The Sad Saga of the 1-2 week RV repair that took 9 weeks

We bought an RV in January. We took 3 short trips before taking our first two week trip, an Adventure in Montana. While cleaning the RV after our return, my wife discovered a crack in the toilet. Taken from her notes, lightly edited, with my comments in italic, here is the story of those 9 weeks

TL;DNR: The service representative stalled, failed to return calls, made several erroneous claims about status. There were inexplicable delays.  The wrong color toilet was installed. It took a call to the service manager to finally get the work done. Because the delays were so long, we were unable to use the RV for almost the entire summer season and had to cancel a two week trip we had planned for late September. I recommend that you NEVER deal with Manteca Trailer and RV’s service department.

15 June

Called Manteca Trailer and RV, the dealer we bought the RV from, for an appointment to bring the RV in for work on the cracked toilet, leaky sewer valves and other minor things. Nothing was available until July 5. One of the points the sales person had stressed was that people who had purchased their RVs at the dealership would be given preferential scheduling.

Day 1, 5 July

Brought RV to the dealer. This is a three hour round trip, requiring one person to drive the RV to the dealership while the other drove a car so that the first person would have a way to get back to Mountain View. I was directed to[redacted]’s desk. (name obscured to protect the incompetent) I gave them the list of things that we’d like to have done while it is there. This included toilet, sewer valve, cabinet door adjustment and blind near sink adjustment. [redacted] said that it would take 1-2 weeks.

Day 16, 20 July

Two weeks passed without hearing anything from [redacted]. Called [redacted]. They said that they looked at the RV and repaired the cabinet door as well as the blind near the sink. They claimed that they would call the manufacturer by 2 pm that day to get authorization for the toilet and the sewer valve replacement. He said that they wanted to replace both sewer valves as they couldn’t tell where the leakage was coming from. He said that once authorized it would take 10-12 days for parts to arrive and 4-5 days for the installation. That’s right folks, they had the RV for two weeks and hadn’t bothered to call the manufacturer to authorize the warranty work.  Also, note that 12+5 = 17, which means that [redacted] should have known that “1-2 weeks” was a bullshit first estimate.

Day 30, 3 August

I called and left a message for [redacted] to call me back. At 3:50 pm I called again and left a message with [different redacted] to have [redacted] call back with the status of the work.

Day 35, 8 August

I called at 9 am and talked to [different redacted]. They took my name and number and told me that she would have [redacted] call.

Day 36, 9 August

[Redacted] called and said that they would have the RV ready next week. They said that the service department had given him the wrong part number for the toilet. They had the toilet off now and had the right number. They would order the part on a three day rush. They would need to flush out the tanks and that would take time. If they had known that they needed to flush the tanks, why did they wait? It takes about 15 minutes to flush the gray and black water tanks. When the RV was returned, the black water tank was more than 3/4 full.

Day 44, 17 August

I called at 1 pm and left a message for the service department to call me back. [Garbled] called me back as my name was garbled on the message. They would look up the RV in their records and forward the message to [redacted].

Day 45, 18 August

At 10:30 am I left a message on [redacted]’s voice mail asking them to call back. At 2:30 pm [redacted] called back. The parts were not yet ordered. That would be the 3 day rush order that they claimed they would three day rush on the 9th. The manufacturer would not warrant the crack. Manteca Trailer and RV would pay for it. This is, as far as I can tell, the only thing they had done right to this point. They did have authorization from Forest River for both the toilet and the valve replacement repairs. I’m confused.  The manufacture authorized the toiled repair but wouldn’t pay for it? At 3:40 pm he called back and said that NTP, their regular supplier, had the toilet in stock and they should have it onsite Monday, 21 August. [Redacted] would call Monday when the toilet arrived. They would start on the valve for the black water tank. It should the work would be done Thursday. A week had gone by and they hadn’t started the work. They would wash the RV as it had been sitting there for so long. We could have it back on Friday, 25 August.

Day 49, 22 August

[redacted] hadn’t called on the 21st, so I called and talked to [garbled]. Would the RV be ready on Friday? [garbled] would tell [redacted].

[redacted] called back at 2 pm. They had a UPS tracking number. The toilet was due on Friday, 25 August. They would start the work on Friday. The 3 day delivery for the 12th, that would come on the 21st, was not going to arrive until the day we were supposed to get the RV back.

Day 52, 25 August

I left a message for [redacted]. Had the toilet arrived?

Day 55, 28 August

I talked to [different redacted]. [redacted] had said that the toilet had arrived. He would find out if they had started on the sewer valve. That would be the one they were going to start work on on the 18th.

Day 57, 30 August

I called. [garbled] would have [redacted] call back as soon as they were done with a customer.

Day 58, 31 August

I left voice mail with Service Manager, Tom Sperry. Name not withheld, since you can look it up. I asked for his email so that I could send him my notes of the transactions so far. He called me back and said that he would check to see where the RV was in the system. He wanted me to send the file with the notes to him as well. He said that he would have [redacted] give me a call before he left for the day.

At 6:24 [redacted] called. The parts were there, waiting for someone to install them. If the dispatcher could free someone else, the work would be done tomorrow. They would call tomorrow with status.

Day 59, 1 September

[Redacted] called. The work was done, but the RV hadn’t been washed yet.

Day 63, 5 September

I called at 2:30 pm. Would [redacted] call back. When could be pick up the RV.

[Redacted] called at 5:41. It was ready. we could pick it up tomorrow. Except we had other things scheduled. We would pick it up on the 7th

Day 65, 7 September

We drove to Manteca, arriving at 10:00 am. [redacted] apologized. Everything they had told us had really happened.  It wasn’t his fault. The shop got the wrong part, et cetera.

The walk through took 45 minutes. The trivial repairs had been done. We would not be able to test the sewer valves until we had water in the grey and black water tanks. We could have, had we known that the supposedly flushed tanks were not empty. They had ordered the wrong color toilet. It was white, but the original had been cream, matching the sink.

We found minor damage. There’s a nick in the exterior paint that wasn’t there before and a part has been bent.

Update, 20 September

During the walk-through I checked the black water tank and the indicator said it was 2/3 full.  We tried to dump the black water a few days ago and it was empty. The tank indicator is broken. The only place we can take it to, of course, is the place that broke it.  Is Poetic Injustice a thing?  It should be.

The right side of history or “Nazis are evil, m’kay”

Let us be clear up front. American white supremacists are Nazis, in the literal senses, or, to be more precise, the modern US evolution of Nazism.  There is no need to mince words, and even Goodwin has said that calling them what they are is proper and doesn’t invoke Goodwin’s law.

There is real evil in the world, and these people embody it.

“But the left” is the start of a bullshit argument. It doesn’t matter what follows. Your opponent using the same tactics that you do does not make the tactic legitimate. It makes you both wrong. Even worse, the arguments that follow are, themselves, usually bullshit. The left, in the US, even the extremists neither espouses nor practices anything as repugnant as white supremacists do.

The president of the United States is a disgrace and his behavior labels him as one of them.  Anyone who doesn’t condemn them roundly is complicit, even if they profess not to be a supremicist Anyone in power who fails to act to oppose them is complicit.

Not all of us are able to take direct action. This does not excuse inaction. If we take no action at all, then we are complicit. If you can’t act directly, then contribute.

  • Call your representatives and remind them that inactivity is complicity.  Demand that they take action.
  • Donate to organizations that are able to take direct action. If you are uncomfortable with the ACLU, donate to the SPLC. Find local groups that are active and support them.
  • Speak up. Call out your friends and family on their racism. Even if it is uncomfortable for you. If you see such behavior in the workplace inform your manager, and Human Resources department.
  • Speak out. Use social media. Write letters to editors. Call talk radio programs.

Complacency is complicity.

Label me not

Background

With one exception, I refuse to label you. I will call you human. The rest of your labels should be based on your choice, not forced upon you. Labels are meant to identify members of a group sharing a property. They become shorthand for stereotypes. When used positively, they are a shortcut to common ground.

Labels with positive stereotypes are commonly self assigned. Some people will self assign positive labels even though they don’t fit the positive stereotype.

Those attempting to establish dominance attempt to attribute negative stereotypes to existing labels. They will also pick new labels which are forced on to others against their will. Negative labels allow the intellectual laziness of assuming everyone who is labeled with a particular label fit the negative stereotype. This is particularly insidious when some people who fit the label also match the stereotype.

The negative labels are meant to serve two purposes. They are meant to dehumanize and discredit those who are labeled, in the eyes of those who apply the label. They are meant to make those who are labeled defensive while at the same time convince them that they fit the stereotype. These negative stereotypes typically contain a kernel of negative truth around which many negative properties are falsely assigned to those so labeled.

Some uses of positive labels are meant to force the labeled person into changing themselves to match the label. They may lead to the labeled person feeling inadequate and a failure for not conforming.

Many self assigned labels, especially political labels, are co-opted by those wishing to establish dominance. They will attempt to replace the positive stereotype with a negative one; sometimes, but rarely, based on the extreme behavior of some members of the group. Those who had self assigned the label usually make one of two choices. They may abandon the label, seeking to replace it with one that they can associate with a positive stereotype. They may attempt to salvage the positive stereotype by asserting those people who exhibit the extreme behavior aren’t real members of the group.

Seemingly neutral labels, which start out merely indicating a property possessed by a group of people are co-opted and an attempt is made to attach a negative stereotype to the label.

Examples

Christian is considered my many as a positive label.  The property associated with it is an assertion that one follows the teaching of Jesus Christ. It is often self assigned. Some who self assign it don’t adhere to the teachings, at least in the eyes of others.

Opponents assign negative stereotypes to Christianity, often with a kernel describing the misbehavior entailed in various historical Christian behavior. Those who identify with the positive stereotype may assert that those who don’t behave the way they do are not real Christians.

The simplified idea that there are two sexes is associated with children based on the reproductive organs they were born with. There are elaborate stereotypes of the difference between boys and girls. These stereotypes are reinforced by products that are meant only for boys or only for girls. The stereotypes are very bad and form the basis of the male dominated culture. Those whose gender matches their sexual organs suffer from being forced into the roles.

Crippled, handicapped, disabled, the use of challenged as a modifier and differently abled are all participants in the effort of people who self identify as having variant physical properties to abandon terms with negative stereotypes (or, in this case, negative connotation,) and replace them with terms not yet vilified or assigned the negative connotation.

Terms meant to describe skin tone, such as white, black, brown, red, and yellow, at first glance are seemingly neutral.  They are often not used that way.  red and yellow have been associated with negative stereotypes of native Americans and Asians, respectively. Bigots have tried to associate negative stereotypes to black, brown, and red often with success among their fellow bigots. In recent years, white has gained a reputation because the oppressor in North America have, broadly speaking, been white.

Label me if you must

Here are the labels I prefer others to use.

Ethnicity

Human: We are all homo sapiens.

Irish: more precisely ‘of Irish descent’. Three generations back, most of my ancestors lived in what is now the Republic of Ireland.

Melanin Challenged: I am reluctant to use the “challenged” formulation, lest those with physical differences are offended, but I can think of no other. I refuse to self identify as white; although I know that those oppressed by white people will not accept that choice.

First, I don’t fit the negative stereotype; even though many white people in the US do. I’m not a bigot. I’ve never oppressed anyone. I actively support human rights for all humans. I am, of course, aware that I have benefited by association, from the oppression but I’ve done what little I can to extend those benefits to people who are not melanin challenged and thwart those who would oppress.

Second, the people in power didn’t consider my ancestors to be members of their group until very recently; requiring being a white Anglo-Saxon protestant (WASP) for membership. My ancestors faced oppression for nearly one thousand years, including systematic mass murder in the 19th century, complete with diaspora; and suppression and appropriation of their culture. They were segregated against in the United States into the twentieth century.

I am aware that the segregation was miniscule compared to that of people of color; comprising mostly of denial of jobs. I am aware that the segregation did not extend into my lifetime and that I have no experience being oppressed.

U. S. citizen: I know that many people identify as american, treating american as a synonym for for U. S. citizen. I don’t, because it ignores the fact that America consists of dozens of countries split into two continents. Even North American is wrong for me, since this continent contains three countries.

Gender

male: straight male, if you must know.  Never cis.  It’s an affectation and it adds no meaning. My preferred pronouns are whatever works for you. I respect whatever gender you identify as and will attempt to remember to address you by your preferred pronouns. I believe that all humans should have equal rights, without qualification.

Religion

none: I would identify as atheist, but then I’d end up having to defend myself against stupid arguments that atheists recant on their death beds and have no morals or ethics. The closest term I can think of now is secular humanist, although that too has been vilified.

Politics

I have a strong sense of political identity, which I would once have express with a four word label. Since all of the terms in the label have been co-opted and have become nearly meaningless due to abuses, I am reluctant to do so now. In the 70s, the label thrust on me was “commie hippy scum”; for what it is worth.

I don’t identify as either right or left. Political points of view don’t fit a single simple one dimensional scale. Right and left have significantly different meaning to those who would self identify and those who would vilify.

I define liberal and conservative naively. Politically both want to improve the country; they differ on how to do that. Liberals, in this definition, wish to try new things; while conservatives wish to strengthen those that already exist.

I recall a time when neither vilified the other, both were working for the common good, with a bit of self interest thrown in, and compromised was possible.

That said, the label was social liberal, fiscal conservative. The words have been defined in so many different ways that I doubt that they have any meaning any more.

Parting thoughts

You can be a racists even though you are a member of an oppressed group. You can’t do a fraction of the harm racists with power can, but that doesn’t make it different when you behave like a racist.

Even during Watergate the US has never been more divided than it is now.

No matter what group you are discussing remember that they are not a homogeneous monolith.

I will revisit the subject. I don’t know yet whether it will take the form of a new blog posting or an update to this one.

If you’ve read this far, get yourself a frosty beverage of your choice. You earned it.