was gone for the day, but the other guy in service told me just to buy a new battery and they would reimburse me for it. I couldn't believe he said that. I had a moment of total insanity and explained to him that I had just traveled from China, spent the last 3 hours in a mini-van with 5 kids and that I was about ready to lose it! Poor guy, he was so understanding. He even offered to play with my kids in the play area at the Honda dealership. I just couldn't figure out why the first guy I spoke with didn't tell me to do the same thing. It would have been much easier and less stressful for everyone.

Jill's wonderful husband replaced my battery with a 3 year Costco battery, so if I ever need a new one I can go to Costco to replace it.

A big shout out to Jill for her patience with me yesterday and thank you to her husband for her battery changing skills. Hopefully today will be a better day!!!


potusol said...

Car stuff is EASILY one of the most maddening things you ever have to deal with. But at least now after that horrible exchange you've got wheels.

: )

Kelly S said...

Jill is a saint. It had to have been 112 degrees that day! Not a day to be hanging around outside with the kids. Sorry to hear you had so much trouble. :-(