It's the end of an era at my local dealership.I've always been happy with the service I got at my garage. I knew who I was talking to on the phone and they knew who I was. Most importantly they knew I was a driving instructor and no car means no job for me. I enjoyed a really quick turnaround on work and often would only need to cancel 1 or 2 lessons to get it serviced. Repairs were always done quickly to get me back out on the road. Now times have changed.
My usual garage has been bought out by a much larger dealership. It took me a few phone calls to realise that I wasn't actually talking to the garage but to a call centre. The person on the other end didn't really understand what I was on about. When discussing a previous problem that was on file you could tell she did not have even the most rudimentary knowledge of cars so it was hard work trying to get her to understand what I needed. When I did get to speak to the people I know it was obvious that there is a more rigid structure in place and things were going to take more time.
Time is the important thing when you have to get back out there on the road. The worst thing about the new style set up is how much longer the jobs take. I only had to ever wait a day for a clutch and this time it was almost two. I sat there on the second day for about 4 hours waiting for it to come out of the garage, cancelling lessons as and when. This is where a driving instructor loses money as well as inconveniencing pupils, not something I like to do. I ended up cancelling the last one because they insisted on washing it even though they knew I was waiting. Most expensive car wash ever I think.
Today I sit writing this having cancelled the working day. My power steering has been sorted but they are baffled why the nearside door mirror won't tilt sideways, only up and down. It's not the wiring, switch or motor so what could it be? It's not worth a full day off work so I probably won't get it done. I can just poke it with my finger if it needs tilting sideways.
It's sad that there has been this big shift towards the corporate. Seems to be happening everywhere I suppose. It's a big thing to be on good terms with your garage when you're a driving instructor. It can save a lot of time and hassle. Especially if you've got driving tests coming up. In an hour or two I'll go and pick up my car with the faulty mirror. Hopefully the whirring noise from the steering will have gone. Still! Christmas soon and then a Happy New Year!
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