Let's get something straight here right off the bat. I am like you in more ways than you might think.

I struggle to pay my bills just like a lot of Americans. The mortgage is always a stress.

And things like having our cars break down can be an incredible source of agony and financial malaise. I don't have money just waiting to be spent for our cars to spend days in the shop.

So imagine the tension in our backs when our car window decided to just slide down into the door never to come back up. Nice, huh? 3-year-old car. Remember when our parents' car windows lasted...oh...30 years????

So we take the car to the mechanic. The tiny little part cost a small fortune and that was without the hour's labor to put it in. But you can't drive around with an open window, especially in the rainy season, so we did what we had to do.

Guess what? Several hundred dollars later, the window was technically fixed. Well, it was back UP anyway. But a minor little detail: it STAYED up.

Nice, huh?

It gets better. The very next morning, the battery was drained to the bone. Not enough juice to even unlock the doors.

Hmmmm. Let's do some Sherlock Holmes reasoning here. Car gets taken in to have window fixed. Window not fixed. Car battery starts draining.

And not just once. I went in and bought a new battery.

Next morning? SUCKED DRY AGAIN.

Got a new battery switched out, JUST IN CASE.

Next morning? You got it. DRAINED AGAIN.

That's how I spent much of my Christmas week...shuttling back and forth because of substandard work done by imbeciles.

So I call the mechanic and ask to speak to the owner.

The OWNER mind you. This is the guy who's put his name and integrity into this business. It is his BABY. His CREATION.

I get yelled at. I get aggression. How dare I insinuate that his guy's work caused a short somewhere that was draining brand new batteries overnight?

Well, he didn't fix the window but CHARGED me for it anyway. "That ok with you?" I asked him. He huffed and puffed and grunted.


Click. Dial tone. End of phone call.

By the way. That was HIM yelling at ME. That was HIM hanging up on ME.

Can you believe this??

This is only the second time in my life that I have been hung up on by someone allegedly in the customer service business. The first time was a cell phone provider's agent and I made sure their superiors traced who the agent was to NAIL them for their rude and UNACCEPTABLE behavior.

But in this case, I got yelled at by the BOSS. The Top Banana.

My wife got on the phone with him next, speaking softly and politely. She asked him just exactly what was it that we paid for? To NOT have the problem fixed...AND to have our car situation WORSE OFF than before we took it to him?

You guessed it. Mr. Hulk turned green AGAIN and yelled and hung up on HER.

He actually thinks we are going to set foot in his shop to have him look at our car again. This guy has a better chance of seeing us in court that in his garage.

So off we go again today, seeking an honest mechanic. I know they are out there...somewhere.

Maybe somewhere along the grave stones of what used to be customer service and integrity we will find the scattered bones of dignity and decency, the ghosts of what used to be honest business practices.

We shall see.

In the meantime, I really miss the roll up windows of my parents' 1974 Volvo.

It may be sitting in a landfill somewhere as I write this. But I'd bet my house the windows still open.

Those were the days.