Early Summer at the Secret Hideout
If y’all have been following along, you will recall my Yamaha EF2000iS Inverter Generator failed me back in June when I was about 100 days into the hanging out at the Secret Hideout. A fairly serious event bein’ as how the Secret Hideout is off grid and a generator was my sole source of electricity.
Now one of the reasons I bought a Yamaha instead of one of those Chinaman generators from Home Depot was reliability and service after the purchase. Gate guarding down here in the Puckerbrush you live or die by your generator and I don’t pussy foot nor cut corners when it comes to a generator. I know that. I have lived it.
I had good thoughts about getting Little Blue fixed up; I really did. I looked up the closest Yamaha Factory Service Center and it turned out to be Marineland Boating Center on the south side of Waco. I called ’em up and spoke to TJ who is the Service Manager at Marineland Boating Center in Waco.
I am repeating myself on purpose here folks (Marineland Boating Center Waco) because I want Google to pick this blog entry up and make the Google Fu strong on this page for anything to do with the Yamaha Service Center at Marineland Boating Center in Robinson.TX. Seems like my tolerance of unruly, poor behavior is going up here lately. A good thing for damned sure. I did not enjoy managing my temper every hour of every livelong day. Been some time since I did a good cut-the-meat-off-the-bone rant much less cut loose on some 80 percent sumbitches. But that is ‘zactly where we are headed this Saturday before Thanksgiving 2015.
Best send the small chl’rens outta the room now and strap in. Oh, there might be some cussin’ — so’s all you Good Baptists know before hand ’cause I can feel it building up inside me. By the time I sup through 2-3 more cups of coffee and a good pipe, there just might be some folks all butt hurt by this post. It is what it is.
So where was I? Yeah, TJ, the Service Manager at Marineland Boating Center in Waco (more fu). I told TJ what was going on with Little Blue and he let me know right up front it would be 2-3 weeks before they could even look at it. I did some mental arithmetic to see how that was gonna gee haw with my planned departure out of Central Texas in August. 2 months or more to get ‘er done? Pshaw! I reckon! I loaded Little Blue and Tuco the Dog up in the Big Ass Suburban and headed out for a 150 mile roundtrip. No small decision when you barely have the jingle for the necessities like cold beer. We found Marineland Boating easy peasy and checked in with TJ. I dropped off Little Blue and was surprised when he told me no paperwork was necessary and no receipt for the drop off was due to me. That shoulda been my first red flag. Lack of documentation is a refuge for scoundrels.
I was at my servile and mannerly best over the next few weeks. I would call TJ on the schedule he suggested to get updates and status reports. I respected the supposed fact that he was a busy fella. Even when it niggled in the back of my mind that everything took at least a week, whether it be ordering parts or diagnostics, I went along with Marineland Boating’s wishes. The drop dead date of me heading back out to South Texas was getting ever closer and still no firm pickup date for Little Blue. More problems were found with the brushes or stator or somesuch after the generator had already been in-house for a month and we were all the time creepin’ up on the day when I was going to be 300 miles south of Waco.
Well, ol’ TJ missed my cutoff by 10 days -even though I had give him 30 days heads up. When he called, all happy and shit, to tell me the generator was ready for pickup all I could ask was for him to hold on to it until I could schedule a full day off to make the roundtrip to Waco and pick it up. I finally got around to making the trip and just this past week I got enough time and purty weather to test run Little Blue.
Good times at the Secret Hideout
I pulled the back cover off to check the oil and noticed it was sort of twisted askew and not joined up right. The top right screw that secured the cover was new and longer than the OEM screw on the other side. Evidently, the longer screw was required to catch the threads now with the cover all whomper jawed to one side. I also noticed oil in the case — most likely left over from before the fix, right???? The oil level was OK and I went around to the front panel to fire it up and when I turned the fuel shutoff on, I noticed it was mighty hard to twist. A closer look showed it had been put back on crooked. When I reached up to turn the Run switch on, the rubber cover was only catching on one side of the switch. The little soft clear rubber cover protects the switch form the elements and it has little feet on it that the panel cover catches to hold it in place. Someone had just overlooked proper placement when they put it back together. ‘S alright,really. After all, Little Blue is not pristine and new and some things are gonna get messed up if you use a piece of equipment. I could live with it I guess.
It was cool day with no AC required in the NO Princess Palace; a good day to hook up Little Blue and run him through the paces. 3 hours into the test, I had oil obviously leaking in the same location as before. 6 hours in, I had a puddle of oil beneath the generator. 7 hours in, I was on the phone with my best bud TJ, the Service Manager at the Yamaha Service Center at Marineland Boating in Waco, TX. That conversation went something like this here:
me: “TJ, Andy Jones from South Texas. I brought in that little Yamaha 2000 leaking oil, remember?”
TJ: “Yes sir. What can I do for you?”
me: “I finally had the chance to run it up today and it is still leaking oil.”
me: (after a longish pause because I wanted him to jump in there, he didn’t) “You still there?”
TJ: “Yes sir”
(another pause. I was waiting for him to take control and FIX me. That is what a real man woulda done in this situation. This 80% deal flew all over me and I got mad– real down deep, hurtful,mean mad.)
me: “TJ, listen up. I was nice and polite and never pushed you when you kept a piece of equipment vital to me for 9 weeks over a problem that should have been resolved in 1/3 of that time. You screwed around and I had to leave the generator with you and then make a day long trip to retrieve it. That little roadtrip cost me $200 in lost wages, a hunnert bucks in fuel and a day of my time. I never said the first cross word to you or complained. Not once!!!! The ball was in your court start to finish! So now here we are back at the same place as we was the first part of June. I got a broke generator; the only difference being I am not a nice fella any more. Tell me what your plans are to fix this clusterfuck if you would please sir.”
TJ: “Mr Jones, I understand. I will need the generator back in my hands to fix it.”
me: ‘How do you suggest that to happen TJ? I am 300 miles south of you and working 24/7.”
TJ: “That is up to you Mr. Jones. I need the generator here in my shop to fix it.”
me: “C’mon TJ, think outside of the box and tell me how you are going to make this right! Do I need to remind you we would not be having this conversation if the job would’ve been done right the first time?”
TJ: ” I need the generator here.”
me: “I can think of several different options you could choose TJ to help me out here. Step up and take care of business man!”
TJ: “I need the generator here sir.”
You know you are f***ed when people go all Chatty Cathy stoopid on you. Remember that Chatty Cathy doll from back in the day, you pulled a string in her back and she repeated the same phrases programmed into her brainless head over and over? TJ was giving me the company line and I realized in that crystal clear moment that his role as Service Manager at Marineland Boating Center was not to provide stellar service to his clientele. He was a salesman. It was his job to sell shitty service and then make you think it was OK.
me: “Do you take me for a fool TJ?”
TJ: “Oh no sir!’
me: “Then why would you expect me to repeat a scenario nearly verbatim and blow for blow that we just went through and was such an abject and utter EPIC FAIL on your part?”
(long silence that I allowed to drag on and on)
me (finally): “Answer me TJ.”
TJ: “I need the generator here at my shop to work on it.”
me: “You know it is bad enough the generator is still leaking oil but whoever put it back together half-assed that operation too. I got covers on crooked, knobs askew and switches screwed up. Truth be known, it would have been almost cheaper to throw your expensive and over rated generator on the junk pile and save all my time and travel expenses and just buy a new ‘un. I figure if I follow your instructions and bring that little Yamaha back up to you, I will have the most expensive EF2000is of all time and most likely, it will still leak oil.”
me: “You leave me little choice TJ. I am going to have to go over your head to solve this problem. Do you understand what I am saying?”
TJ: “Yes sir”
me: “Alrighty then. I gave you opportunity to make it right and fair intention of my next actions. You are on notice.”
Over the years, one thing I have come to understand is an employee is a direct mirror for the attitude of the management he works for. It really can be no other way if you think about it. If a fella wants to keep his job he toes the corporate line. Been there and done that. I don’t hold it against TJ as he is either following the orders of Marineland Boating Center or Yamaha USA. I intend to find out who is what.
I honestly believed (and maybe I still do) that Yamaha Motorsports USA puts out a product that is above average and worth the premium price they charge for their offerings. Maybe Marineland Boating Center is the bad apple? We are gonna get to the bottom as I got time to squander digging into this.
Stay tuned, this is far from over.
End Note: Good Life by James McMurtry from the Candyland cd.