Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Trouble With Texting And Toyota....

Texting is one of those things a bit foreign to me since I've never found the need for it. But yesterday while sitting at Toyota in Panama City, I had plenty of time. Since they offered free Wi-Fi like so many places here do, I snatched the Ipod away from Clyde and made the attempt. It was out of shear boredom that I attempted to write emails and post to internet sites. I even started blogging here but decided to correct the mistakes before posting it today. After all I didn't quite master how to type capital letters in the middle of a sentence. Besides it took so long pecking away at that tiny keyboard that I didn't get too far. But it did help pass the time while waiting for our car.

Several months ago the four wheel drive light on our car dashboard came on indicating that we were engaged in four wheel drive. The car ran fine but wouldn't shift into four wheel drive. But we knew having it checked out meant calling to make an appointment and dealing with someone that spoke no English. Next was the long drive into Panama City through grid-lock traffic then dealing with someone at Toyota that spoke no English. Then waiting for hours not knowing what was going on and having it explained by a mechanic that spoke no English. And finally having a clerk tell us they would have to order the part, that spoke no English.

Our appointment was for 10am and Clyde already knew where the dealership was, or so he thought. We arrived on time and Clyde approached the reception desk where they told him he was at the wrong location. Apparently there are two Toyota service centers on Tumba Muerto, also known as Avenida Ricardo J. Alfaro. One is closer to Tocumen Airport and the other is closer to the El Dorado neighborhood.

The receptionist was very professional and told us they would service our car there instead of sending us to the other location. The computer indicated that there had been a recall on this particular make and model of Rav 4 and they would check out that issue too. From what we understood checking out the sensor light would take one hour and the suspension issue recall would take two hours, or vise versa. Of course the young man spoke no English so we weren't quite sure.

Once settled in the "sala de esperar" or waiting room, I noticed the time was 10:50am. So we plopped out butts down onto the comfy leather sofa for a three hour wait time. There we found free coffee, free water, free Wi-Fi and snacks for sale. As the hours dragged by Clyde raided the snack machine several times. Three hours went by, then four, then five at which point Clyde was getting impatient. He went to inquire and was told the car was almost finished. Since it was already 4pm and we didn't have lunch, we were starving, tired and irritable.

Just then Clyde's cell phone rang and it was Toyota telling us that the car was done. We had to laugh at this and he tried to explain that we had been there the whole time. Soon after a young women walked through the door with paperwork in her hand. She explained that they checked out the suspension system issue that was on the recall. Clyde asked if they fixed the light and she said no, and explained something in Spanish. We stopped her explaining that our Spanish was basic and asked if anyone there spoke English to which she said "yes, I do." She stood there looking at us and Clyde asked her again what had been done to the vehicle, expecting an answer in English since she said she spoke it. Flustered she began to answer in Spanish and then apologized that her English was not too good.

So to make a long story short, we sat there for five hours only to find out that they didn't fix the problem that we brought the car in for. Instead they found another problem that they did fix for free. The sensor had to be ordered and they said it would be in today. We made another appointment for tomorrow to have the sensor replaced at a cost of just under $400.

So manaña once again we head into the grid-lock, chaos, and craziness they call Panama City. They assured us that the part would be there and that it would take only one hour to be installed. But since this is Panamá we expect our wait time to be several hours. Because after all nothing happens fast here since this whole world seems to run in slow motion. Nothing really has to be accomplished today because there's always manaña....along the gringo trail.

1 comment:

  1. The last time I took my car in for two things, I made sure to drop it off--only one thing was fixed (Ray picked up car, and they neglected to tell him this). I thought a part had been replaced and it hadn't. The dealer called with the "your part is in" message weeks later. I took it in for an hour appt and it took five hrs and thirty mins, then they gave me a rental and it took five days! I felt your pain that you sat there (I too had my computer, Kindle, newspaper, etc knowing it wouldn't just be one hr but not knowing it would be five plus and not get done), BUT the Spanish part would be super frustrating. I better get ready! (Oh, glad they knew about the recall down there in Central America lol)


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