Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hinky Lube Performance Art

Sometimes, cashiers do it to themselves.

I go to the Happy Lube, or whatever they call themselves. Quick lube and oil change, you pay big $$, but it's quick.

As I arrived, an employee came out to my car, eating spaghetti from a dirty bowl. He said, “What do you need?”

I told him I wanted an oil change. He curtly nodded, and pointed at Bay #2. No other words. This was rather odd, as this was NOT the way I usually get treated at Horny Lube. Formulaic courtesy is what I expect. Stepford employees. This guy was kind of cool. Like a Mickey Rooney character/mechanic in a World War II comedy about a motor pool. Cocky, crusty, but with a heart of gold. Or not, as it turned out.

Oil change is done; I go up to pay. The same Mickey Rooney guy starts to ring up the charges. I hand him my $10 coupon. He says, “just put it down there; I’ll get to it.” I did.

But he didn’t. Get to it, that is. He rang up the charge without the coupon. I didn’t notice, and gave him my credit card. After I signed, I noticed that there was no credit for the coupon.

When I pointed this out, he said, “Well, there’s really nothing I can do about it now. I already rang up the order. You should have said something.”

So, I turned and made a brief speech to the other customers: "What you have just seen would be a tragedy, in any other country. But in the U.S., it is okay. There many Puffy Lubes, and from now on we should all go to another one. Because this one is inhabited by thieves, and what you have witnessed here is theft." All the other customers tried to pretend they were watching Oprah. Which was hard, because the TV was tuned to local news.

Mickey became angry about my theft remark. He started saying in a loud voice that anyone could make mistakes, that I wasn’t perfect either…and so on. This was in front of other customers. By this time they weren't pretending to watch anything, except the worst employee in the history of the world. He was shouting at my back as I went out the door.

I wrote a letter to the manager, and sent it. He called two days later, laughing. "This is the best letter I've ever seen. What a story! Did he actually say, 'What do you need?'" Turns out he had fired Mickey as soon as he got the letter, since this was third or fourth major complaint he had gotten in THAT ONE DAY. This, mind you, had been his (the manager's) first day at the new job: Day one--Fire Mickey. One of the causes for firing was "Eating on the job." Who would eat while changing oil?

And, when the manager stopped laughing, he offered me a free oil change in compensation. I love Hippy Lube. And God bless America.

Kgrease, bringing equilibrium to employment markets everywhere.


Lenslinger said...

This is my first visit to your blog, but based solely on your hinky lube sage, I shall visit often from here on afterward. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

do you get off on getting people fired? are you an elitist pig or something?

you work like four hours a day teaching one hard can that be?

Anonymous said...

The guy needed to be fired. Maybe he will learn that rude customer service does have consequences.

Anonymous said...

If you look at what just happened, you will realize that punishing the man for his behavior was quite possible the best thing that he could do. Mickey will hopefully learn a lesson from this. Hopefully, he will become a better person because of it. If he does not, then, it's his loss.

Anonymous said...

Look at what happened. Munger wrote a letter to someone with authority. The person with the authority acted due in part to the letter. Makes one love America all the more. Or does it make one wonder why our government officials aren't more like the Hinky Lube manager?