Ok, so we have this car. It's paid for and (of course) out of warranty. And it has this misfire problem. We took it to two garages and neither could find the problem. So we just let it be, and finally after more than a year the problem got to be bad enough that we had to just bite the bullet and take it to a dealership service department.
Now, generally I consider car dealerships to be the very devil. I think the process of buying a car, wherein you may or may not get as good a price (or as screwed) as some other schmuck just depending on, oh, I don't know, moons, tides, etc. -- that's just wrong. It's f*cked up. And a huge sleazy waste of my time. And I don't know about you, but if there's going to be a huge, sleazy waste of my time, I'd rather it involved more gratuitous nudity than your average car sales transaction. At least the ones I've been privy to thus far.
And service departments? Please. Six hundred dollars for a tuneup? That's just nuts.
But! The service guy called today and told me that the car had lost (or blown or something) some kind of valve and that's what was causing the "hesitation" problem and the engine light coming on and so forth. The part and installation to fix this: oh, in the four hundred dollar range, plus tax. Ok, so that actually didn't bother me too much because I was worried the problem was much worse and exponentially more expensive than this, like the engine was being dissolved by exotic aluminum-eating insects and would have to be replaced for more than the car cost new, etc. The bad news: the broken part had taken the catalytic converter with it. "Oooooh," I said, "those are spendy aren't they?" "Yes," he said, "they are, BUT! I can get that covered for you under the Mazda Something Or Another (I've really got to start writing this crap down) Warranty Program, free of charge."
"But," he said, and it sounded as if he was worried I'd tear him a new one right through the phone line when I heard this, "I don't have either part in stock and it'll be at least Monday before I can get them."
Are you kidding me? A year's worth of worry, anxiety, and hassle, and it will cost a mere five hundred bucks and less than a week out of my life for someone else to fix? Good heavens, man, I'd wait a MONTH and pay -- okay, five hundred is pretty much my limit, but you get the idea.
Hurray! Yippee! Etc.!