My two wheeler is giving me some switching trouble. Before I gave it for servicing it had a few problems, but not this one. The switch start was working perfectly. Now, those problems, that I mentioned to the customer care guy at the servicing station, have been taken care of. But, new problems have cropped up.
Of course, I am yet to ascertain whether the same thing happens with my car. But, car servicing being few and far between, it may take some time to ascertain it.
These are like the health problems I used to face during my childhood days. If I took medicine for loose motion, I got fever in lieu. If I took medicine for running nose, the disease ran away but not before switching baton with dry cough. Things became slightly better when I practised yoga and used ayurveda along with allopathic treatments.
But it is surprising that in line with my body’s reaction to allopathic medicines my vehicle too should develop side effects. What is more surprising is that this phenomenon is immune to the type of servicing centre you go to: authorised, unauthorised, local, known, unknown, reputed, or notorious.
I noticed this phenomenon after shifting to Bangalore. While in Coimbatore, I had a friendly owner of an authorised service centre. I don’t remember ever paying beyond three figures any time for the periodic service. But every time the vehicle came back from the servicing centre, it felt like a new one.
One of the perils of living in a city like Bengaluru is that (if you are not a techie) there are guys who earn US salaries to be spent in India. In comparison to them you are doubly disadvantaged. Thus, when a Bengaluean of the good old days, his own finances now on shaky grounds, is bitter about the IT guys, his grumbling definitely is on solid grounds.
This is what happened when I first gave my old motorcycle for servicing for the first time after coming to Bengaluru. It was an authorised service centre. Many vehicle were already in a long queue. Back in Coimbatore I don’t remember ever waiting in a queue for such a thing.
To test my patience further when my turn came after forty five minutes the customer care girl took a break. Of course to my relief she came back after five minutes. She looked at my face quickly noted down ten serious problems of the vehicle.
Then she was gracious enough to ask me, “Tell me, Sir, what are the problems?”
I said, “Look. My problem is that I don’t understand what an intelligent girl like you is doing here. You should open a face reading and astrology consultancy centre for celebrities.”
Luckily she did not understand. Or, pretended not have heard anything and repeated the question more politely, “Tell me, Sir, what are the problems?”
I asked her, “Can I see the list of problems you have noted down?”
“These are just routine things, Sir.” She was a little reluctant to show me the list.
I snatched the worksheet from her. After going through it, I said, “Change of rim and spokes.. anti rust coating… change of the .. you call these routine things? Anyway, you strike out these and write what I say.”
Reluctantly and after showing her disgust at my audacity in not taking here advice, she noted down my requirements.
I was to get back my vehicle at six in the evening. I reached there on time. Again I had to stand in a long queue at the billing counter.
I noticed that the guy at the billing counter, in stead of a proper bill, was handing out hand written chits. Nobody was complaining. People were just handing over whatever amount was asked for and going away without pausing even to check. May be IT Guys who did not think in terms of Rs. 3500/- , but mere 50 dollars.
In the morning I had been given an estimate of Rs. 3500/- . So I was shocked to see a bill of Rs. 6500/-. When I asked for a break up, from his jumbled answers, the only thing I could could make out was that the last item for the bill was for VAT and the penultimate item was labour charges. I had only one question. “How come you charge VAT on labour charges?”
As he fumbled for reply more customers came forward questioning the handwritten bill and demanding a detailed break up.
Things were turning out to be chaotic. The manager of the servicing centre stepped in and explained that there was a problem in the computer network and we were free to collect our vehicle the next day along with a proper bill. While some, with a little bit of grumbling, preferred to pay and take their vehicle immediately, I preferred to come the next day.
When I came next day morning to collect the vehicle I was pleasantly surprised to see that the printed out bill for me read Rs. 3790/-.
It was only later, after using my serviced vehicle for two to three days, that I realised I had got more side effects than I had bargained for. I went to the servicing centre ( to use Chetan Bhagat language) with six and a half problems and came back with eleven and a quarter.
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