Sunday, July 08, 2007

Who do you trust? Soapbox warning

I was beginning to think my RV was cursed and I would never get to Moscow, Idaho for the Life on Wheels Conference. As someone said, "You're running out of things to fix."

We waited until early afternoon to bring the RV to the shop. Rick drove and I followed in the car. He met the other two namesakes and they discussed the problems.
In ten minutes, they were practically friends and I knew I was in good hands. We left the shop and went to Rick's RV to wait for a phone call. The shop closed at 5.

At 4:50, I called and the very stressed manager said they were still working on the RV. At 6, she called and said, "Some of us have to go home. We have families." Uh-oh.
So Rick and I headed back to the shop. Meanwhile, the dad called to say he would wait for us to get there.

Soapbox mode on: Father and son remounted the tailpipes but couldn't inspect the brakes. Reason? Dad was fired. He took too long helping me because he wanted to be sure I was safe on the road, and didn't get me in and out of the shop with a quick turnaround. He was told to finish installing the tailpipe and leave. The son is still working there, but I don't know for how much longer.

We felt awful. Customers have faces and sometimes our needs are beyond a quick diagnostic and an oil change. We're not just a click in your database. The worst part of this is that the general manager will never know how much business he lost because of one customer. And why would you punish someone for going the extra mile (literally and figuratively)?

When he was taking a break from working on my RV, we talked about the days not too many years ago when you could drive down the street you would find a shop that worked on engines, a shop that handled tires, upholstery, etc. There were craftsmen who took pride in their work and knew you would recommend them to your friends and neighbors. Now a customer is a 10-minute job, a 30-minute job or the $2600 Toyota. It's like a doctor referring to a patient as "the gall bladder in 215" instead of Mrs. Jones.

By the way, I was only charged for four hours of labor.

I am outraged by what happened. A man with 25 years of experience and multiple certifications is out of work because he treated the customer like more than a number. And he took pride in his craft because he knew that my life depended on it.

Soapbox mode off.


  1. clown1051@comcast.netJul 9, 2007, 1:14:00 PM

    I feel terrible about your misadventures with motor home. I cannot believe that a gentleman who worried about a woman alone got fired for caring. I think you need to post the shop name so that it can be boycotted. So much for rewarding decency in the work place.

  2. Chuck also recommended that I post the shop name. Please remember that Christine, the manager, is not responsible. She gave me great service and was under orders to terminate the employee by her manager.

    It's the Midas shop in Daly City, CA.

  3. Why don't you write to Midas HQ and explain what happened?
    --You were treated very well by the shop, especially by Ricks SR and JR who demonstrated superior customer service.

    --You were prepared to recommend this shop to your extensive network of RVing friends, those who read your blog and those whom you will meet should you make it to Moscow.

    --You have an extremely bad feeling about causing an excellent mechanic to lose his job, and are now more likely to hand out bad PR on the shop, if the situation is not resolved satisfactorily.

    --Please hire Rick, Sr back with full seniority and back pay, apologise to him for the misunderstanding, and thank him and Rick Jr for their outstanding customer service.

  4. Here is Midas' website:

  5. I have been following your "adventures" with this used RV. It is absolutely frightening! As a woman alone I will really be leary of buying used from a stranger. The seller had to know that he was selling you that potental death-trap...what a creep!!

    Good luck with it. Hope you stay safe.