Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thou Shalt Not Steal

"Jeep?" I questioned, more confused than annoyed as I peered at the lights on the dash but failed to hear the pleasant rumble of my motor that indicated I was ready for mobility. "Hello?" I asked and turned the key again, pressing on the accelerator for good measure.

Nothing happened. So I frowned and thought for a moment, coming up with absolutely no magical knowledge on fixing what ailed my vehicle and turning the key twice more before calling the dealer.

"It's not even paid for," I told them pitifully. "And I come in to get oil changed! Approximately when the little sticker on my windshield says! So why won't it work?!"

"I don't know," offered the service guy and I glared out at the parking lot before asking him for a tow truck. I had to call myself, thanking the woman when she said it'd be an hour to hour and a half, ending the call and slumping in the driver's seat before trying the key again and glaring at my adorable car.

Then I called my dad.

"It sounds like your battery," he offered, not unsympathetically. "It doesn't seem like it'd be bad so soon though."

"Can't they check?" I seethed. "When I take it to the stupid dealer for stupid service? You don't deserve new oil," I told the Jeep, growing furious that I was trapped. "I stopped for cat kibble and dog treats and tights so I was ready for my trip and you and Mom had pet supplies during your visit. And this is what happens! I get trapped at Target!"

After putting it in neutral and trying (nothing) and rolling down my windows (that worked fine), I settled in to wait in the mild afternoon, watching people come and go with carts and bags full of items. They came and went. Parked and returned to pull away.

Dad called again. Asking if the tow truck had arrived and wondering how I was going to get to the dealer.

"What?" I asked, confused. "I'll go with the car. In the tow truck."

"I don't know if they'll take you with it," he warned and I exclaimed that I was not staying at Target any longer than absolutely necessary!

After 20 minutes, my phone rang again.

"Hi, Dad," I sighed and listened while he said he'd found something online.

"This lady also had a 2008 Compass," he reported. "She went to one store and the car started then went to the next and everything lit up but it wouldn't start. And they said it had to do with the anti-theft system and the wireless control module."

"The Jeep - My Jeep - thinks I'm trying to steal it?" I clarified. "That's why I'm trapped here? Anti-theft protection?"

"Probably," Dad replied cheerfully. "But you didn't do anything. And they should fix it for free according to the website."

After another 30 minutes, I called the tow company again, reporting it had been 85 minutes. I thanked her again when she said it should be soon and emerged from my car to wave at the driver about 10 minutes later.

After asking permission, I did climb in his giant truck, turning in my seat to watch him efficiently load the Jeep on the raised bed and chain it securely. He climbed in and we set off, chatting about the towing business and wait times before finally arriving at the dealer. I watched an ambulance speed by and confessed that the only other times I'd been towed had been after totaling my cars. Twice. So this was actually better.

I walked in the service entrance, still texting Adam and Sibling about my unplanned afternoon, and told the guy that my Jeep was being placed over yonder. He nodded and I glared warningly and told him my dad had seen something online about the anti-theft systems and went to sit in a reasonably comfortable chair inside. I had warned him that I would not wait longer than 2 hours and would then need to borrow transportation or be given a ride.

After watching the news (does your NBC station play news all afternoon too?) and reading a Newsweek cover to cover, I grew impatient again, relieved when the service guy appeared to indicate it was the wireless control module. I briefly considered throwing a fit, decided it wasn't his fault and nodded when he said they'd soon have the dash put back together.

I called Dad and made his day by informing him of his wonderful knowledge gleaned online. I shook the service manager's hand several minutes later and walked out to my now-functional Jeep. It immediately started and we set off for home, some 5 hours after I'd planned.

On the way, my phone rang and I answered, expecting to hear Dad's voice yet again. Instead, it was Citibank.

"Do you have your card?" they asked and I confirmed that I did.

"We need you to verify some purchases," the representative continued.

"You're protecting my card from me," I clarified and after a moment she agreed. "Interesting," I sighed. "My car is also protecting itself from me too."

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