The “funniest” thing happened today. I got off work “early” so I decided to call Midas about coming over for a very long overdue oil change for my car and they served me major attitude. There’s a back story.
As we all know, when you move to a new city or state, you have to find all your “people” all over again. I’m talking family doctor, dentist, obgyn, dermatologist, local bank, hair stylist, oil change place, … you get the gist.
As you can imagine, oil change place wasn’t at the top of my list, especially as I had made sure to get it done right before I moved. But as they say, time flies when you are having fun. Suddenly, I realized my car was again due for an oil change. I tend to procrastinate on some things so it wasn’t until it became over 500 miles overdue that I started to slightly panic. I hadn’t found a place yet. It shouldn’t be a big deal, I know, but I also tend to overthink things.
I was going to go to a dealership as I sometimes did before I moved (but only when I had a coupon). I didn’t have a coupon. My next choice was Midas, where I went when I didn’t have a coupon, because I think they are reasonably priced and do a decent job. I figured my car is getting on in age anyway, it didn’t absolutely need VIP dealership TLC.
Luckily for me, there is a Midas less than a mile from my apartment. As well as an Uncle Ed’s 10 minute oil change and a few other places I’d never heard of. I figured I’d stick with Midas– be on the safe side.
I decided to be slightly classy and make an appointment; usually I would just drop in unless I was going to an actual dealership. The first sign of ‘attitude’ was they don’t take any appointments after 5 pm because they close at 6 pm. Well, that’s mighty convenient if I get off work at about 5 pm and sometimes go to the gym (onsite) afterwards, isn’t it? Even if I decided to skip gym, I get off at 5 pm. I suppose I could have left work early … but minor details.
So I made a Saturday afternoon appointment. I later realized I could go in earlier when something else in my schedule freed up and called to change the appointment but no earlier slot was available so I kept it. During the course of the day on Saturday, I realized I would be late so I called to say so. Usually, I wouldn’t do this. When I called, the next round of attitude came in. They said if I am over 15 minutes late they wouldn’t do the job.
I tried my best to get there before 15 minutes past the hour but got there 20 minutes past hoping for some sort of miracle or that my charm would work out the situation but they were firm. Fair enough, I had been warned. Right there, I made another appointment for 9 am on Wednesday, their earliest slot. Meaning I would have to be late for work. But I figured – worthy sacrifice. I was close to 1,000 miles overdue.
I later remembered I had to visit a supplier on Wednesday but due to the procrastination thing and bad memory I didn’t get to call to reschedule till the day of. And because they open at 9, meaning I can’t call before 9, I ended up calling at 9.02 to cancel. Again, normally I wouldn’t be so courteous. They said ok no problem.
I got back from the supplier a little before 5 pm so I thought hey let me call them and see if I can come in. Again, with some attitude they said they are full and can’t take me so I said I would make another appointment and they said no, I’ve had 2 strikes so I can’t make another appointment! I couldn’t believe it. At an oil change place?? Even the doctor’s office doesn’t do that! At least I don’t think so. They hadn’t even told me about this ridiculous rule at any time prior in this entire relationship!
I said so what do I do, they said play it by ear. Can you imagine??? What does that even mean? Who would have thought it would be so complicated to change oil!?? So I told myself it’s not even that deep, I can go somewhere else.
Enter Uncle Ed’s 10 minute oil change. One part of me told me it was a bad idea, how can they do it in 10 minutes??? Another part said, Uncle Ed sounds like a pretty nice guy, it should be alright. I go in, no fuss at all, I was in my car the whole time, about 3 different guys working on my car at once. Pretty VIP, in my book.
I asked how much it cost, they said about $45. A bit steep (compared to the $25.99 I was going to pay at Midas) but I was like you know what, they aren’t giving me any attitude, there is no wait, and I am almost 1,000 miles overdue, so I said go for it.
Next thing, another guy brings out this tablet and says based on the oil recommended by the car manufacturer, the oils they have are $99. I was like what???? He said there’s another $75 one. I said I was told $45!!!
So he clicked another link on the tablet and the $45 option came on. He was like, it’s not the best for your car, bla bla, I said I had heard. Next, he came to ask me what oil filter I wanted– there was the expensive version and the cheaper one. Of course, I chose the cheaper one. This was a completely new experience for me…no one had ever asked me what oil or filter I wanted!!
Next, he said I might want to change my air filter, he showed it to me, I said I was good. Then he printed out all the recommended services that need to be done on my car and circled the fuel system flush. They were all about $100 and above. I just nodded.
Finally, they are done, I pay, then he hands me the sticker that reminds you went next to come in. Their recommendation was 3,000 miles!!! Ever since I have had this car, the interval has always been 5,000 miles. These people must be jokers!! So I left there paying more than double what I would normally pay for an oil change with about half the normal service interval.
I guess that’s what I get for being a procrastinator, poor planner, and telling Midas to suck it. I still can’t believe I’m basically banned from Midas.
Now, people, am I being ridiculous, overly sensitive, or being completely rational? Should it be this complicated to get your oil changed? What could I have done differently? I want this to be a teachable moment. Let me know your thoughts :).
I guess at least one lesson learned— learn how to change my own darn oil!!!!!
Header photo: Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 2015. Photo by O Thomas.