I’m pretty good at spending money. I’m a great shopper. I can find bargains all over and tend to get great value for the money I spend. In other words, I’m cheap.

Some things are just more fun to buy. Last week I bought new clothes. That’s fun! Each time I wear a new article of clothing, it is fun all over again. Each time I wear the same article of clothing but matched with different accessories or garments, it’s fun all over again.

Some things aren’t so fun. Spending money for health care is really not very fun. I’m still here and still in the same overall state of health no matter what I spend. It’s really hard to show off my new blood work results or even worse, a new filling. I have no idea what someone having a hemorrhoid operation would do. It just wouldn’t be  pretty.

Another thing, right in line with doctor bills is car care bills. I loathe buying new tires. All I can think of is all the other fun things I could be purchasing with the hundreds of dollars spent on four new tires. I understand the need for tires with tread and all, but it is such an unglamorous way to spend cash.

Dick has always been conscientious about getting the cars serviced. They regularly get new oil and lamentably, new tires. He washes them and waxes them and puts special stuff on the windows. We always have nice windshield wiper blades and all fluids are filled. The cars are immaculate inside and out. He babies the cars.

My sister had an old car. She wasn’t even sure she would take it to Arizona with her when she moved. But she opted to see if she could squeak a few more years out of the old thing.

S&S Auto Repair

In Arizona, she found a wonderful mechanic. Bob would take great care of her car and help her squeeze as much use out of it as possible. He was a reliable person and didn’t take advantage of a woman trying to eke out some time with an old car.

But it was an old car and needed stuff to keep it working. Bob put in a new oil pan (I think that’s what it was). Because it was an old car, the parts weren’t readily available. But Bob was told that this part was the part he needed to make it all work and that was from a registered dealer so why not believe the person? Bob did and fixed the car. It was working great.

Arizona is a huge state, geographically. It is a smaller state population wise. Everything is a great distance from everything else. We went from the middle of the state, Phoenix, to the bottom of the state, Bisbee. It was about four hours away, or then entire length of the state of Ohio, traveling back and forth.

When we got to Bisbee, the oil was spraying all over. Luckily, Mark was able to help us decipher what was wrong and ameliorate it. He added more oil. Unfortunately, the car kept leaking oil.

We were going to go to Tombstone, but took a wrong turn. Instead, we opted to visit a beautiful area and check the car’s oil situation. It wasn’t good. We were just a few miles from a city now – thanks to our wrong turn. Serendipity. Fate. Mom watching out for us. Something. We weren’t going to be stranded in the desert at any rate.

We barely made it to the city limits and pulled into a car dealership parking lot. It was Sunday so they were closed. They were next to a gas station. Mark got more oil and it drained out almost as fast as we could put it in. We got the car to Wal-Mart, less than two miles away – but just barely. Wal-Mart automotive could tell us what was wrong, but they couldn’t fix it for us. We needed a tow.

We were about 200 miles from home. My AAA card got us 100 free miles of tow, but the rest had to be paid for. In South Carolina the fee is $3/mile. In Arizona, it is $5/mile.

During the two days included in this fiasco, we had spoken to Bob several times. He was always concerned, apologetic, and willing to help however he could. The car was towed to his shop. We managed to get home since Cathy brought her car along just in case.

Bob fixed the car for us. He paid the tow for us. He cleaned the car for us. He was so sorry for our fright and inconvenience. He was wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. It wasn’t his fault he was given bad information. But it surely wasn’t our fault, either. He did what he could to make it all better for us. And he DID make it all better.

Friday, January 14, 2011 we got the oil changed at Jiffy Lube here in Summerville, South Carolina. On Sunday, January 16, 2011, we took the car to Hilton Head Island to visit the kids. We were supposed to help Craig and Dayna with some moving. However, when we got to Hilton Head, the car smelled like fire. There was a sheen of oil all over the back of it.

It was once again Sunday and once again Wal-Mart automotive came to the rescue. We were told that the gasket in the oil filter wasn’t seated properly and so it blew and without a seal, all the oil was spewing out under pressure. We were 2.5 quarts low. They fixed it for us.

The next day, January 17, Dick took the papers to Jiffy Lube. The guy at the place said he couldn’t do anything but here was the district manager’s number. Dick filled out an incident report. Nothing happened. The manager was to call either Monday or Tuesday. Nothing happened.

We waited a week. Nothing happened. We waited two weeks. Nothing happened. I stopped there today. More than two weeks after the initial complaint. The guy at the store couldn’t do anything. I said I would stand there and wait. I never even raised my voice – yet. He mentioned he could call the police. I said he surely could and to go ahead. He didn’t. He did finally call the district manager and talked to her. Although not in front of me. He walked away and it was all top secret stuff.

He gave me her card with a number that I called from the parking lot. I got an answering machine. I got home and called again and got an answering machine. I called the national Jiffy Lube number from online. They said they didn’t own the franchise but would send a message to Alethia Daniels and she would have 48-72 hours to call me back. If I don’t hear from her, I have a case number and can call back.

No one knows what my economic status is. I know they owe me $58.85 (we have some special sort of oil in this car) for the second oil change in a three days. If this was money I needed for groceries, I would have starved to death while waiting for them to do something.

I would like to let you all know that going to a chain automotive place may not be in your best interest. Bob has helped Pam and was honest and forthright about what he could and couldn’t do. He was wonderful in our crisis.

Jiffy Lube has been stonewalling and totally unhelpful. They are making me less thrilled by the nanosecond.

I need a Bob here. I will find one.