The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Friday, June 29, 2007

And Then, There's the Evil Ms. Knitingale

Okay, so maybe evil is too strong a word....but everyone has that point where they no longer suffer from moments of pure bitchery, but actually enjoy them hugely. For instance:

Some of you may recall that Mother Nature (with whom I have a famously volatile relationship) gifted me in December with the top 20 feet of a pine tree, lovingly tossed from about 90 feet and laid to rest across the hood of my brand new, 2006 Toyota. This did nothing good for the Toyota, predictably, and I've been driving it ever since with a dent in the hood and a loose headlight.

However, I finally got some quotes, fainted dead away, revived, averted my eyes from the offending zeros at the wrong end of the quotes, and arranged to have it repaired while mentally cursing that nature broad yet again. The place I chose estimated that it would take five days, and they had me drop her off Monday of this week. Mr. K and I then picked up a rental car on the way to my work and all was well. Okay, so all was painfully expensive....but the car was on her way once again to shiny smoothness.

I will point out here that the reason we didn't go through insurance was that it was our tree on our property hitting our car, and it would have been our homeowner's insurance that got billed. And since Ma Nature likes Mr. K about as well as she does me, and since she demonstrated this adoration by tossing a good sized tree on his shop at his last house and doing some $12,000 worth of damage (that may have been one of her "enjoy the bitch within" moments), we decided to pay for this one and not drive up the insurance rates. If you're thinking that we should consider living in the center of a 4 acre, treeless, concrete slab on the moon where there's no wind, you're not alone in that thought. Believe me.

Anyway. So I called on Wednesday to see if all was progressing with my car, and whether I would still be able to pick her up on Friday. (Not that the rental car wasn't fun to drive, but it sucked up gas like Dracula at a blood bank, and I was starting to think it should have come with a tanker and a hose. Keeping it over the weekend might have required that I move to Texas or Saudi Arabia or something, just to be closer to the oil wells.) The woman I talked to said something terribly clever and helpful like "Ummmm....." and then "Oh, it looks like it's on the schedule to be finished by Thursday afternoon." Tomorrow, then, I asked? It will be ready tomorrow? Well, she wasn't sure....but she would call me between 10 and 12 on Thursday to let me know. Great! So far, so good.

Thursday came and went with no phone call, though, so I figured it wouldn't be done until at least Friday. Then I remembered that the body shop is on my way home and it is open until 5:30 and I figured what the heck--I'll just drop by and make sure it will be done on Friday. I pulled in around 5:20 to discover that the car had been ready most of the day. Which was good news....but made me wonder what happened to the girl on the phone who was going to tell me it was ready, and why they figured I wouldn't mind paying for the rental car another day while my own perfectly good, freshly repaired waited patiently at the body shop. It was a puzzle. It was, moreover, the sort of puzzle that worries those who are standing very close to me, particularly at the end of a long day. It didn't bode well.
The repair needed to be paid for (preferably with a firstborn child, but I don't have one so they let me use A LOT OF MONEY), so I walked into the office to meet the charming young lady from the phone --lo and behold, another Malibu Barbie type, dressed in the latest in hooker chic. (I shouldn't be surprised. There are times when I think Barbie's taking over the world, in spite of the fact that her dream home is cardboard, her convertible is plastic, and her boyfriend has no genitalia. Go figure.) I told her--reasonably, I thought-- that I had dropped by to see when my car was done and discovered that it already WAS done and would like to pay for it and be on my way. She sighed heavily, and walked out of the room muttering vaguely about paperwork--without saying a word directly to me. Now see, that didn't do a lot to make me more pleasant. I can be unreasonable like that.

I waited and waited and waited....until finally she came out and wordlessly tossed the paperwork on the desk. And proceeded to start straightening her space with her back to me, while leaving me to read the total upside down so I could write the check. Then she turned back to me, frowned at my check as though it were a pile of doggie doo I had placed on the counter, and asked "Do you have, like, a credit card or something you could put that on?"
At this point I had been to this establishment 3 times, and had spoken to people there no fewer than 5. No one had ever mentioned anything about not taking checks, nor was it posted anywhere. In a tone of voice that anyone who has ever lived with me would recognize as dangerous (think of the earthquakes around Mt. St. Helens right before she blew half her side off and scattered ash over the tri-state area. That kind of dangerous.) but which Ms. Barbie apparently missed, I said "Do you mean to tell me that you won't take a check?" She shrugged (another great customer service tool, brought to you by the authors of "Who Gives a Crap? They're Only Customers" and "Tell the Customer to Go *&%$# Himself if He's Bugging You") and said in a bored tone that "we don't really take checks over $1000."
Let me reiterate the obvious: this is a bodyshop. You can't get a dime-sized spot spit-shined in there for less than a couple of grand...and they won't take checks over $1000? Still trying to win the battle against losing all rationality, I said evenly "Really? How interesting. So how often do you guys do repairs that cost LESS than $1000?" She pondered this one hard before finally venturing "Um....not very often?" So you'd take a check for...what? A gumball out of the machine in the corner?

Ultimately, reluctantly, WISELY, she did take the check and things might have ended peacefully. But she couldn't resist throwing in this last little bit: "I'll take it this time...but next time you'll need to bring a credit card or something" (I guess the "or something" must refer to the firstborn child I thoughtlessly failed to produce). And there it was. The exact moment when the long day and the unnecessary extra day of car rental and the walking rudely away from me and the making me hunt for my total and the turning her back on me and her derisive, irritated tone of voice and the "no checks but we're not going to tell you that" policy all came together. I looked up at her and stared until she squirmed and looked away. And let loose the evil Ms. Knitingale who had apparently been just bursing to say this:
"Honey, if there's a next time, you can expect me to be an even bigger bitch than I am now, because it will mean that another tree fell on my car or some dumbass hit it and I'll be standing here again arguing about how I'm paying the bill on a car that I only found out was done by stopping by because I'm apparently the only one who thinks it's important to let the customer know the car is ready and chances are you'll be ignoring me again because it's too damned much trouble to take care of customers and are you getting all this or am I talking too fast for you?"

She didn't seem to want to play anymore after that...probably because she's still trying to figure out how I could possibly be any more of a bitch than I already was. And a part of me does feel bad, it really does. On the other hand, my inner bitch enjoyed the little trip outside.

On the other hand, my outer nice person would like to tell you that Mr. K really appreciated all the kind birthday wishes. He had had a tough week at work and it made him smile. Yet another reason I love all of you (that, and none of you are the nasty woman at the bodyshop).

Lastly, I will give in and show the close up photo of the dreaded evening wrap (my penance for being mean to the hired help):

I know it looks like there's a hole on the right, but there isn't. It's knit loosely enough that a stitch had pulled one direction. I pulled it back, and all was well. Anyway, knit on. And watch out for Mother N hucking those trees around. Trust me--no good can come of it.


  • At 2:54 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    I'd LIKE to think that Ms.Barbie learned a little something about customer service, sadly, I don't think that's likely. That would take some mental power, albeit just a know.
    The evening wrap is beautiful, those colours exceptional!

  • At 3:23 AM, Anonymous MonicaPDX said…

    I am so glad you let your inner bitch out. This is called "on the job training." 'Cuz, y'know, obviously whoever runs the body shop doesn't give a whoop. (Probably just looks at her scenery. [eg] I wonder if they mind losing repeat business?) So it was purely your civic duty, in the interests of helping the poor girl to eventually aspire to a better job in, say, the food service industry.

    A truly masterful diatribe. And made me think - in the South, "Bless your heart" is an insult when used to refer to strangers. Up here? It's "Honey." ;)

    Hole in wrap? Pshaw. Minors. If it keeps coming back despite pulling the yarn, just tack the sucker down; in that yarn, any thread would disappear. It looks really pretty!

  • At 5:01 AM, Blogger ccr in MA said…

    Oh, I wish I'd been there.

    Barbie's related to the owner, I'm sure. She doesn't have the brains to follow what you said, unfortunately, or to understand what she did (or didn't do), and why it was wrong, stupid, and rotten customer "service", but all the same, good for you for not sitting down and taking it.

    And weren't you wise for stopping by when she didn't call! I would have probably called Friday morning and when she said oh, it's ready, sputtered. Sigh.

  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger Charity said…

    There are times when you just have to go with it. When you just have to say exactly what you think, in the most precise way possible. (Believe me, I know - I just earned the title of Queen of Wal-Mart for just such an incident last weekend. Sigh.) :0) Well done, for all of us.

  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger Kit said…

    Heh, your inner bitch is so much nicer than my mom's civil side. ;)

    Also, what hole? I hate to tell you but your stole is COVERED in holes. You may just have to learn to deal with it and be sure to wear something underneath it or you'll scandalize the neighbors and Mother Nature may just cover you in poison ivy to keep you decent.

  • At 11:53 AM, Anonymous angie Cox said…

    Ms K I am mostly a sweet little old lady type ( grey hair , carpet bag). I am too shy to be mean but I met the Barbie of all Barbies about two weeks ago. Some dumb ba***rd at the local council had arranged for the local radio station ( 24/7 crap ) to play in town for the kiddies half-term. It was so loud I had a sharp pain in my ears . So I walked up to the no 1 Barbie ( chewing away) at the mobile thingy with a HUGE amp. and asked if she could turn it down please as it was hurting . She glared at me like I was old trash who should have been gassed about ten years ago . I explained and added that small children shouldn't really be blasted into space by rap . She got very red and angry looking .No 2 Barbie walked over and explained that the coucil had arranged it . I could feel the hate burning my back as I walked away. I went to the bookshop for some peace ...muzak....asked politely to please turn it down but now met with a look of horror and then the creature walked away from "the old fart" . I was mad , real mad and sometimes Florence they just ask for it for goodness sake don't feel bad .

  • At 1:18 PM, Blogger Lynn said…

    And my own skewed perspective, that of an insider in the insurance industry. If you *had* chosen to file a claim, it would have been in your insurance company's best interest to get that car into and out of the body shop ASAP, because *they* would have been footing the bill for the rental car, and the company I work for keeps a gimlet eye on the honesty and efficiency of the body shops that do business with their insureds.

    Voice of experience. Back in the day, when I had a teenaged daughter driving on my policy, she was backed into in the parking lot at her job, with minimal damage. We had just put her on the policy, and I figured that it would be cheaper, both short-term and long, to pay for it myself. I didn't trust the other guy to follow through with his insurance or with cash. And I didn't figure it would cost more than the deductible to fix what needed doing. So I told my agent that there'd been an incident but that I was paying for it myself, and I took her to work for two days because I didn't want to pay for the rental, and the final bill was about $65 over my deductible.

    And yes, I will go to my grave believing that they did that on purpose because they thought woman = stupid.

    May they freeze in Robert Frost's vision of Hades with no handknit socks to give them comfort!

    Nicely done, Ms K. It probably made no impression on that little twit, but console yourself that what goes around, comes around; or alternatively, that time wounds all heels.

  • At 4:50 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    Damn. I think that same girl works at the DMV near Pittsburgh. Sometimes it takes a hissy fit just to get them away from checking out the manicure.

  • At 5:20 PM, Blogger Jeanne said…

    I probably would have done the same thing to Auto Shop Barbie. I almost did it at the BMV yesterday.

    Can you believe that the BMV does not take Debit Cards? Only cash or checks, as I found out yesterday while renewing my driver's license at the last moment possible (4 PM on my birthday). Who carries actual cash nowadays? When the BMV lady saw my raised eyebrows and the beginnings of my expression, she directed me to the ATM "if that helps any".

    So I grumbled, but paid the $2.15 fee to take out the money. What could I do? They'd already confiscated the old license before making the new one, so I couldn't very well leave, drive to my no-fee ATM, get money, then return. My luck, I'd be pulled over and caught driving without a license. *grumble*

    Well, at least your car is fixed and you have a gorgeous evening wrap to boot.

  • At 12:14 PM, Blogger Jo at Celtic Memory Yarns said…

    Darling Ms Knitingale, what possessed you to be so restrained? I would have taken that little Barbie apart with a can opener, stuffed her down the open shirt necks of the mechanics, then climbed on to the roof of the most expensive vehicle there, jumped up and down, and roared them out of it, using all the four, five, six and seven-letter words I knew (yeah, yeah, Geoffrey Chaucer used to spell four-letter words with seven, don't know why, but it made college a lot of fun).

    Evil? You were only winding up, pet. Next time do it really properly. I just wish I'd been there with you.

  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Kitty Mommy said…

    Death to bimbos!!! As I am in my third trimester, I am in close contact with my inner bitch. If your inner bitch wants to come out and play, dude, we're there for you!


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