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The Resurrection of Little Blue - EPIC FAIL!

Early Summer at the Secret Hideout

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

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.”

TJ: (silence)

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. 

Not likely.

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.”

TJ:  (nothing)

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.”

(click)

 

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.

 

 

 

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10 comments to The Resurrection of Little Blue – EPIC FAIL!

  • Joel

    Fun post (to read, not for you). I can almost see the veins popping out on your forehead.

    My guess is that they don’t really want your business.

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    • Andy

      More than likely they just don’t CARE about this tiny piece of business with all the larger jobs they have going on. I bet Yamaha USA requires them to provide generator service to be designated as a Yamaha Service Center. I will find out

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      • Joel

        Yeah, that’s what I was trying to say.

        I suspect you’re right that they’re required to provide “service.” But it’s like when people say they’re a “quality operation.” Good “quality” or bad “quality?” Same with service.

        I think we’re talking sunk cost here.

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        • Andy

          My expectations of warranty service obviously do not correspond to the actual service level. Let’s see how far up the Yamaha corporate ladder this 80 percent mentality goes.

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  • David

    Hey Andy,

    Little Blue’s 3500/4000 big brother looks very much like my Champion Made in China generator.

    Where was Little Blue made?

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    • Andy

      Good morning David,

      Both generators came in boxes labeled Made In Japan. Two of the pertinent selling points for the Yamaha was an extensive dealer network and a 3 year warranty.

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  • MissV

    I understand all too well, when you speak of the 80 percenter’s. But every once and a while you get a surprise. I recently sent my car to the shop for some repairs. Said repairs were made, but in driving the car home I could tell was not quiet right. You drive a car for long enough and you know every nuance, every sound, every wiggle and squeak. So I called up the shop and got a young man on the phone that really couldn’t have given a shit about my plight and told me I would have to bring the car back in for them to see about it. Well, being as the brakes were the problem, and the brake light was on, and the car had thrown up about a quart of brake fluid in the driveway, I didn’t really wanna drive that car down 5 miles of freeway to the car shop. The young man, like in your story, was steadfast in the fact that I would have to bring the car back in. I protested, he insisted.
    So I wrote a scathing review of their car shop on YELP. Within 24 hrs. the owner of the car shop contacted me and told me he was sending tow truck for my car, free of charge and that my car would be moved to the head of the repair schedule. He apologized profusely and earnestly. The tow truck came and got the car, said repairs were made at no charge and the car was delivered back to me on a tow truck. No questions asked, no arguments, no recriminations about me having an old car, repairs done, and problem solved. So, you never know, there will be that person in the chain of command that will step up, that is how they got to their place in the chain to begin with.

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  • Byron

    Well, that experience is certainly not a good one for sure. Here’s hoping Yamaha makes it right by exceeding your expectations. They make great products and that outfit up north is probably more equipped to handle the ‘bigger’ items but this is like a burr under the saddle blanket. Hope they make it right for you Andy. If they really think about it, cost of shipping the unit back to Waco, time to repair and then shipping it back out to you, they, Yamaha would be better off sending you another unit. Hope that is what happens and I am gonna send good karma out and still hope they do the right thing. Good luck bud and I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving as I know from reading here over the years, you can and do look at the bigger picture. Lil bump in the road for you! Oh and Stay Dry, rain is on the way!

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  • LJ

    80% woulda been an improvement in my case of 2003, 200,000 mile Dodge Cummins when it wouldn’t start 30 minutes after getting home from Matagorda RV park. after fiddling w/ it for an hour w/o as much as a POP, or Chug, the Tow Truck picked it up for Ram Service to figure it out.
    Two days later, service guy said ‘good to go’, we just needed to snug up the injectors. After getting a friend to drop me off, I paid $300 tab, grabbed keys and hopped into the truck…turned the key….#^*%@@ Nothing but starter turning, tried again…$$%#@@ NOTHING.
    So waltzed back up to the service desk, told the clueless talking head behind the desk, I couldn’t understand the ‘it’s fixed.good to go’ call I just got, I asked how did they get it back out to the parking lot? it takes a fair effort to push and back in a ‘fixed..good to go 7,000 pound repaired truck’. Then next day I get told that 4 of 6 injectors are bad, I found it strange they couldn’t have figured that out beforehand. so get the $5000 estimate and justification of costs involved, I remind the talking head behind the desk, of last months unauthorized brake job I had told them NOT to do, so after some heated exchange mostly w/ me throwing the heat, he agrees to let me go to Austin Injector and buy the same injectors for $3400 and the would install them w/o extra cost. I then told them I wanted the old ones to return for the core charge of $125.00 each or $725.00. Talking head had dumb look on his face because he had previously tried to convince me there was not a core refund. So after some heat slingin’, we settle on returning the cores to me, a free oil change, and almost an apology for the inconvenience of him trying to screw and lie to me. So as that truck hit 259,000 miles, went through another water pump, and front suspension replacement, I felt the need to get another truck, so tried the same close-by mega dealership for Ram.
    Found a shiny 2014 Ram 1 ton I wanted, salesman all happy…but w/ checkbook in hand, he just could not bring himself to commit exactly the price that I told him I was willing to spend. So after I lay down the ground rules that I will want, the salesman still waffled around, the developing stink I was smelling might be a bait and switch trick. I stood my ground, told the now not happy salesman that if he didn’t produce a firm price I didn’t have an issue w/ moving myself outta there. So while waiting for the ‘firm price guy’ to show up, I emailed another dealer up the road, told him quick version of the game I was stuck in,…Bottom line ended up finding a hungry salesguy, and in 30 minutes got a better deal on a brand new 2015 1 ton w/ more buttons than the 2014 and $1800 less than the almost nailed down price of dealer #1.. so it pays to have an ace in the hole and a backup plan.
    Happy Thanksgiving

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