On the road to cranky town, but not sure which fork to take

As I approach old cranky curmudgeonhood, I want life to be easer. Perhaps if it is, I will my slide down this slope will be slower. But these people AREN’T HELPING!

The other day I visited Viper’s web-site. They produce car accessories – including a wireless start system so I can get my car started and heating up before I have to go outside and get into it. There’s an option to “Build My System” that I filled out, and it asks me a series of questions including my name and email address, make model and year of my car, and what functions I want to be able to control remotely. For me that was starting it, and unlocking doors (this so I don’t have to ALSO carry around the original car fob in addition to the Viper one). Then it asks my zip code so if can refer me to a local dealer, with the promise the dealer will send me a quote for the purchase and installation.

The next day I get an email from the local dealer “Hello (they don’t even use my name)… We’re glad to hear you’re interested in a Viper product. We’ve been representing them for more than 20 years … blah blah blah …” No indication they have anything at all from Viper except my email address. No quote, no questions asking for more information, just an invitation to give them a call and discuss my needs.

And my ire is raised! Why did I spend all this time answering questions if I’m going to have to answer them again before I even get a quote? Did Viper not send any other information to the dealer? Did the dealer just blow off what they were supposed to do, which according to Viper is send me a quote? I don’t even know who to blame, except definitely not ME.

So I send a complaint back to the Viper website, and I reply to the dealer email asking why I don’t have a quote. I’ve gotten a generic auto-response from Viper, which has assigned it a “case number”, so presumably there will be some future response from them. The dealer – who knows if they will respond at all?

Please Og, just let me know who is the best target for my ire and ranting.

Fork 'em all, I say.

No, it’s definitely You, for expecting the local guy to spend a lot of time thinking about helping you when you jump straight to being pissed off that he hasn’t already solved all your problems.

And then, instead of doing something productive, you wrote to us, telling us all about the situation, rather than just answering the guy’s email and telling him about the situation. Only one of those things will get you what you want. You chose the wrong one, where, if you’d chosen to just have a simple exchange with the same amount of energy, you would be further toward your goal.

Then you went out of your way to make it an even bigger problem, by contacting Viper to complain about a guy who you’re hoping to have work on your car. That’s sure to result in excellent service and top notch workmanship!

Next time, don’t take the Shouty Fork. It leads straight into the Molasses Swamp.

I already told them about the fucking situation. I told them what car I have, and what functions I want. I provided a bunch of information to Viper – all they asked for. Maybe they didn’t ask for enough – then the local place might have asked for whatever they were lacking.

But the website clearly said I would get a quote, and I clearly didn’t. I’ve got no indication that all the information I gave them has been used for anything at all.

Ironically I suppose, one of the most likely things to get me into cranky assed mode is somebody being cranky assed for no good reason. That’s why the EX is the EX.

I’m with you, Boyo Jim. That would have pissed me off, too.

My path to Cranky Town is lined with websites for presumably “professional” businesses or government agencies that have clearly been designed and programmed by 10-year-olds during summer vacation. The Viper one you dealt with might have been one.

Here’s an especially egregious example: last year I was applying to grants for the nonprofit I was volunteering with. One was offered by one of the major dog food companies with a reasonable website, so you’d think they’d, you know, know what they were doing. The grant portion of their website said they offered different grants but you had to pick which one you wanted to apply for without any explanation of the differences between them. Then it led you through a one-question-per-page application process. It was seriously like this:

<new page>
<new page>
amount applying for:
<new page>
justification for request?
<new page>
what will you use the money for?
<new page>
are you a 501c3?
<new page>
are you a 501c4?
<new page>

etc. I aborted the thing on about page 25 with no end in sight. It’s not that I wasn’t willing to work for the money. It’s that there is NO FUCKING REASON to have one yes/no question per web page!

You say that like you expect your missive to be engraved on marble tablets and wafted to your local mechanic by flying monkeys.

It’s just a stupid web form on a stupid website. It’s monitored by some peon in PR who forwards the message to a guy he’s probably never even met, who happens to match your zip code, and who, so far, doesn’t even really know if you’re even a real human being and not a web-form ganking bot, but does know that you’re going to be a complete pain in the ass if he doesn’t psychically solve all your problems.

You filled out a web form. Who even cares? You keep saying that like it denotes some actual pain and suffering on your end. Of course the kid at the other end hasn’t done any actual work. How is he supposed to know that you have a drivers license, much less an accurately described car, even much less a functioning credit card to pay for all this?

You were promised a quote - and I’m sure you will get your quote, once you sit down and use your indoor voice, and generally act like a grown up who is having a grown up conversation without banging your cane on the desk and threatening to call in the owners.

Boyo Jim,
You took a wrong turn when you assumed the reason they asked you about the car make and model, year, and the features you wanted was so they could provide an accurate quote. The reason they asked you these questions was market research. You see, in the old days, finding out what your customers really wanted was very difficult. You had to contact people who actually used your product (or a similar one) and get them to tell you what they liked or disliked about it. This is even more difficult with Viper, since they only sell their products to third party installers.

But, with the wonder of the internet, those Marketing VPs don’t have to worry about doing all that work. They just set-up a web page that asks these questions from prospective customers. They send your e-mail address to the local installer and let him take care of whatever he decides to quote. They keep the marketing survey information because that stuff is like gold, hard to come by and very expensive. Your mistake was filling out that form as you probably would have received better service by just calling the local installer (like you would have done before the internet).

My local Subaru dealer.

“I’m interested in the deep sea blue Impreza.”

“We have a red one and a black one – when can we show you these?”

“Nah, I really want the blue”.

<silence till weeks later>

“We have a blue one coming in – when can we show you this?”

“I bought one from someone willing to sell me the car I wanted.”

I expect them to do what they promise to do. If they won’t,I won’t do business with them. I’m sure it won’t cause them any pain, but I understand that firebombing their headquarters would not be looked upon with favor by the authorities.

To answer the op, I would send a generic reply thanking them for wanting to do business with me and that I look forward to getting the quote promised me based on the information I already gave the website. Include the website.

The day after I sent emails to both the manufacturer and the local dealer, I got a personal reply from the owner of local dealership – apologetic, explaining that they get no detail from the manufacturers website, and asking a number of specific questions about my car and what functions I want. I went in and talked to the guy and I now have an appointment to bring in my car and have the work done.

Other than an immediate canned response from the manufacturer, I’ve heard nothing from them since day 1. Fortunately the local dealer offers several different brands of devices, and I picked one of the other brands.

Humbug, I tells ya.

I don’t mind taking the crotchety fork on occasion. I went to the bus stop the other day and one of our local precious snowflakes was sitting on the sidewalk, smoking a cigarette. There’s an ordinance against smoking at bus stops, train stations, etc. My wife politely said to her: “Hi. . .you know, I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to be smoking at bus stops.” Miss Entitled sighed heavily, got to her feet and said, rather snottily: “You know, you could have told me that in a nicer way.” I smiled at her and said, “Ya know, I’m pretty sure that you’re the asshole in this entire little micro-drama.” (which of course made me a co-asshole) She looked shocked, and whipped out her phone to, I’m sure, excoriate on Twitter the rude old fuckers who dared to challenge her. Like, whatever, dude.

This is the case with every phone call I make.

Robo-voice: “Please enter your account number” “Please state the reason for your call” “Please choose the department to transfer your call”

Human being: “Hi, can I have your account number please?” “Thanks, how can I help you today?”


My rage has reversed course again – against the local installer. They’ve killed my car! I got the remote installed today. It worked perfectly the first time, and now it won’t start AT ALL – either with the remote or the starter button in the car. I called the manufacturer’s support line and they predictably blamed the installer, but I’m pretty sure they’re right. The starter just clicks, no lights work, the stereo doesn’t come on … The support guy says they mis-installed it in some way that has entirely drained my battery.

Bastards! My car is just about exactly one month old. A 2016 Mazda3.