Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Adventures in the Motor Trade

An Spailpín Fánach has been enjoying an adventure with the motor trade, five days from Christmas and the season of good will. It’s been both instructive and enlightening, exactly what we want from all our adventures.

The situation is this – my lovely ten year old Corolla was broken into and ruined during the summer, as the miscreants attempted to drive the poor old yoke away and ended up simply destroying the steering instead. The criminals remain at large to this day … but An Spailpín had to go off and buy a new motor, the old Corolla now being reduced to scrap.

I bought an 02 Ford Focus – good, reliable car. An Spailpín is not bothered about motors as such, he just likes it when they start in the morning, and asks for little more. The garage give me €1500 against the ruin of a once-proud Corolla, and I was happy enough with the deal.

The first time I smelt anything vaguely resembling rodent about the deal was when the tax office rang and told me that, because I had bought the car on July 29th, the full tax for July had to be paid. An Spailpín reflected it would not have killed the garage to have tipped me off on this point – they’d know less, you know – but I let it pass, as my Lord and my God admonishes me to do.

However, as the seasons changed, I noticed that the car was suffering from windshield condensation more than somewhat, and this was causing me distress, to say nothing of piles of bunched up newspapers in the cabin from sopping the thing out. Your correspondent put this down to bad luck, and shed a further tear for his lovely Corolla. However, when I put my hand under the passenger seat looking for a map the other day and found it as wet as the Bog of Allen, I realised that this was serious. Therefore, I made an appointment with the garage where I bought the thing 144 days ago, and left her in this morning.

When I left in the keys, the lady behind the counter hit me with the bad news that I had a three month warranty on the car, not the year long warranty that An Spailpín was so convinced he had that he did not bring the purchase documents with him. This was a disappointment to me, and I shall be checking the documents v carefully when I return to Spailpín HQ this evening. But the car was there, it still had to be fixed, and I let them away.

The garage rang me again at half-nine. They told me that they didn’t know how long it would take to figure out how this leak is occurring. It could take one hour, it could take three hours. However, the charge per hour is seventy-five Euro, and was sir willing to stump up?

No, I told them. Sir is not.

If I had wrapped the damn thing around a tree and a team of men with welding gear were going Oscar Goldman on the vehicle, then maybe, but €75 remains steep even in that case. Seventy-five sovs for some buck with his hands his pockets to look in the window ever now and again to see if she’s fogging up? I think not. I told the garage that I would call up this afternoon, take the motor out of their way and get someone else to fix it.

The garage rang back at half-eleven. Turns out somebody in there rang Ford HQ just for pig-iron, and Ford HQ told them to stick a plate over the pollen filter and Bob’s your uncle. This took ninety minutes’ work – however, the garage, in its unlimited munificence, would only charge me the half-hour. Is that agreeable to sir?

“Why, that’s wonderful. I’ll be up this evening to collect it. Thank you so much,” replied a sadder and wiser Spailpín Fánach.

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