May 23, 2008


I was running around on lunch today picking up supplies, aka beer, for the Beer Tasting I’m hosting this weekend. The shopping was taking long and Ktreva had a conference call so I volunteered to drop her off while I went and picked up lunch for us. I was just running to the Subway a couple of blocks from work. As I turned onto the side street to access the parking lot, I hear a slight grinding noise coming from the vehicle. At first I thought it was the brakes, but I noticed it kept going even after the brakes were released.

When I pulled into the stall I got out of the vehicle and walked to the passenger side. There I heard a sound that made me utter a curse under my breath. It was the slow HSSSSSSSssssssssssssssssssssssssss of air leaving a confined space. Just looking at Ktreva’s van I could tell which tire it was. Her passenger front tire was slowly deflating.

Having been through this before, I started pulling out the jack and tools to get the spare tire out from underneath the van. As I twisted the crank to lower the spare tire, I noticed that the spare wasn’t lowering. The cable was coming down just fine; the spare was still under the body. It seems the metal clasp that holds the tire up rusted to a part under the van.

There I was in the parking lot of Subway swearing, climbing under the van with a pry bar and trying to break the tire free. After about 15 minutes it finally popped off. Everything went smoothly after that. The nuts came off easily, the jack worked perfectly, no one tried to run me over. I put the spare on and lowered the vehicle… and watched as the van went to the rim of the spare. It seems the spare was flat too.

Now folks, I would like to say that I was calm, cool and collected about this. But seriously I went on a cursing tirade that scared the living daylights out of people. A couple of employees that work at my company were coming out of the subway during my rant and heard me. They ran away pretty damn fast. A lot of people in the area were looking at me with an unsure look on their face. I figure they either thought I had Tourette’s or I was a “Special ed” adult throwing a temper tantrum.

Figuring I that I was stuck and had nothing else I could do, I ran into Subway, picked up lunch and headed to the nearest tire place, Discount Tires… on the rim of the spare. Hey, it’s cheaper to replace the spare!

I get to the tire place and they are PACKED! Packed I tell you! I asked how long it was going to be, and the guy told me it would be an hour to hour and a half. Fine, so I sat down, at my sandwich and then called a bunch of people to see if they were still coming this weekend. After about an hour they came and got me. The guy said there was no damage to the tire and he could fix it easily enough. They even fixed the spare.

When I asked how much, cringing waiting to hear him say some outlandish amount, he responded with, “Nothing, it’s free.” Excuse me? Did you say Free? You mean there is no charge? Why is there no charge? “I don’t know, the work order says “free repair”. I even verified with the first guy I spoke with. He said there is no charge.

Huh… no charge. You don’t get that very often anymore do you? That was about the only bright spot on the incident is that other than a loss of my time, it didn’t cost me a thing. The next time I need tires, I’m probably going to go back to this place and check them out. Thank you Discount Tires on Perryville in Rockford, Illinois.

Posted by Contagion at 06:15 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 03, 2008

Rock River Raptors have angered me.

Tonight is the “second” Rock River Raptors home game of the season. And to be honest, I’m not sure if I am going to go or not. The management and front office have really angered me to no end. It all started last year when the Raptors made it to the playoffs.

To increase sales the management and front office offered a package deal. If you bought all the playoff tickets and the 2008 season tickets they would knock 25% off of the total package and if the Raptors didn’t make it to the next level of the playoffs they would refund the money for the tickets. It was a huge savings and well worth the money. I jumped on and purchased the tickets.

The Raptors were eliminated in the first round. Meaning that the second round of the playoffs and the championship tickets should be refunded to the ticket holders that purchased them. I kept waiting and calling about the refund only to never get it. The office would give me the run around about whose fault it is or just not return my calls. At one point I called the Raptors because I had heard that some of the season ticket holders that had pre-paid for tickets were not showing as paid.

When I called they told me they did have a record of my payment. I inquired about the refund and they told me they did not have me on the list for the refund. I was about livid. They added my name to the list along with the friends of mine and my father who had all prepaid. I still received a song and dance about when we will get the refund.

My tickets where paid for in June. The last playoff game was toward the end of July. It is now the beginning of March and I still don’t have my money back. They where quick to take the money out of the account, but they sure don’t want to give it back.

To make matters ever worse, they changed the league they play in from the UIF to the CIFL. When they did this they sent out a nice letter saying that they decided not to raise the cost of tickets this year, like they would have received another dime from me or I would have accepted anything short of the refund they owed me. I’m still fighting to get my money when the schedule comes out. They shortened the seasons from 8 home games to 6 home games. In the past they were all on a Saturday night, now some are on a Friday night. Okay, it’s a little annoying as no pre-game partying, but I can live with it.

When I questioned the raise of ticket prices, I was told they didn’t raise them. Yes they did! I paid for 8 home games, I got 6 home games. That’s when I was told that I still get two home games, but they are pre-season. Pre-season, that’s right. To add insult to injury, one of the preseason games wasn’t even held at the MetroCentre (The arena the games are normally played in). The night we were able to pick up tickets we had to go to this indoor sports center in Loves Park, fight with parking to get into a crowded arena to pick up tickets. Where they wanted me to pay an additional $5.00 for Clone (my four year old) to get into the game. Again, they are not getting anymore money from me.

This wasn’t even a pre-season game; it was an exhibition game against some local iron-man football club. You didn’t even get to see them play players of the same caliber. They had an away pre-season game against a rival team from the UIF. Then they scheduled a pre-season game on a Monday night. Monday night?!?!?! Hell, I’ve given up NFL tickets because it’s a Monday night game. I’ll be lucky if I get home before 11:00 PM tonight. Most of the people I know can’t go because they have kids and it’s a school night, they have to work, they have weekday obligations or it’s just not feasible.

As for the regular season games, I’m going to miss half of them because they are scheduled during re-enactments. That’s not their fault, but when you only have 6 home games, it decreases the chances of you being able to get to one if you have any other hobbies, kids or plans.

Needless to say I’m a bit annoyed. I do know that I’m not spending one dime more than I have to this year on this team until I get my money back. I also know that I better get a huge apology for the treatment I’ve received. There are a lot of other fans out there just like me, I bet you see their support drop off this year. You don’t treat your fan base like this and expect to keep them.

Posted by Contagion at 06:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 04, 2007

Highland Garden of Memories is disrespectful of the dead.

I'm so angry right now that I'm not sure how to tell this story. When someone dies there is certain amount of respect and sensitivity that needs to be shown to the deceased and their love ones. Unfortunately my Grandmother did not receive that. It wasn't any guests that did it, it wasn't family. It wasn't the church or the funeral home. It was the cemetery and their staff that was disrespectful to my grandmother and my family.

We all know you don't get to plan a funeral months in advance. You have a short time in which all arrangements need to be made and to schedule everything. My grandmother already had a funeral plot, next to my grandfather that passed away 9 and a half years ago. My uncle took care of contacting the cemetery. Highland Garden of Memories in Belvedere, IL. He had originally scheduled the internment at 3:00 but because the manager of the cemetery told him it would conflict with another burial, they moved it back to 3:30. The manager told my uncle that wouldn't be a problem, we just wouldn't have a tent. That wasn't an issue.

The visitation and services were lovely and there were no problems. When we arrived at the cemetery instead of going to the grave they took us to a chapel on site. I was confused, so where the rest of my cousins and family. We figured they would have the graveside services... well graveside. No apparently they decided it was too dark for them to do the work so they were going to do it the next day. We ended up having to leave my grandmother in her casket inside this chapel overnight. We had family friends, relatives and others that wanted to pay their respects there to see my grandmother interred, and weren't able to. They had us over a barrel, it's not like we could take her and go someplace else.

I went back this morning at 10:30 AM for the interment because I felt someone should be there and say something. Fortunately My uncle that made the arrangements was able to take the extra time to drive two hours down to attend as well as an aunt that was able to come down from Milwaukee to join Ktreva and I. The funeral home even sent someone out to supervise the workers to make sure everything was done properly. My aunt and a friend of hers were the first to arrive, I arrived shortly after them. When the cemetery workers and manager showed up they asked if we were ready. My aunt told them we were going to wait for the my uncle and the funeral home representative. The funeral home representative arrived next and the manager wanted to get started. Again we had to tell him we were going to wait for my uncle.

While waiting the manager and my aunt had an exchange of words. My aunt, who is in seminary school studying to be a Lutheran minister, told the manager just how unhappy she was. She was very angry and upset, and she had ever right to be. Now you need to understand, my aunt is a very docile person. I've never seen her get angry, raise her voice or say a harsh word. When she laid into this guy, it kind of threw me off.

When my uncle arrived we moved Grandma from the chapel to the grave. This cemetery doesn't have standing headstones, it has grave markers flush to the ground. Thew workers put my grandmother's casket onto a trolley and rolled her across the grounds to the grave by rolling over other people's markers and graves. I escorted my grandmother on the trip because I was a pallbearer, and I wanted to make sure she was handled properly. My aunt walked with me and we both were kind of taken back by this non-caring attitude the employees had. I felt bad walking across other peoples graves. I tried to not, but with the snow on the ground and the markers being flush to the ground I had no idea where the graves were.

The whole situation really pissed me off. Last night after I got home and the more I thought about it, the more irrational I was in my anger. I wanted to go back out there and camp with my grandmother, to make sure she was okay. I also wanted to do many things that are even more irrational... and illegal. Fortunately I didn't do any of them.

Here's what really pissed me off about the whole thing. They never intended to inter her yesterday. They never dug the hole. When we arrived, they said that it was too late in the day. The workers wouldn't work that late. It was 3:30 on a Monday! Then they said it was too dark. They never made any of those statements to my uncle when he offered to push back the internment. They said everything would be fine and normal. Then the manager not only was smug about the whole thing, he was absolutely unremorseful. The guy didn't give a damn that he lied and/or mislead my family about what was going to happen. He didn't care that he denied many of them closure and caused them mental and emotional trauma.

People, and those of you that might stumble upon this post, if you need to bury a loved one heed this warning. Don't purchase plots at Highland Garden of Memories in Belvedere, IL. It's at the corner of IL route 76 and Squaw Prairie Rd. If I had a choice I wouldn't use them again, but my brother is buried there and my parents also have plots there wanting to be buried with my brother. I really don't have a choice. If you do have to deal with them, make sure you are real clear on the details and expect to be lied to.

Posted by Contagion at 05:22 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Chances of getting lost... very slim.

I’ve had the same cell phone for almost three years now. I like it, it’s plain and simple. Since I rarely use my phone for anything it suited me well. I didn’t need nor want a camera on it or anything like that. Like all things, after time it started to malfunction. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge and occasionally it wouldn’t turn on or off, it would be stuck in a start up position where you couldn’t do anything. Oh, and it was starting to work like a small heater. It would get up to temperatures that just wasn’t right.

Ktreva wanted to get a new cellphone, she wanted something newer and more stylish. On lunch today we headed to the store we have our cell phones through. We walk in and Ktreva instantly finds a phone she likes. It has all the bells and whistles and gadgets that she wants. I other the other hand can’t find anything I like. They either have too many gadgets and functions on them or they look god-awful. As I was looking around I saw one phone that advertised something that actually caught my attention. It had a GPS navigation system.

Folks, I love maps. I’m not ashamed to admit that I spend hours studying maps just so I can become more familiar with places. With this fascination comes another problem. I expect anyone on trips with me to have the same skills with and respect for maps. They hardly if ever do. Now I find a phone that will take the place of my unfit navigators. After looking, I found other phones that had this capability, but I didn’t like the feel of them. So I ended up buying a phone that takes pictures, videos, can play music and a bunch of other stuff I will never use just for the navigation system.

On the way home from work I played with it, and let me tell you, it was great. It auto updates if I miss or make a wrong turn. Then it gave me voice warnings of pending turns and then telling me when to turn. With a push of a button it will map out where you are at. This has to be the best idea anyone has ever come up with for a phone. My father has one of those large GPS systems for vehicles and this works just like his… only I can’t talk to mine, and it’s even more portable.

If you have Verizon, and a phone that can handle the VZ Navigator system, I’d highly recommend looking into getting it.

Posted by Contagion at 05:41 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 08, 2006

Superman did return.

Last Ktreva decided that she wanted to see Superman Returns. Which kind of surprised me, I figured she would have wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean because she has a thing for Orlando Bloom. Normally I don’t write reviews about movies I’ve seen. But I just have to say that this was a good movie.

I had my apprehensions about it, Superman 3 and 4 pretty much made me want to not see anything to do with Superman again. The trailers for Superman Returns made me want to see it. It had a good plot, good action and some great special effects. Brandon Routh, who plays Clark Kent/Superman does an excellent job. He has the mannerisms, speech patterns and facial expressions that are very reminiscent of Christopher Reeve. Who ever decided he was the man for the job, hit the nail on the head. Kevin Spacey owns Lex Luthor. He did a much better job then Gene Hackman. His portrayal of Luthor was not the slapstick bumbler that Hackman did. No, this was an Evil Genius getting his groove on.

As for Kate Bosworth playing Lois Lane, eh… they could have found someone that was a better actress to do the job. I had a hard time believing the inner turmoil in her. She reminded me of a girl I went to High School with. She wanted to be an actress. Every play and musical the school put on, she would try out and get a part in. She was good… for a High School production. In every play she had the same facial expression and same lack of emotion in her dialogue. That and I don’t find Kate Bosworth particularly attractive. I’m not saying she is ugly, I’m just saying she’s not my type.

I’m not going to give away any spoilers, so don’t worry about that. But if you haven’t seen this movie yet, it’s well worth the $10.00 to see it

One thing did irritate me, but it had nothing to do with the movie itself. If I'm paying that kind of money to see a movie I don't want to spend 30 minutes watching commercials and previews. The movie was supposed to start at 6:40PM, but the actual movie didn't start until 7:10. I don't mind previews, but we had commercials for cell phone companies, motor companies, soft drinks, etc. I'm not listing which companies, because I don't want to promote them. It pisses me off that I'm paying to watch commercials. If they want to start showing commercials before the damn movie, start showing them before the supposed "Start Time".

Posted by Contagion at 09:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 14, 2006

We've moved into the 1900s.

Our house has an antique cast iron lion foot bathtub in the main bathroom. I say main because at sometime a previous owner built a makeshift bathroom in the basement, but really this house only has one bathroom. The basement is an unfurnished limestone basement. The “bathroom” down there has no walls; it’s just a toilet in a corner of the basement with a crude shower built next to it. There are no walls surrounding it. For years we never had a real shower to use.

That is until today. After years of putting it off, I finally installed a shower in the bathroom. Well actually I bought a conversion kit to turn the lion footed bathtub into a shower. We like the antique tub and didn’t want to get rid of it. That and the fact it weighs a ton and is on the second floor also helped the decision. I really didn’t want to have to move the beast if I didn’t have to. Due to many other reasons I just never got around to converting the tub. Mainly it was because of laziness. Hey, I’m not denying it.

A couple of weeks ago the faucet on the tub started leaking. It wouldn’t turn off completely. The best we could do was slow it to a fast drip. Mainly it would just run as off the faucet was cracked open. All right, I needed to replace the faucet. If I was going to do that, I might as well install the shower. That was when I discovered that most of the local hardware stores do NOT stock the shower conversion kits anymore. I guess they figure that if a house had a lion footed tub, it would have been converted by now.

After searching for weeks I went to a locally owned hardware store, Nicholson Hardware. People, this is the best hardware store on the planet. It is stocked with just about everything you could look for in home improvement. Not only that but the staff is not only knowledgeable in all things hardware and home improvement, but also they are courteous, helpful and extremely eager to please. The only problem with this hardware store is its business hours. Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. It’s a contractor’s hardware store, hence why they have everything under the sun.

When I entered I found the new faucet easily enough, but I couldn’t find the rest of the stuff to make it into a shower. I asked the clerk and he told me that I could buy it piece by piece, or they had an all-inclusive kit that contained all of the parts. He then told me that the kit would be cheaper then buying all the part piecemeal. Sure enough he was right.

Ktreva was excited over the prospect of finally having a useable shower in the house. My father, the plumbing and electrical engineer, came over to give me a hand installing it. It only took about an hour and now all it needs is a couple of shower curtains and we are ready to… well shower I guess.

Now I don’t have to worry about falling asleep in the tub in the mornings.

Posted by Contagion at 07:34 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

Lou Bachrodt Automall, update.

Last Sunday while out driving the check Engine light came on the truck. There was no lag in performance or anything so I wasn’t too worried. Since it was under warranty I wanted to get it looked at right away. I was pretty sure it was a sensor that went bad. In the last four vehicles I’ve owned, when the check engine light came on it was because of a bad sensor. We also had a problem with a door locking in the Van and a leak in one of the rear compartments. That meant I had to take them back to the Lou Bachrodt Automall to do the warranty work. Some of you may remember that last November I put up a post blasting this dealership’s service department.

The problem I had was that the next closest dealership to do these repairs was in the next time and I just don’t have the time to drive that far out of my way. I called the GM, and left a message about bringing in the truck. He’s a busy man, and knowing how businesses can go, I was not expecting an immediate call back. While waiting, I decided to go ahead and bring the truck in for repairs. Dropping the truck off I spoke with a Service Advisor that I had not had any dealings with in the past, Rick Wilson. I explained my entire situation, including my history with their service department. He said he would take care of me; I was pretty apprehensive about the whole situation.

The GM contacted me that afternoon and told me to bring the truck in and he’d have it worked on. I told him that it was already there and Rick had it. Later that afternoon I received a call from Rick, he said that no it wasn’t a sensor, but another component that needed replacing. They would order the parts and have it done the next day. Since it was in already I decided to have some mud flaps installed on the truck that I had put off doing. I dropped off the flaps and waited.

The next day Rick tells me that the vehicle is finished. We pick it up and I will say two things right now. First, Rick did an excellent job. He seemed sincere in caring about my truck and my concerns. Second, they did an excellent job on the mud flaps. They look great. The truck ran fine and everything seemed to be in top working order. At that time I set up an appointment to bring the van in. I told them it would be noon before we got it there. Due to changes in our schedule, I ended up having to drop the van off at 7:00 AM.

Later that day, I don’t remember the exact time, I was contacted and told that the door was fixed, but the van had to be sent to a body shop to have the leak fixed. They quit doing their own bodywork, so they sent it to an outside contractor. Rick even put Ktreva into a rental vehicle while the van was being worked on.

The next day Rick calls and tells me that the van is done. Ktreva picks it up; it was all covered under the warranty. Everything was fixed and there didn’t seem to be any more problems. The rain we had gave us a chance to make sure no more leaks. After a quick inspection of the vehicle, I decided I needed to go in and talk to Rick. I know what it’s like dealing with a disgruntled customer, and he did a great job. He took care of me and my vehicles, I felt that with all the trouble I caused him that I at least owed him a thank you and apology for initially giving him a hard time.

When we dropped off the van I was able to speak with the GM. He explained that many changes have been made in staffing so that situations like mine wouldn’t happen anymore. He has always been a straight shooter with me, and he helped me get my problems corrected. From the experience I’ve had over the last week I’d say he was correct. It appears a lot of changes have been made so that their quality in the service department has improved. If another problem arises with one of my vehicles, I won’t be as apprehensive in taking it back.

Posted by Contagion at 06:28 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 17, 2006

Oh never, oh never, oh never again.

We here in the Contagion household had a good weekend, well let me rephrase that. Contagion of the Contagion household had a good weekend. Friday started off with a talented waitress at a local wings joint of the highest renown. (She was artistic. Not in that lesbian sort of way, but in that she drew us our own personalized coasters for our libations.) The redoubtable T1G met with me there for dinner to discuss the local politics and alleviate an overabundance of fine beer that was going to waste on the local alcoholics. After much debate over the correct pronunciation of the word Golgotha, we decided that we should go see how the other half recreates on a Friday night.

That is when we headed to the local hole in the wall that’s by my domicile. Upon arriving T1G noticed right away that this establishment did not have the usual sophisticated selection of malt beverages. The next thing he noticed was the sever lack of quality distilled spirits. He was vocally pondering why I would entertain such an establishment when we overhear the following conversation, Guy 1, “Hey, you have plaster on your pants.” Guy 2, “Trust me, that’s not plaster.” Guy 1, “Dude, you’re supposed to change when you do that!” All was right with the world. That and $1.50 drafts aren’t bad.

On Saturday I packed the family into the truck and invaded the valley in order to visit Tammi. Prior to our embarking on the expedition, we stopped at a local grocer for supplies. Including more malted beverages of exceptional quality, oh and Camo Silver Ice High Gravity Lager. I had seen this particular beer at the store a couple of times and contemplated purchasing a can to see what it is like. On the can it advertises 9% alcohol by volume, so I figured it would be good for a nice warming at least. It looked sounded like it would taste bad; the packaging didn’t help convince me any differently. On this day, I figured it is time to take the plunge. I purchased two of these 24 oz can behemoths, one for myself and one for T1G. It is far better to drink swill with a friend then by oneself. After dinner T1G and I decided to give the Camo Silver Ice High Gravity Lager a chance. Let me start by saying that this beer by any other name would be pig urine. Nay, that is an insult to pig urine. It was like drinking the vile dregs of 73 kegs (various brands) that were mixed together, left to warm in the sun and served in an old used plastic cup left over from a frat party.

To quote a recent review I’ve read of this unpalatable brew, ”Quite simply the worst beer I’ve ever tried. Three swigs were enough. Then I started gagging. Smells and tastes like gasoline mixed with rotting garbage. Horrifyingly vile swill made by evil people.” T1G’s comment on the taste was, ”It tastes like stomach bile. You know, that stuff you puke up after your done puking.” Yes, my dear contaminants it was that bad. In his review he was kind enough to not repeat those words.

Not to let the vile concoction tarnish our machismo, we both finished them off. There we sat on Tammi’s front porch, the sunlight glinting off the giant aluminum cans, choking down the sick practical joke that is this beer. Scaring the neighbors as the two burly men sat there drinking a product that bums wouldn’t touch.

If you don’t trust my review of this beer, that is fine. Try it yourself, go but a can and choke it down. Just remember the more you swallow the less likely it will come back up. The only thing that could have made the experience worse, was if I had bought the 40 oz. bottles.

Posted by Contagion at 05:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

April 15, 2006

Firefox no more.

I know many people out there like Firefox as a browser. But I’m getting ready to delete it and scrub my hard drive of any ruminants of it actually being installed on my system. There are some things I like to do on the internet that I can’t see to get to run on Firefox, their support are sucks the sweat off of donkey balls.

My latest complaint is that I need to get something to run on my computer for work, it requires me to install activex on my browser. When I try to do that, Firefox gives me a message that “Software installation is currently disabled. Click Edit Options… to enable it and try again.” Yes that is the complete message. When I click edit options there is no farking option to enable software installation.

Their website gives the following wildly cryptic answer:

How do I enable software installation?
Software installation is enabled by default. In Firefox versions 1.0.7 and earlier (and Thunderbird) there is a preference in the options menu to enable or disable software installation.

In Firefox 1.5 this preference still exists, but it is now accessed through about:config. Find xpinstall.enabled and set it to true by double clicking on it or by right clicking and choosing reset.

If this doesn't enable software installation, or you need more information, please seek support for the program you're trying to install extensions to.

Yes, I have version 1.5 (foolishly I upgraded this POS) Well I’m not sure what the heck they’re talking about in the highlighted section, but it doesn’t match anything on my browser. I don’t have time to fark around with this program anymore it’s already wasted 2 hours of my life. I’m switching back to IE, it might have security issues, but at least it’s more user friendly.

Posted by Contagion at 12:08 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 09, 2006

Why I don't use UPS

If UPS leaves a package on you front porch, and it doesn’t belong to you, can you keep it? I’m just wondering because that’s what happened tonight. We got home to find a package sitting on our front porch. Now some of you may not remember the saga I had with UPS where they kept leaving packages on my front porch (that were meant for me) after I had a “signature required” placed on all packages delivered to this address. When I saw that box on the front porch, I about blew my top. Fortunately Ktreva noticed that the package was addressed for another house on the block, before I started making phone calls.

Don’t get me wrong; I called UPS anyway to advise them of their problem. The supervisor who called me back just didn’t seem to care that they delivered it to the wrong house. She didn’t seem to care one bit. In fact she was making excuses as that the reason the guy left it was because there was a different address on the box. If it had my address on it, he wouldn’t have left it there. The whole time she was explaining this to me, I could feel an aneurysm starting. Where in the hell was she coming from with this? How is the fact that they delivered a package to the wrong address better then them leaving a package for me on my porch without a signature?!?!?!

She told me she was going to send a driver out tomorrow to come pick up the package and deliver it. What?! First off they should have sent someone out tonight, they made the mistake, they should correct it that day. I told her that I would deliver the package to the neighbor, as it was just stupid for them to send a driver out to deliver the package for someone that lives on the same block. Then I told her that they, UPS, are lucky that they delivered it to the house of someone as honest as me. There are many people in this world that would have kept the package and not told anyone. She didn’t seem to see what the big deal was.

When I delivered the package to my neighbor, she was pissed. She said that she had been waiting for it all day and had called twice because the tracking number had said it was delivered on the website. That’s right folks, it showed delivered and she didn’t have it. Needless to say I told her the story and she became rather heated. I’m suspecting that UPS is getting another call about this.

I just don’t get it people, but this is why I don’t use UPS for shipping. UPS Sucks!

Posted by Contagion at 05:22 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 16, 2005

Contagion VS Dealership Part 2

After yesterday’s fiasco with the dealership, I brought Janine back to them to fix the door. My wife decided to come with to help keep me in check. She has seen me blow up in the past and thought maybe I might need the extra voice of reason today. My wife is smart.

As we pull in Ktreva spots the salesman that sold us Janine and her van. He comes over to say hello and to see how things are going. The first words out of my mouth are, “Andrew, I’m having issue with your service department, AGAIN.” He asks me to wait and he runs to get the Operations Director, Tim. Tim introduces himself and asks how I can help him.

Tim learned a valuable lesson today. Do start a conversation with an open-ended question to a customer you have been warned that is extremely unhappy. You could see the flood of information wash over him. He was swept away in the torrent of displeasure. After I finished my 10-minute dissertation that ended with the statement, “I love your sales department, Andrew is the best. But I will never buy another vehicle from this dealership because of the service department. I’ve contacted General Motors to find the next closest dealership that does warranty work, after my truck is correctly finished I will NOT step foot into this dealership again. I’m also making sure that everyone I meet knows about the problems I’ve had.”

My voice never reached the level of yelling. It didn’t need to. Being a re-enactor, I’ve learned to speak from my diaphragm so that my voice projects clearly. Everyone in that service area knew exactly what had happened and how displeased I was. Other customers were looking at my out of the corner of their eyes. Tim says to me, “Let me look into everything and give us a second chance to make everything right.” Much to his shock my response was, “This was your second chance.”

He walked over to Janine to check out the door. When he walked over to the door, he immediately noticed that it wasn’t sitting properly when closed. It wasn’t lining up with the rear door/front quarter panel. Plus when he opened it, it creaked again! He called over the Service Advisor, Joe, to look at it and he pointed out the problem. This actually gives me some hope that they will fix it correctly this time. I’m not going to hold my breath though.

When I called yesterday, I was told they would have a rental car waiting for me when I arrived. Since I went on my lunch break, and my wife was with me, we had a limited time to get in and out. Well to make matters worse for Tim, the enterprise rental people had left and there was no car waiting for me. They called and paged the guy for 30 minutes and he still hadn’t shown up. My wife was late back from lunch, so she called her supervisor to warn her. I’m salary so if I take a longer lunch, that’s okay. Finally, they asked if they could just drive us to work and have Enterprise drop off a vehicle. Since Ktreva was late, I said yes.

After getting to work, I have a call from the Enterprise rent-a-car agent. They are going to pick me up after work and get me the vehicle. All I know is that I’m getting a GM product. It had better not be a Chevy Aveo.

Posted by Contagion at 04:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

November 15, 2005

I Hate Lou Bachrodt Automall.

UPDATE 05/18/06: Since the time of the below written post I have had to take my vehicles back for other repairs. Things have improved, and I no longer have the same issues with this company. See the updated review here.

Orriginal Post:

For those of you that have been around a while, you all know how much I love my truck. When I first bought Janine, I shared with you part of the story as to how I was able to swing the cost of this truck. It all had to do with the Lou Bachrodt Chevy dealership in Rockford Illinois. Their service department sucks in ways most foul. In March of 2004, my wife was involved in an accident. The Chevy Venture we had just bought 7 months earlier looked like it was totaled. BTW, if you are curious as to what a Chevy Venture will do to a Ford Focus, let’s just say that the focus loses with injuries and the Venture my wife walked away from with out a mark. The accident was an off-centered head on.

This incident started the whole ordeal with the service department. The fixed it, we were able to pick it up in late May. When we went to get it, there were problems so we left it for them to correct. They did and a couple of days later we were happy to have our van back. After a couple of days, the ABS lights started coming on. We took it back, they said there was a problem with the assembly and replaced it. We were fine for a couple of weeks when the front wheel started making a funny knocking sound that you could feel through the floor board. We took it back they said one of the supports was bad and they replaced it. A couple of weeks later the brakes are grinding. We take it back. They say the pads and rotors are bad and need replacing. Fine, this was on one of the font wheels that needed replacing in the accident I thought. I pay for new rotors and pads. A month later, the brakes are grinding again. I take it back, and AGAIN they say the pads are bad. Every time we took it back between April and August, they would bill additional to our insurance. Why? They where the ones that didn’t do it right the first time. When our insurance stopped paying, they tried to bill us. That was when I got involved with the billing process. Fortunately, my insurance’s legal department became involved and resolved the issue.

After explaining that they where just replaced, they said sometimes that happens and replaced them for free. A couple of months later the van starts making a funny knocking sound from the front passenger side. We take the van in and drop it off early in the morning. I call them to see what is going on around 1:30PM and they ask me when I’m dropping it off. To say I was a bit annoyed that they lost my vehicle would be an understatement. They find it and say they can’t get it to make the sound when I go back that evening.

A couple of days later the sound is worse. I make an appointment and drop it off. By 9 AM, they call me to say they can’t hear the noise, can I come and see if I can get it to make it. I leave work to go show them how to check for a noise. Upon arrival, I am greeted by my service adviser and a technician. We climb into the van and go for a drive. We aren’t out of the parking lot when I hear the noise, I turn to the tech and say, and “You do hear that right?” He apologizes for bringing me down; he doesn’t know how he missed it. Later that day I’m told the front passenger brake assembly is bad and needed replacing… Wait, wasn’t that just replaced a couple of months earlier? As well with new rotors and pads? YES IT WAS! But they did it for free… So I was okay. It was this time that I noticed they where having a sale on trucks. This got me to thinking that maybe it was time for me to get a new vehicle.

We get the van home and you’ll never guess what. The same noise is there! We call the dealership and tell them we will be dropping the vehicle off on Friday. I’ve finally hit that more then slightly annoyed stage. When I called, I told them that I would be dropping the vehicle off BEFORE 7 AM, as I had to be to work by 7AM. I was told by the same service advisor I had used the three previous visits, Gus Santa Olalla, that he would take care of it. When I dropped off the van, I saw all the trucks there and decided I was going to buy one that day when I picked up the van. When I got to work, I called the sales guy I liked and told him I wanted to buy a vehicle, and set up an appointment with him.

When I hadn’t heard from Gus by 2:00 PM I thought I should call to see what was going on. When I called, he said he was waiting for me to drop off the vehicle. Now I finally lost control of my anger. I explained that I had again dropped it off early that morning. When Ktreva and I had gotten there at 4:00 they had the van in the service bay, and you could tell it had not been looked at. When I went to address my concerns, with my loosely composed self, Gus seemed not to care. He was busy focusing on other issues and customers paper work and just nodding. He didn’t even look at me while I was talking. Finally, I said to him, “Do you just not care about my concerns?” He became defensive, saying he was paying attention and tried to paraphrase what I had said. At this point, I didn’t care; it was the straw that broke the camels back. I told him that I did NOT want his people working on my vehicle anymore and that I will take it somewhere else. I collected the keys and walked into the showroom to tell my sales guy that I no longer was interested in buying a vehicle from his company.

When I tell him why, he asks me to hold on and talk to the GM. That is exactly what I did. After explaining everything the GM said he was sorry, he didn’t want to loose me as a customer and let him look into it while I look at the trucks. He said he would make me a good deal, and he did. It’s amazing how much anger a $12,000 discount cures. Now I didn’t put this in my original tale, but the day I bought it they told me I could take it home that night. I had told them I did not want their service department touching my truck. After the paperwork was done and I was waiting with the GM, a VP and the Financing Manager the Service manager comes in and tells me he can’t let me have it that night. Since it was April 1st, everyone thought he was joking.

Nope while washing the truck, one of his guys slipped and broke the driver side mirror off. It was going to take at least three days to order the part. The GM said he would take a mirror off another truck and put it on mine. (I have the fancy electric expand/retract mirrors for towing) I would be able to pick it up the next day by noon. True to their word, they called me at 10:30 and the truck was ready. They had called in some mechanics on their day off to fix it.

That was seven months ago. Why am I telling you this now? Well the dealership is up to old tricks. I took my truck in because the door wouldn’t open/close properly. They told me it was a simple fix; it probably was just the striker. I told them I didn’t think so, but they insisted. I left Janine with them this morning. When I went to pick her up at 3:30, I was apprehensive. They called and told me it was just the striker that needed adjusting. Fine, but I didn’t think that was going to do it. When I get there, sure enough the door opened and closed just fine. I thought maybe they fixed it, so after initially refusing to sign for it until I had a chance to inspect the vehicle; I went back and signed the paperwork. It didn’t cost me a dime.

All was well until I hit the road. Now it sounds like I’m driving around with my door ajar. Do you know that whistling sound you get when the door isn’t shut all the way or if you have, the window cracked open? That is what it sounds like, I rolled up and down the window a couple of times, and then I opened and shut the door a couple of times. Nope, it sounds open. So now, I have to take it back. I’m having horrible flash backs to the van problems. How many times am I going to have to take my truck back to get it fixed? If it weren’t for the fact it was warranty work I’d take it elsewhere. The problem is that all the GM dealers in Rockford that would do it, are owned by the same company.

Oh, and to make matters worse, they lied to me about the problem. I have the invoice in front of me of what they did. They replaced, completely, the striker AND latch assembly. There is a “charge” for a special order. Since it is warranty work, that means either they are milking General Motors or they really did and pulled it from another vehicle and have to replace that one.

Tomorrow on my lunch, I have to take my truck back and let them work on it again. They had better prey on all that is good and holy in the world they fix it right tomorrow. If they don’t, I’m not sure what kind of unholy hell I will raise.

Posted by Contagion at 07:08 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack