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Gary Lang Auto Group's Service Department and Chris Scholer

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Chris Scholer, Gary Lang Auto Group
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Gary Lang Auto Group's Service Department and Chris Scholer

Bill Crittenden
September 12, 2012

Last weekend, in typical Bill Crittenden fashion, I was actually enjoying life for a moment when life had to intervene.  I had picked up a bunch of old family mementos from my sister's house and was on my way back home (in my 2003 Pontiac Vibe, of course) when I put my window up...and it came up somewhat sideways and partially outside the window frame.

Uh, oh.

To keep the details on the window short, I discovered that the front bolt that holds the window to the regulator broke, and when the window came up sideways the clip on the window for the rear regulator bolt broke.  I took the window out of the car completely to prevent it shattering, as apparently had happened to other Vibe drivers.

The bolts had been recalled a few years ago, and in the disorganization that was my life back in 2008 I must have misplaced the notice.  Simple enough, open the door, replace some bolts and a clip, and be on my way.

Despite all the warnings I've heard against dealing with Gary Lang, I figured that I'm going in for a few small parts, and it's not as far out of my way as Reichert's.  What could go wrong?

So I get there on a Monday evening shortly after 6PM.  I speak with a service advisor, Chris Scholer.  He first tells me that the car hasn't been recalled, even without looking at the car or the computer.  How many service advisors do you know have the entire catalog of NHTSA's recalls of General Motors cars in their head?  But I was insistent, because I had seen the recall online myself, so he reluctantly went out to the car to get the VIN and seemed surprised that the recall was there.  He then said that he thought I said it was a Grand Am.  Really?  Vibe.  Grand Am?  They sound so much alike, don't they?  And wouldn't someone who has ALL the recalls memorized see my little station wagon and think, oh, a Vibe! Yeah, the window bolts were recalled 4 years ago...

Well, it turns out that it takes a lot of time to get to those little bolts, and they'd need the car overnight unless I could get it to them by 4PM, and even then I'd be waiting a while.  I have to get to work and back and pick up my son and there's no way I can get there on a normal day before 4.  I wanted to get it taken care of right away, since I had no driver door window in the car, so I asked to get the bolts and I could do it myself.

So Chris is going to print out a sheet for me to take to the parts desk to get the bolts, I just had to bring it back before 6PM when the parts department was open.  While we're waiting for the printout, I ask a few questions about getting that clip off of the window, and what kind of adhesive might work to get the new one back on.  There was no ambiguity, I had said I was going to do this in my driveway and he said to take the printout to the parts department and they'd get me the parts.  Simple enough, right?

I get back there the next day, and bring the sheet to the parts department.  The guy at the parts counter says it has to go through the service department.  I figure, okay, I just need to get Chris to come explain what's going on to the parts guy and I'll be on my way with the bolts and clip.

So I get to the service department, Chris was busy so another service writer explains to me that they're required to do the work at the dealership.  Huh...interesting...not what Chris had said the day before.  So Chris sees me and comes over and tells me that he wanted me to come back in so that we could check if the parts department had the parts available!  I could drop off my car with them and take a loaner home.  Well, why the fuck didn't we just do that the night before?!?!  I could have been picking my car up at that visit.  And why the fuck does he need me there with him to check the parts inventory?  Is he not grown up enough to handle it himself?

Or, basically, instead of using such a complicated modern device as a telephone and calling me the next day to let me know if it was worth my time to drive out there or not, he just figures I have nothing better to do than to drive around to check on their parts department.  Although at this point, I question his ability to use something as complicated as a telephone.

So I take my car home, and manage to take apart my door and wedge my window back into place so that I have the time to make an appointment to get it fixed...somewhere else.  If their service writers are that stupid, on top of all the warnings I've heard from friends and neighbors, I don't expect much else out of the rest of the organization.  Picking up parts is one thing, letting them into my car to work on it ain't gonna happen.  I wouldn't even trust that Chris guy to stock Hot Wheels at Walmart, he sure as hell has no business handling real cars and major repair issues, and if the guys up front dealing with the customers are that inept, what kind of asshattery is going on where the customers can't see?

Oh, and the total time to take one door apart and put the window back into place and put the door back together?  25 minutes, by a guy who has infrequently worked on cars in the last 13 years since tech school.  Add in a few minutes to gab at the parts counter guy, gawk at the girly calendar the Snap-On dealer left, replace the bolts in the passenger side door and drill out what was left of the bolt that had broken, and there's still no reason that should have taken more than a couple of hours for an experienced technician to do.

So, having bought myself some time, even though it now prevents me from hitting the Taco Bell drive-thru, I'll make an appointment at Reichert's.

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