Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review of NTB Tires in Newington, New Hampshire: Grade F

Tim of NTB Tires, Home of Bad Service, hand-delivered the best corporate cuntery quote that I could ask for:

"My hands are tied."

Ah, if anything reeks of corporate training, weakness, and incompetence it is that admittance of uselessness: "My hands are tied."
Everyone from Wall Street fat cats who eat blue collar pension funds out of the pussies of 16 year old whores to quavering Presidents with Alzehimers to true cunts wearing shiny flare buttons will mutter this repulsive trope. When the shit finally goes down they all smirk and say, "My hands are tied." with the obligatory shoulder shrug.

And we are bigger cunts if we allow them to get away with it.

Let me explain...

Went to NTB to discuss my alignment. I spent another $250 today to have the Ibeams tweaked so the tires would not be chewed up as they were after leaving NTB. It's a long tale and unless you have a mid '70s Twin Ibeam ford van or truck then this is not something you need to care about. But if you do have one then DO NOT take it to NTB.

The saga in short form:
Back in July I spent $300 at NTB for two new tires and an alignment. First of all, a rear tire exploded a day after leaving NTB. Then a rear wheel bearing seized up causing great and numerous problems. Once that was sorted out I saw that the tires were horribly aligned, visually off which means they were way off. Others agreed and I returned to NTB tires and they also agreed that the alignment, expecially the camber, was all wrong. Funny, the exact shop that had done the original work was telling me how bad it looked. They actually asked,
"Who did this alignment?"
"Uh, you guys. Here's the receipt."

They again could not do anything to help, scratching their asses as you do when clueless.

So, I left NTB again with a terrible alignment and upon closer inspection determined the inner 1/4 of the tire was actually below the wear marker indicating time to replace...after 800 miles. This postponed my Labrador/Arctic Wolf quest indefinitely and after digging into the depths of Banfield road it was decided that only a rare procedure known as straightening the I-Beam would actually reposition the tires correctly. Internet research confirmed this. The procedure could not be done on Banfield but rather on Route 1 by an RV and big rig/bus service shop called Coastal Truck and Auto Body. They estimated a $400 bite from Oggy's wallet but since the van is running so well and ion implanters are being ordered like bean and cheese burritos, I agreed. I can't keep running through tires (the last front tires bubbled out until they were running on metal radial...and this was becoming ridiculous.

So, this morning found me at 5 am running down the foggy road (route 1) trying to loosen my load on my 1974 Vespa Ciao after dropping the 1969 van off so I could get to work at the robot factory. I swear that watching 10 minutes of my life would leave most people hysterically laughing. 5 minutes of Jersey Shore made me want to shoot myself in the mouth but an average visit to the bathroom with me is like a Jerry Lewis short movie.

Anyway, I pick the van up after work and the thing is dialed in. They torqued the I-Beam with clevis hooks and bottle jacks, a procedure I've seen pictures of, and they adjusted the toe and all. The alignment looks good and feels good and only cost $250. Which leaves me with a $300 reciept at NTB that I am scratching my ass about. The alignment they gave me was useless and because it was useless the two tires are now toast. I understand that it is my responsibility to not patronize a garage of pot smoking idiots but let's not cry over spilled milk. I just want to have two new tires on an aligned front end. And I paid $100 for an alignment that was obviously totally useless. Which brings us to this afternoon as I walked into NTB with a handful of reciepts and a small attitude.

I don't want to transcribe the entire conversation even though I could do so. I will highlight some moments that are especially revealing.

Me: See, it actually cost $300 to get the alignment done correctly. I had no problem paying that. But my question is if I got it aligned somewhere else then what did I pay you for?"

Tim: uh huh.

Me: I mean, what did you do? I left here with a crappy alignment that burned through two new tires. What did you accomplish?

Tim: I'll be right back.

Tim brought reinforcements in the form of a square-jawed grease monkey who "Had never heard of straightening an I-Beam."

Me: That van is older than all three of us. They haven't done I-Beam straightening in twenty plus years. But it is a true procedure. Look it up.

Here's something I'll print out for square jaw to look at...

"If the Twin I-Beam axles are the forged variety, which were used from 1965 through 1981, camber can be corrected by bending the axle with a hydraulic ram. To make a make a positive camber correction, a rigid work beam is slung under the axle from a pair of clevis blocks. A hydraulic ram is then placed under the middle of the axle. When pressure is applied, the ram bends the axle upward and tilts the knuckle down to increase camber. A slight amount of overbending is usually needed to compensate for spring back in the axle. A negative camber correction is made by removing the outboard clevis block and inserting a spacer between the work beam and axle. The hydraulic ram is then repositioned directly under the inner axle bushing. When pressure is applied, the work beam bends the outer end of the axle up which tilts the knuckle and decreases camber."

Square Jaw: I've never worked on one but I think they gave you a line of bullshit. There is no way...

Me: Call them and tell them that because they've forgotten more about alignments than you will ever know.

Exit Square Jaw.

Tim: I don't know what I can do for you.

Me: Refund everything. All $300. The alignment was useless. It was negligent for you to attempt it in this shop.

Tim: Those tires have some life left on them. The steel radials won't be showing any time soon.

Me: Great! I'll give them to you when I replace them and you can sell them again.

Tim: You'll have to talk to our manager, Tony.

Me: Wheel him out.

Tim: He's not here.

Me: So you're the big man in charge and your hands are tied?

Tim: I can't help you.

Now, I'm not an abusive person and I know Tim has been trained to pass the buck because he isn't authorized to make a refund like this. It's corporate policy to avoid responsibility and avoid any refunds...always prolong the problem because most people will be too busy to pursue it. Sooner or later they will die. In fact, I'm too busy to pursue it. I'll call the manager who will also deny me satisfaction. I can call all the people I want and they will not refund my money. It will take a court order three years from now to get my $300 back and I believe all the evidence points to neglect and incompetence. For the service boss of NTB to say confidently that a pro auto alignment shop "Definitely fed you a line of bullshit." is just proof he has no idea what he's talking about. It's a procedure that he will never do in his life unless he works on thirty-year old Ford vans and trucks. But to run his mouth instead of admitting ignorance is proof that corporate monkeys will proceed without caution into things they know nothing about. That whole shop will go to their grave thinking they could align that van and a few miles away is a shop that can actually align the van. It should be NTB mandate to decline service to 1980 vehicles and older. Why? Because most of the kids working there were born in 1980.

So, I'm good at a few things and not resenting corporate buffons is one of them. I hold no grudges and consider it a lesson learned. Of course I will speak truth to power and discredit the NTB brand whenever I can but I will do it in a way that does not make me out to be a grudge-holder. I know they were unable to do the work and they know that too but they still tried and failed and charged me for their failure. NTB SERVICE TECHS FAILED. They failed and still charged me money for their failure which they now refuse to refund and claim that their hands are tied. It is this that makes them cunts. Would you bring your car to a mechanic whose hands are tied?

For me to ignore this would be irresposible because they also need to learn their lesson as I have learned: Namely, not to have my van worked on at NTB. I can move forward toward this goal without venom in my heart or hateful words on my lips. This is the universe speaking to me in muted words no different than the rustling of leaves when a deer takes a shit. I move through the placid river of life at times in eddies of sadness and tumult and in times of gentle repose. Money lost is not something I resent or begrudge. I see everything as payment for lessons and the greatest lessons cost the most and I will tell you that $300 is not a significant amount for anything. Wisdom costs much more and the currency doesn't come from your wallet.

I should mention that nothing short of refund will satisfy me. Even if they offered to replace the tires I will refuse. "That van never enters that garage again." will be my comment. You don't complain and then let them touch your car again just like you don't send food back at a restaurant. Either eat it or walk out.

The story isn't over but I've said all I want to say about it.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.