Friday, June 20, 2008

Nothing else in mind, so a commercial of sorts

It’s Friday again. They just seem to arrive faster and faster with each passing week. I suspect this Friday will be similar to all the other days this week. Dry. Come to think of it, I guess we did get a little moisture earlier this week. The weather forecasts all week long, including today, called for scattered showers with possible afternoon thunder showers. The weather person added the caveat that “. . . not all towns and cities will see anything at all.” I live in a caveat town. Except, as I said, we have had just a wee bit earlier this week.

It almost looks promising outside today to be in that area. As I write this, it is cloudy with some fog and there’s a feel to the air of some possible wetness. It’ll all depend on the direction of the wind. If it’s once again from the east and off the ocean, we’ll end up once again with mostly sunny skies as the rain hits areas to our north and east. We’ll see.

I had a pretty good car service experience this week and Prime Motors, specifically Prime Toyota, deserves some credit. I’ve owned my old Toyota ever since I bought it new in late 1999. The then owners sucked me in big time with lifetime oil/filter changes every five thousand miles or six months, whichever came first. When Ira Rosenberg bought out the dealership, he honored that deal.

As a result, Prime has been my prime source of auto care ever since I bought the car. I know all the stories about dealerships providing service, but in all those 9 years I’ve never been “taken” by going to Prime. I recall once, just before one of my wife’s and my long auto trips, I made an appointment for preventive service at Prime. I told the service writer that we were about to embark on a trip around the entire perimeter of the United States and I absolutely wanted no car surprises. In other words, he had a carte blanche to do anything needed to my car and could have run up one heckuva bill.

When I went back to pick up my car, there was no charge. All they had to do was change the oil and filter. I got a rather extensive report on various things in the car, all in good or excellent condition, all fluids up to snuff, etc., all for the price of my oil/filter change. If I hadn’t been sold on Prime before that, I certainly was now. We took the trip, but, of course, we did run into a problem which I had created. Out in Washington State the “check engine” light came on. I had never seen it before. With it glaring at me I finally decided in Corvallis, Oregon, to find a Toyota dealer. Like Prime, that dealership treated me fairly and honestly. It cost $20 for my light to be reset and I got a lecture about being sure I “clicked” my gas tank cover when I filled up.

Last November I got a coupon from Prime for a “free” state inspection. Free, sure! I wondered how much this free trip would cost me. November is my inspection month, so off I went to Prime. I didn’t need an oil change this trip, only the inspection. Off my car went to the service bay. I waited fingering my credit card. The car had its original tires, original exhaust system, and original brakes. A short time later the service guy appeared. “Here we go,” I thought. He said I was all set and handed me the keys. I drove out still with all that original equipment and a new inspection sticker. (I’ve noticed that since then Prime’s free inspections are only with some other service. But they’re up front about that.)

The original tires didn’t last long, though. A couple weeks later I was driving onto Tukey’s Bridge in Portland and found a cave in the road. This wasn’t just a little pothole; it was a full blown cave. The tire didn’t blow then and I continued on with my purpose. The next day, though, I found a bubble on that tire that I swear was bigger than the tire. I nursed the car to the tire place.

So this week, I had the experience of going to the new Prime Toyota place in Saco. I’ve never been in a dealership like it before. There’s a huge arrival/departure bay which is fully enclosed. There I was met by a greeter who checked why I was there and escorted me, all under cover, to a service writer. After the formalities were complete, I was given an explanation of what to expect when I headed into the dealership itself.

There was a huge customer waiting area complete with a beautiful TV, many comfortable individual chairs, a café (coffee and cookies were free), an enclosed children’s play area, and other amenities. I toured the spacious, new showroom which sported several fish aquariums, a pool table, and interesting notes on the “greenness” of the new dealership. There were some vehicles there, too. If you are looking for a new Toyota, the salespeople have golf carts to take you to the storage area to look over the choices.

I did find one flaw in the design. There was no water fountain. I complained to an employee who simply called Mr. Rosenberg. He came over to discuss my complaint with me and I’ll bet if I returned to the place in the next few days, there’ll be a water fountain there. Just like all his employees, he was pleasant, easy to talk with, and just a very nice person.

Golly. I told a friend this morning I had nothing to blog about today. I didn’t intend to end up writing a commercial for Prime Motors, but it is a dealership like no other I’ve visited since I bought my first car in 1953.

And now, the weekend is just about upon us.


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