Friday, June 25, 2010

Magic Keys to Satisfaction

I've had my Subaru Forester since February and have enjoyed it quite a bit--particularly its allowing-me-to-traverse-my-icy-hilly-blind-curve-filled-neighborhood-in-the-winter feature. It's a nice roomy car that can haul lots of stuff, such as heavy, enormous dogs and is plenty comfy. It also came factory-equipped with an Oh Shit-handle above the driver’s side door, which is an innovation that gives me far more comfort than any unseen airbag ever could. One of the only drawbacks to my ownership of it, though, is that since February I have only had one key for it.

When we purchased the car, four months back, we were given two key fobs and one actual key. We were told at the time that the previous owners of the car had not returned both of the keys, but were assured by our salesman—let's call him Stan—that he would be in touch with the previous owners shortly and they would return the second key within a very short period of time. Having two keys for our vehicles is pretty important in my family, as I'm married to a kind and wonderful lady who has been known on more than one occasion to lock herself out of her own vehicle. The two key fobs would certainly help in unlocking the car in such a time of need, but the wife doesn't even carry her own fob, let alone be willing to carry mine. Hell, I only started carrying mine after a series of embarrassing incidents involving the Subaru's tendency to blast the horn in alarm whenever the door is unlocked using the actual key alone. There is a way to tell it to stop doing that, but you have to tell it every single time and I can never remember the steps, so I just carry the fob.

Jump ahead to late April. We happened to be driving by the dealership, which prompted the wife to inquire if her key had ever arrived. It had not, so we stopped and I went in to ask Stan about it. I had to reintroduce myself and explain the lack of a second key thing. At the time, though, he was in the middle of a sale and asked if I could call him back about it some other time. He said was sure he had it somewhere.

Jump ahead to June. I never heard from Stan, nor did I call him back as requested, mostly because I sensed that there was no way he actually had my other key and that getting a new one was going to be a tremendous hassle. Eventually, though, the topic of the key came up again when I had to borrow the wife’s car to haul a larger amount of stuff than my car could handle and we had to trade keys. I decided it was time to get this key business straightened out.

I returned to the dealership, found Stan, reintroduced myself and told him I was still in need of the second key. He wasn't in the middle of a sale this time, but another salesperson was and had commandeered his office for it. Stan assured me that he thought he had it in his desk somewhere, but couldn’t exactly get in there during a sale. He asked if I could return later in the day.

"Well, either today or tomorrow," I offered.

It was at this point that Stan should have piped up to alert me to the fact that the following day was his day off and that he would not be there. Stan, however, is a salesman and sends off similar vibes to a particular weaselly sales guy I once worked with in radio, who’s nickname was, in fact, The Weasel. This is not to say that I think Stan is a weasel, necessarily, but like many of his erminey ilk he's all about the sale and not doing anything to mess that up, such as telling people things they might not want to hear. Clearly, he did not want to be the bearer of bad news and instead chose to have me return two days later pissed off. Come to think of it, that's pretty weaselly. So let’s put another check on the Shitfer Weasel Chart for Stan.

So after returning on his day off to find Stan absent and his even more openly weasel-like fellow salesman unwilling to help me for fear of screwing up something Stan might conceivably have in the works, I returned again two days later. I was determined that while I would not be openly hostile, I would also do nothing to disguise my annoyance with all involved.

Stan saw me coming, perhaps noted my expression, and immediately put down his pizza to go riffle in his desk before I could even open the door. Spouting apologies, he began pulling fistfuls of key fobs out of the desk in his search, looked in all the drawers, looked in his filing cabinet, and made more nervous small talk. Failing to find any Subaru keys, he apologized again and then disappeared into the depths of this particular building of the dealership complex for a full ten minutes, leaving me to watch his more weaselly-looking fellow sales guy slink around in an attempt to look busy.

Stan eventually returned to announce that he’d spoken with someone with technical skills and they were even then printing instructions on how to program a "new one" for me. Soon enough, another fellow came out, instructions in hand and followed me out to my car. At his request, I handed him my keys and he had a seat behind my steering wheel. He was there for under a minute when he emerged, holding up my keys by the fob with one hand and a second fob in the other. The second fob was our extra fob that my wife had left in the car while driving it days before.

"Does this one work?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"And yours works?" he asked, shaking the fob on my key chain.

"Yeah," I said.

"Then why do you need another one?"

Inwardly I smiled.

"I don't," I said. "We already have two key fobs. What we don't have are two physical keys."

The technician looked confused for a moment. "You don't have two keys?" he asked.

"Nope," I said. "That's why I've been coming in here asking for a second key for the past several days."

Wow that was a massively satisfying thing to be able to say. In fact, it was worth all the hassle so far just to be able to say it in a perfectly pitched tone of calm, polite, righteous indignation.

The technician turned a cold eye in Stan's direction then stalked off toward the building, wadding up his instructions and pitching them at the nearest trash can upon entry. Stan looked sheepish in the illumination from my blazing righteousness, then offered that he felt like a huge idiot. I said not a word to dissuade him of this feeling.

Stan leaped into action to right his wrong. He piled into a golf cart and asked me to follow him down to another of the buildings in the complex. I was then led on a merry chase from building to building, eventually just joining Stan in the golf cart. At each stop, Stan was treated to having employee after employee explain that he was in the wrong department and would need to go talk to so and so over in such and such other department. Half an hour later I was still waiting for a key, but was at least standing in line in the correct department with the correct employee, who had only moments before sent Stan on yet another trek to locate a blank key for him to cut.
Upon Stan's return with the blank, he announced that he was going to head back up to his own building, since I didn't really need him there for the rest of the process. At first I was tempted to explain to him that I'd already invested far more of my afternoon—nay, my MONTH—in this little venture, all of which was due to his inability to follow up on assurances he'd made to us four months previously, and that until I had a working key in my hand he was just going to have to suck it up and waste some of his time, in addition to wasting mine. I almost said that. However, I'd long since decided that I didn't really like Stan very much, nor did I care to listen to any more of his uncomfortable attempts at small talk, which I sensed would likely turn to his default topic of sports. I told him to begone and he vanished in a puff of weasel-smelling brimstone.

The guy with the key-cutter soon produced a replica key for me, but explained that it wouldn’t actually work with my car until they cast a few spells on the magic chip embedded in it. The wizard for this was located in one of the previous departments we'd visited, back up the hill. I made the journey only to be told that the wizard in question had been sent on a quest and would be back in a sec. They advised me to go wait in the sun by the wizard's mystical garage bay. So I waited. And I waited. After ten minutes and half a sunburn, I went back up to the desk to inquire if the wizard had been alerted to my presence.

“He’ll be back in just a minute, sir,” the man said.

I returned to the garage to find that the sorcerer’s apprentice had appeared and was working on another car. He asked who I was waiting for. I told him the wizard’s name. (Don’t say his name, it gives him power.)

The apprentice nodded, but said that the wizard's quest had involved taking a vehicle to one of the dealership’s other branches. He would, the apprentice assured me, be back. I did the math in my head, though, and knew that the branch in question was a good ten miles away. What choice did I have, though? I waited.

Eventually, the wizard did appear. He was heavily tattooed with arcane symbols, his skin baked further by the blazing sun above. He was also the least weaselly person I’d met the whole day. I found him instantly likable even beyond the fact that he held the power to set me free from my now hour plus trial.

The wizard asked what wish he could grant me. I gave him my magic keys. He then asked me to search my heart to determine whether I truly only wanted two keys, or if perhaps I might want more, because once he applied his magics on them no more keys could ever be produced. I told him I was true of heart in my desire for only the two. He then produced a flat brown creature—his familiar, I’m sure—and inserted my keys into its orifices. It squeaked as he massaged the scales on the creatures back. A few moments later, he passed my keys back into my grateful hands with a hearty "There you go, big guy."

I climbed into my vehicle and found that both of the keys worked as promised. I waved to the wizard and sped from the parking lot, not even bothering to return to the office of the wizard’s supervisor for fear he would pass me a bill for all their work, and I would be unable to restrain myself from calling down furious wrath upon one and all. So far, they haven’t called to tell me otherwise, though one of their minions did call and leave a message asking if my experience was satisfactory. I have yet to phone her back.

1 comment:

crsunlimited said...

BRAVO! This truly is a masterpiece nearly worthy of J.K. Rowlings. I loved it. This one did in fact elicit audible laughter from me, and thankfully no one was around at work today to hear it.