Saturday, January 9, 2010

Tough Economic Times Require ...

Ingenuity. And if you're a Midas Auto Service Center franchisee, one way to control your bottom line is to charge customers for work not done. If only John Maynard had thought of this though there is some who allege that Bernie Madoff did.

The fluid analysis done by Elk Grove Volkswagen (a cheer here for the good guys) reveals that the brown gel-like fluid in the cooling system was, in fact, probably the original coolant as Midas never changed it nor flushed the system, as they charged and were paid for. On the bright side, the investigator for the Bureau of Automotive Repair, who was not amused, opined that Midas was "in trouble".

So remember folks, the entreprenurial spirit is alive in America so be watchful that you are not fodder for some creative shop owner.

Oh, by the way, I do strongly suggest that you simply drive by Midas Auto Service Centers. I have it on good authority from B.A.R. that Midas cannot change your oil or coolant if you don't stop in.

Monday, December 28, 2009

As Near As We Can Tell, It's Magic ...

Consider this a sequel to the preceding post. The chemistry wizards associated with Midas Auto Care have determined that the sample provided is simply "rust" and cannot be evaporated auto coolant. Why? Because auto coolant does "not evaporate except under extreme heat". This is why the coolant you spill on your driveway never evaporates. Oh? It did? Well, it must have happend during a lunar eclipse when the sun passed between the Earth and the Moon.

Yes, the stand up guys at Midas have concluded that their technicians did nothing wrong, that the breakdown of the cooling system had to have occurred by magic. I, apparently, angered a sorcerer who changed my coolant into a coffee colored gel just for grins.

So, just for grins, I've filed a B.A.R. complaint against Midas which will, in all probability, be the precursor to a legal action.

And so, just for grins, I ask that none of you patronize Midas Auto Care again. As their income drops, I can report that, "whoa, it must be magic."

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The colors of the rainbow

While there are vast numbers of things I don't know about automobiles, some that I do know are that automobiles a) are complex, b) have specific requirements, and c) need/demand occasional service.

Thus in late September, I took my vehicle, a Volkswagen Passat, to Midas for an oil change. Shortly after arrival, while waiting, I was advised that my cooling system needed flushing because its fluids were weak and there was "stuff" floating in it. What do I know? "Okay." And one hour later, $146 poorer, I take my car from Midas.

Scene shifts two months later. I take my car to the Volkswagen dealership for alignment. Why you might ask? Because they had a true service special. No, honest!

Shortly after arrival, while waiting, I was advised to come look at my cooling system. The service manager and technician pointed at brown stuff gelling in my coolant reservoir. "This is bad" they opine. "How bad?" I ask. "It isn't supposed to be brown", I'm told.

That morning I learned that automotive coolants come in colors; some green, some red, some blue and some, VW, even pink. I also learn that one should never, EVER mix them or very bad, very expensive things happen.

Two days and $3200 later, I pick up my vehicle and I call Midas. "Say, guys, do you recall what coolant you put into my car?" "Well," says the Midas technician, "it doesn't show on your invoice (I knew that) but I'm sure it was appropriate for your car." Gosh, if that doesn't give you confidence, what will?

Armed with research, some my own, some provided by the VW dealership, I again approach Midas. This time I speak with the regional manager: "Wow, if we're at fault, we'll pay for it." I'm stunned. "But it doesn't look like we are. We put in VW coolant so we don't know what happened." Well, boys and girls, I take a sample of the brown goo to Midas, directly from VW, and they say, sheepishly, "wow, that looks bad. But we need to send it to a lab."

And I think, "why? to bring it back to life?"

So, Midas can either be standup guys, admit their mistake and pay for the repair costs or ...

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You Heard It Here First ...

Today's Sacramento Bee ran an article which confirmed what I had merely assumed. It reported that 39% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 had been tattooed. Personally, I believe the number higher but that, as you'll see, will only increase the profit margin.

Inexorably, these same folks will become older. As they age, and probably not gracefully, the bulging biceps now ringed by barbed wire will look like a young tree branch circled by a blue ribbon. Similarly, those dragons now posing menacingly on shoulders will take on the characteristics of geccos looking for bugs amidst the graying hair.

The solution? And this is all "patent pending": leeches!

As all know, or now will, leeches are used medicinally for micro surgery, especially burn victims where it is necessary to remove clots or blockages to the blood flow, enabling the new, healthy skin to grow.

These same blood sucking leeches, under a process now being patented and protected, will be trained to suck .... ink! Imagine, you realize that tattoo is passe' and go to a Leeches R Us franchise (more later) where you sit comfortably as the little critters move about absorbing that ink you paid so much for years ago. And, using scientific technology, the leeches will be increased in size so that advertising space will arise on their backs. So, as the customer sits there looking at the creature moving about, he or she will be subliminally motivated to buy products.

Did you know that leeches live for ten years? That they can go a year without feeding! The only thing standing between you and riches is your failure to invest now in Leeches R Us (pat. pend.) For a nominal investment (estimated at $50,000) you'll receive your own breed stock for your own leech herd. A couple of leech cowboys to handle the stock and you're on your way to riches: tens, hundreds and even tens of dollars!

More to come!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fall already?

Well, that was quick. Summer I mean. It seems like May melded into June and then, whoosh, late August and now September.

Summer has been work, check up on the baby, dentist visits and finally Eastern Tour 2009 which went far differently from expected. The Tuesday prior to our departure, my friend in Connecticut was driving home from work at 4:00 p.m. when a 17 year old driver, approaching from the other direction on the two lane road, "fell asleep" and drove into his car, resulting in the destruction of his right ankle. Now, three surgeries later, it looks like all will be well.

The baby appears headed for a career in gymnastics, moving and turning. Or at least that's what I'm told since I've yet to truly feel it. The GEG swears it's moving but when I put a hand on, zip. Nada. Nothing.

The summer has also yielded two unexpected bonuses: I've found two missing high school, junior high school friends. One via the internet (who knew he'd have a website) and the other through, duh, Facebook. If you're interested in peaceful, attractive art, check out

Lastly, how about those Yankees? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Aha! A pun!

Sure, the economy continues to collapse, military adventures continue, Michael Jackson has departed and the Yankee offseason expenditures have yet to yield results BUT humor is alive and well.

A customer returned a DVD episode of
Midsomer Murders, a British series featuring the, so described, unflappable Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy in pursuit of crime and miscreants, solving ... duh .... murders. The customer noted that the disc was badly scratched and added "ending is still a mystery".

Our future remains bright.