It's going to take me a bit to get to the "bullshit" part so bear with me.
Monday, I puttered on down to the gas station to get some gas for the riding mower. I had time to mow the property, the overgrowth was threatening to take over the household and the backyard could hold a family of mountain lions and we'd never know it because nature was out of control.
Gas cans filled to the brim and packed away, I got back into the Camry, turned the key and ... zippo.
Not a single thing. No turn over, nothing.
Now, the car's been a little temperamental of late. Once in awhile at a stop sign it will die. But it will start right back up again. I figured that was a fuel line thing, something that simply needed to be cleaned out.
This time, however, I didn't even get a turnover of the engine. And in my experience that usually means one of two things: Dead battery or an alternator gone bad. And I knew it wasn't the battery.
Now, to be fair, the car does have better than a quarter million miles on it. It is getting a tad cranky. But it's a trooper. Toyotas are made that way. I've owned a few and they bip and bop along pretty reliably. I gave the vehicle a brief respite while I counted to 10 then keyed the ignition once again.
Nothing. I sighed.
I called my better half to get our AAA card number and the roadside services number (I gave up my AAA membership a year ago - no sense paying for two of them in the same household) and asked her to be on standby in the event I needed a ride back home if AAA couldn't accommodate me. "They may not let you order a tow with my card" she informed me. "I may have to call them myself and be there."
"I've never had a problem with them previously in this situation. I'll call back to let you know ..." I said and hung up. I immediately dialed up the AAA.
"I need to arrange a tow back to my house, please." I informed the gentleman who came on the line.
"What seems to be the problem with your vehicle?"
"It won't start. Pretty sure it's an alternator issue."
"Can I get your card number and name, please?"
I gave them both, telling him it was not my name on the card.
"We won't be able to schedule a tow unless the card holder is at the location of the vehicle, sir," he informed me.
"Where I want the car towed is barely 2 miles distant to our home," I told the guy. "The card holder works out of the house and couldn't come down here to attend to the situation. When the car is towed back to the residence, she'll be more than happy to present the card and sign anything that needs signing," I explained.
"I still can't schedule a tow, sir. The towing company won't allow it and AAA can't authorize it. The card holder must be present."
"Even though the vehicle is being towed to the card holder's location?" I asked. "As I mentioned, she is unable to be with vehicle currently as she she works from home."
"I'm sorry. The card holder must be present."
"And there's no way you can schedule this based on what I'm telling you? I guarantee she'll be at the location when the car arrives."
"I'm sorry sir. I can't do that."
"Tell you what: I'll personally guarantee her presence and give you $100.00 if she's not there when the car arrives. I'm not trying to pull anything over on you, I'm just trying to facilitate the situation being I'm between a rock and a hard place right now."
I got the same song and dance. "I still can't do that. The towing company won't allow it. We won't allow it."
"I've done this previously without any problem," I told the dude. "What's changed?"
"Sir ... we simply can't do it. If the card hold is there, we can arrange a tow."
"If it's a question of the towing company having a problem with it, I'll guarantee the tow place $1,000.00 cash money if she isn't available when the car is dropped off."
"Can't do it, sir."
"And this is policy?" I asked, frustrated.
"Fine. Thank you for your time." I said a bit huffily and hung up the phone.
By coincidence it just so happened I was parked directly across from a AAA satellite office so I ventured in to plead my case. The helpful woman I spoke with gave me the same story, albeit with an apology and a heaping helping of sympathy. I thanked her, telling her I at least had to try.
I was defeated. We'd just have to come back later when we had time to deal with the situation.
As mentioned, I've been in this exact same scenario before. I've used my card for relatives and friends when their cars needed a tow and I was present. I even had my ex make the call when she was stranded and she used my card number without issue. It was on my account, no big deal. But, obviously, AAA's policies have changed. (Or so I thought.)
Later that afternoon when we were free, the call to AAA was made yet again and a tow was arranged, simply by providing the card number. Nothing more.
When the truck arrived, "Glen" was extraordinarily helpful. He tried a few tricks to see if he could coax the car to life to no effect. He had no problem towing it but if there was a way to get the vehicle started without putting a report on the card's record that would be the better option.
His bag of tricks exhausted, Glen backed up the truck and hitched up the car. He had the address it was going to and said he would meet us there.
15 minutes later the Camry was tucked away exactly where I requested. Glen waved and told us to have a nice day.
"Hold on," I called. "Don't we need to sign anything?"
"Nope. It's all done electronically. Just needed the card number and I already got that from AAA."
I felt my temperature rise slightly at the thought I had been given the runaround along with a load of crap from the guy I originally talked to earlier that morning. Glen didn't even verify who we were. The card used could have been from the other side of the country for all anyone cared and it didn't make a bit of difference.
You see ... I wasn't attempting to pull one over on anyone. I just wanted to get done what needed to be done in a timely manner with a minimum of downtime. The AAA guy on the phone that morning decided it was a better idea to unload a bullshit story on me. And that pissed me off.
Time to write a letter to The Powers That Be at AAA and get huffy. If it truly is policy, I understand that. But that's not what took place. don't lie to me. If it's not policy, where was the harm in doing it my way?
I'll be finding out soon enough ...
.......... Ruprecht ( STOP bullshitting me )