Tipster Toland pointed us toward the Stonecipher Report which contains an entry about a weary traveler who, against his better judgment, decided to get his oil changed at Wal-Mart. After his car was returned, he noticed that his oil monitoring system was still indicating 10% oil life. He asked the Wal-Mart employee if the oil had actually been changed to which she replied, “Yep, I know it was, cause I did it myself.” He then went to go check the dipstick and discovered the oil hadn’t been changed after all. His post, inside…
Hey everyone, been on the road for two days now and I’m about to pull out of Idaho Falls, ID and head north and then east into Montana.
The drive has been beautiful so far. Eastern Oregon is incredible. I had driven through there in the past, but it was night time and I didn’t know what I was missing, but wow, one of the most colorful places I’ve ever been.
My travel was delayed a bit, however, when I stopped to get my oil changed, and I thought the story was worth passing along.
Now, I ordinarily avoid Wal-Mart like the plague, but I needed a change and I was about to hit a piece of road with no services for over 100 miles, so I figured I better get it done while I had the chance.
Sadly, the ONLY place in town to change my oil was at the local Wal-Mart. So as sick as it made my stomach, I pulled up and did it.
The girl (yes, not a woman) who took my information seemed friendly at first. She politely inquired about the full car load of stuff and said “you must be going somewhere cool.”
“Chicago” I said with a smile.
I handed her the keys to the car and stepped out. She told me it would be a 20-minute wait, so I grabbed the iPod and the paper I had and went into the waiting room.
By the way, the one thing I was happy about was that at least this oil change was going to be cheap. Under $25.
About 25 minutes later the girl came into the waiting room and told me the car was ready. I paid, took back my keys and jumped in, ready to hit the open road again.
But when I turned on my car the oil monitoring system said I was still at 10% of my oil’s life.
That was weird.
I got out of the car and asked the girl if she was sure that the oil change had in fact been done. She said “Yep, I know it was, cause I did it myself.”
“Can you explain why my car is telling me it hasn’t been?”
“Well we don’t reset the meter in any of those Japanese cars” was her response.
I thought maybe she was right. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if this was something that had to be reset myself or if the car automatically did it upon an oil change.
The only way to find out was to check for myself. So I headed back to the car, popped the hood, and stuck in the dipstick.
Sure enough, it was almost empty.
Unreal. They had just charged me $24 and told me they had changed the oil, but it was never done! They knew they were the only place for miles and miles, this could cause serious problems for people without the monitoring system to alert them it wasn’t done.
If it wasn’t for that I never would have thought to double check. In the future I will.
Anyhow, at this point I wasn’t Wal-mart’s happiest customer ever. So I went back in and told the girl what I found.
She called in the mechanic and IN FRONT OF ME said to him “why didn’t you change the oil?” Clearly she either forgot, or just didn’t care that she had already told me that SHE had done it.
His response was “You told me to just pull it into the lot, you didn’t say anything about an oil change.”
I was on the mechanic’s side for a minute until he looked at me and said “When we get these foreign cars in here, sometimes it gets confusing.”
Now I was just livid.
First of all, my car being foreign was 100%, fully and completely irrelevant to the fact that they had just charged me $24 to allow my car to sit in their garage for 24 minutes before pulling it into their parking lot. A dollar a minute. Wow.
On top of that, the disdain for my foreign car was becoming very apparent now. Which was also irritating. My bet is that neither of these people knew that while their own American cars were built by foreign workers for next-to-nothing wages, all of my Honda Civic (with the exception of the engine) was assembled in Ohio by well paid, and highly skilled Americans.
The parts were also produced in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, once again, by American workers.
Long story short, I thought about getting a manager and demanding my money back. And in retrospect, I should have. But I wanted to get back to the road and try to keep my blood pressure low. So I waited a few more minutes while the mechanic replaced the oil in my ever-so-complex Civic and instead of getting my money back I’ll just blog about what a rotten, evil and horrible place Wal-Mart is.
I hate Wal-Mart. Ok, so now it’s time for me to hit the road, so much for this being a quick note.
The lesson: When your gut says don’t go to Wal-Mart, listen to your gut. Also, it is a good idea to check your engine’s dipstick no matter where you get your oil changed.