I thought the following was an interesting anecdote from an article on Amazon’s recent promotion with their price-checking application. It is worth checking out the comments on this article as well. Generally I am not a fan of brick and mortar stores. I will still go for things like clothing and shoes. I also must concede that sometimes you need something the same day or you really want that gadget that just came out. I can attest to the pain of waiting for UPS to deliver my iPhone 4S while my friends had already retrieved theirs from the Apple or at&t stores.
Statements like this will no doubt make us all seem, to Amazon devotees, like a bunch of privileged, holier-than-thou ingrates. Privileged Iâ€™ll grant them. But as we swapped e-mails it quickly became clear that the real source of our collective dismay was actually gratitude, not ingratitude. On my first book tour I was invited to Barbaraâ€™s Bookstore in Chicago. The employees optimistically set up seven folding chairs, then occupied those chairs themselves when nobody showed up for the reading.
via Amazonâ€™s Jungle Logic - NYTimes.com.
After talking to him on the phone I returned to Gengras Volvo to talk with the service manager, John Jeffries. After showing him the problem that I identified with the car he agreed that it should have been caught and that the work they recommended was not necessarily appropriate to my problem. While John may or may not have been obligated to do right by me, he offered to fix some of the other things that they noticed were wrong with my car. At the end of the day I will never know how the tech missed the problem of the hose but to me, symbolically, it makes a huge difference when a business tries to do right when they screw up. Kudos to them for making the effort.
For the past few weeks I’ve been dealing with trouble with my 2002 Volvo S60. I love the car and bought/inherited it from my Uncle about a year ago. However its recently been giving me a rough idle and more disturbingly stalled a few times. I took it to my dealer (Gengras Volvo) and they suggested a fix the oil trap, fuel filter, and freeze plugs. The total bill was $1030! Not cheap for a law student. The next day I was driving home and the car stalled out when I was turning into my driveway. Not a good sign.
Luckily I am somewhat savvy and conducted my own research. After sifting through a multitude of Internet posts I think the culprit may be a part called the Electronic Throttle Module. Online forums suggest many people are having trouble with this part and that there was a recall campaign. This seems like some important information that the dealer should have mentioned to me when I was having the work done. However the only two indications that this would be the issue was a small line on the invoice stating that they tested the ECM and it was okay, and a suggestion that the throttle body get cleaned. As an informed consumer I would feel more comfortable with the service if the shop/technician explained more thoroughly in the outtake documents what was found and what work was done. The documents should indicate why the technician thought certain things are more likely the culprit than others. As a computer consultant this is not difficult to articulate and so I do not think it should be hard for a car repair to shop to do it as well.
Oh well, the throttle body cleaning that the dealer suggested I pony up $160 for is easily done at home. I will also be able to test for the wear that is indicative of the failing module and maybe even get a warranty replacement if I find it to be broken. Unfortunately this requires much more pain and proactivity on my part than I believe should be required. Maybe if we paid auto shops to keep our cars working instead of to fix them, the dynamics would change here.
Dear Wethersfield Friends,
This may be the first election where I do not vote for every Democrat on the ballot. While I am still a proud Democrat, I have been inspired by the courage of two strong women. That is why I am asking you to join me tomorrow in voting for Mary Beth Maluccio and Maria Kokinis-Tougas, candidates of A Wethersfield Party, for Board of Education.
Their bravery began over a year ago when they decided to reach across party lines and work with the Republican members of the Board of Education on the issues facing our schools. While the members of the United States Senate were fighting over issues like healthcare reform, the members of the Wethersfield Board of Education worked together to rebuild the school administration. When the United States Congress spent months failing to agree on how to tackle our national debt, the members of the Board of Education worked together to rebuild the work of the Board committees where members could develop expertise and focus on specific issues. They set an example that put our leaders in Washington to shame.
Yet working together came at a political cost. When it came time for Mary Beth and Maria to be nominated for re-election their party abandoned them. They could have chosen the easy way out; they could have walked away and let someone else do their jobs. Instead they took the bold step of forming their own election committee and appealing directly to the voters. They held meet-and-greets and walked door-to-door to listen to the voices of the people. They pounded the pavement over the past few months because they worked so hard to put the schools on a promising path and they know their work is not done.
That bold leadership of navigating the Board through an ethics scandal, rebuilding the central office, and working together to tackle the problems facing our school system is the kind of leadership we need if our schools are to prosper. I trust Mary Beth and Maria because I know they are intelligent, thorough, and unafraid to ask the tough questions. If you care about the future of our town and our schools, then tomorrow, please join me in voting for these two strong women for Board of Education.