Monday, January 19, 2009

Something Wickedly Slow This Way Comes

I got a new battery for my car today. When I tried to go to work, it cranked very slowly then stopped entirely. I noticed it was cranking a little slower than usual for the past few weeks but I ignored that since we were having a cold snap. Having replaced the starter less than a year ago and seeing plenty of charge on the ammeter recently, I immediately assumed battery. I checked how old the battery was. I installed it on Jennifer Brezinski's 29th birthday.

For those of you that don't track time the way I do, that would have been August 28, 2004. For those of you who don't know Jennifer, let me just say that I haven't seen her for over 11 years and I still think of her fondly. And often. Very nice, very hot and very tall.

So we're calling the battery 4 1/2 years old. That's old enough so I headed over to Sears to get a Die Hard. I selected the appropriate battery and was ready to install it myself until the guy said they would install it for $12.95. Paying a trivial amount or having to change it in an unheated garage in Minnesota in winter and have to return the core. Easy decision. But what happened wasn't so easy to swallow.

The guy said it might not get wheeled in for half an hour. Fine - it was actually about 25 minutes. Not a problem - it's a 15 minute job. 55 minutes later the guy up front went to see what was taking so long. The car suddenly appeared at the front door. After a few minutes to settle the bill, I hopped in the car and drove away just as the 1:00 news started. I wasn't upset because I was still ahead compared to doing it myself, but not as much as I would have liked. I was at the shop for 105 minutes all told.

As I was approaching home, I realized the clock was wrong. Duh, it started from 12:00 when the second battery cable was attached. The clock read 12:37. I was about four minutes from the shop, which means the power was restored about 30 minutes prior to when it was wheeled out front. If you figure it's five minutes to complete the job after you get to the point where you attach the battery cables, the question becomes, "What happened in the 25 minutes after he finished the job?" Did the guy go to lunch or something? That's 25 minutes I didn't have to be hanging around.

This was my first time using Sears Automotive - Ridgedale. I'm not sure I'll go back or not. If I dropped the car off next time, their lack of promptness wouldn't be an issue, so we'll see. The battery looks good, but for a one-hour battery change, I would've expected to get it washed or tires rotated or something.

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