Categotry Archives: Rockford

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Dear LubePro’s

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Categories: Rockford, Uncategorized, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The following is a copy of the letter I’m sending to LubePro’s President & CEO Ray Keating regarding an unfortunate customer service experience. My personal information has been redacted. Even if you don’t live in an area with a LubePro’s location, it’s worth a read in my opinion. Read it and weep (for the state of our civilization):

Ray Keating

President & CEO

LubePro’s International

1740 S Bell School Road

Cherry Valley, IL 61016

Dear Mr. Keating:

I write you today to inform you of the most appalling example of customer service and professionalism at your company’s location in Rockford, Illinois at 1701 E Riverside Blvd. Before I do, allow me to provide some background on my vehicle and me.

I purchased my 1999 Chevrolet Malibu used, with 35,000 miles on the odometer. In the years I’ve owned it, my oil change and minor maintenance needs have been met by various LubePro’s facilities in and around the Rockford area. With very few exceptions, LubePro’s have been my only provider of oil and lube services. I’m certain a quick scan of your records under my license plate number (redacted) will confirm this. Today, my vehicle has over 184,000 miles. In the near-decade I’ve owned my car, I’ve spent thousands of dollars with your company.

On Saturday, 28 August 2010 I was prepared to spend more money with your company. The serpentine belt on the aforementioned Malibu had slipped. Remembering serpentine belts are one of the items LubePro’s services, I called the location nearest my home to verify they could do the work. I was told only some vehicles could be serviced. Desperate to have my car working before my 70-mile commute on Monday, I gave the make, model and year for my car and was reassured that my vehicle could be serviced by LubePro’s. I then contacted my auto club to arrange to have my car towed.

Upon arrival at the LubePro’s on Riverside, one of the technicians climbed on the tow truck’s bed to look under the Malibu’s hood. After an examination that lasted less than thirty seconds, he returned to tell me that LubePro’s would not be able to replace the belt after all. I was irritated. I questioned the technician, telling him that I had called a half hour earlier to see if the work could be done. He gave the pre-packaged line “we can only service some vehicles.” I confronted the technician, now rather upset, with the fact that I had provided the year, make and model of my car and was told it wouldn’t be a problem to work on. His response was flippant and uninterested. I had, by this time, decided that LubePro’s obviously didn’t care to retain me as a customer, and I told the tech the company would lose my business. His response was a dismissive wave and the word “Peace.” The only person in a white shirt (the manager-on-duty, I presume) was well within earshot of our exchange.

While your employee’s callous disregard for me as a customer was frustrating and disappointing, it was routine lack of professionalism. What happened next, however, went beyond poor customer service by degrees I can’t even measure.

I was fortunate a general mechanic with a shop in the same strip mall as your LubePro’s facility happened to be working that Saturday. As I arranged to have the work done on my car by this other mechanic, my wife waited in her car nearby. I finalized the arrangements and my wife and I prepared to leave. It was then she informed me the technician from before had cast menacing glares at us from within the LubePro’s building while he worked. My wife told me she didn’t feel comfortable with my car so close to your company’s facility and the hostile employees therein. I reassured her that everything would be fine.

We left the strip mall and were stopped at the intersection of Alpine Road and Riverside Boulevard, heading northbound, a short distance away from the LubePro’s location. My wife glanced over and saw the same technician outside the building, still in uniform, apparently on a cigarette break. He noticed us too, and clearly raised his middle finger at us.

I was, and still am, shocked and appalled. This employee’s callous disregard for my wife and me, not only as customers, but as human beings, is astounding. Words fail to express how offended, stupefied and angry I am over this incident. Furthermore, this technician’s conduct calls into question the quality and safety of LubePro’s previous work on my vehicle. The lack of intercession by the manager-on-duty is an indictment of the organization as a whole. I would have returned to confront the employee and manager in question, except I truly felt doing so would have put my safety in jeopardy. The hateful look and behavior of the technician lead me to believe he was a person not above resorting to violence when confronted.

Not once was I offered a satisfactory explanation as to why I was given incorrect information over the phone, if indeed I was. I suspect, based on the behavior of the LubePro’s employees, that they simply did not wish to perform the requested service on my vehicle. Not once was I offered an apology by management for the rude and discourteous treatment I received from the technician who “examined” my car. I wish I could provide you with the names of the employees in question, but I cannot. I can tell you the incident occurred around 2:30 PM.

Your website says, “We are well known for our professional, well-trained, friendly staff, and our efficient operation. Customers appreciate our professionalism, which is why they keep coming back for our renowned 10-minute oil change and our thorough 21-point inspection.” I do appreciate professionalism and that is one of the reasons I have been a repeat customer of your company over the years. However, this incident has made me question if LubePro’s truly believes in professional, courteous service.

If I am mistaken, you are free to contact me via postal or electronic mail; I’ve included my addresses below. Thank you for your time. Sincerely,

Darius McCaskey

redacted 

CC: Better Business Bureau

CC: Insider Pages

CC: Yelp

CC: Facebook

CC: Twitter

CC: Blog

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My Favorite Malkavian

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Categories: LARP, Randomness, Rockford, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday, at work, I was listening to the song Fade to Black by Metallica and nearly broke down in tears. That song reminds me of my friend, Jamy Schumm, who died nearly ten years ago. I don’t know exactly why this particular day, and this particular listening, choked me up; I’ve heard that song several times in the past decade. Still, there I was, sitting at my desk, trying to stifle a sob.

Jamy died in November of 2000, shortly after his 28th birthday. I remember there was some controversy surrounding his death when it happened. Some people thought he fell; some thought he was pushed; the official verdict was that he jumped from a parking garage in downtown Rockford. How he died does not change the fact that he’s gone, however. It also does not change how much I miss him.

I will not pretend that Jamy and I were very close friends. Many people knew him far better than I. Many people suffered his loss more profoundly than I. Jamy’s death did, however, affect me deeply. I was twenty years old when Jamy died. I thought, in some unconscious way, that I would live forever: that everyone I knew would live eternally. Jamy was among those everliving fixtures of my universe. We gamed together, and hung out at That One Place (erstwhile coffee shop extraordinaire) together. We shared laughs, and tried to solve the world’s problems, as twenty-somethings oft do, over a cup of Joe.

I really started getting to know Jamy when we were players in the Vampire: the Masquerade LARP held weekly at That One Place. Jamy was one of the core players in that game. In fact, he’s one of the finest role-players I’ve ever had the pleasure of gaming with. His Malkavian character was so well-played and central to that game, I can’t even remember his name: (though there were other Malks in the game) we always just called him “The Malkavian.” I don’t know if it was a true gift for drama or his own inner torment, but his characterization of insanity was honestly disturbing to watch at times. I think it was a bit of both.

I wish that I would have had the chance to get to know Jamy better. I bet he was even cooler than I thought. I wish that Jamy knew how many people truly cared for him. I bet he’d still be here if he did. I wish that he were still here to meet my daughter. I bet he would’ve been great with kids. I wish he could’ve been at my wedding. I bet his costume for the reception would’ve been awesome.

But wishes don’t bring people back from the dead, except in movies and games. Instead, I’ll wish that everyone who knew Jamy, even in passing, would keep his memory alive. It sounds cliché, but it’s true: in your heart, he’ll never die. If you knew Jamy Schumm and want to share a story, please do. I’ll keep the comments on this post open forever. It’s the least I can do.
 
Rest in peace, my favorite Malkavian. You are sorely missed.

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Night on Roxbury

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Categories: Rockford

For those of you not living in the greater Rockford area, many of the details of this post will be lost on you. I hope you at least take something away about the human condition.
Last night I had to take my mom back to her car after being at St. Anthony’s Hospital. My mom works on McFarland Road, so the fastest route is Roxbury to Guilford to Perryville.
By way of backstory, several years ago, the privileged residents on Roxbury lobbied to have speed humps installed on their street to cut down on speeding traffic through their neighborhood. They were successful.
The first time I drove down Roxbury after the speed humps were installed, I drove over the first one at the recommended speed of 15 miles per hour. I bottomed out my 1999 Chevy Malibu. In fact, to this day the plastic shield under my engine is cracked.
I decided for myself that the idea of people having speed humps that large on a street where the speed limit is only 25 was a bit ridiculous. I began my campaign of civil disobedience that very day.
Now, when I drive down Roxbury (which isn’t very often), I slow to about 5 mph to go over the humps, then immediately accelerate to 25 as fast as I can while laying on the horn until I reach the next speed hump. I’ll admit that this is a dick move on my part, but I cannot abide by people with money using that money to get what they want at the expense of the populace at large. If you’re on the northeast side of Rockford, many times Roxbury would be the quickest route for an ambulance to take to get you to St. Anthony’s. Now the ambulances are forced into a longer, more congested route because they cannot drive down Roxbury.
Back to last night: I once again engaged in my standard practice while transporting my mom to her car. This was at about 7 PM, well before Rockford’s noise ordinance goes into effect. Upon reaching the stop sign at Roxbury and Guilford, a man rushed my car and attempted to open my driver’s side door, screaming profanities. I quickly yanked the door back shut and locked it, at which time this “gentleman” advised me that I’d better “keep on moving.” I put my car in park.
I don’t know if this guy was in a car behind me or if he was a disgruntled resident, but he quickly faded back into the night and whatever rock he crawled out from underneath. Either way, the incident ended and I proceeded to turn on to Guilford. Civil disobedience = 1, stupid citizens = 0.
I will once again freely confess that what I do on Roxbury is a dick move. It may even be a misdemeanor disturbing the peace. Yanking open a car door and threatening someone is, last time I checked, assault. What’s more, it’s stupid. If I had a gun in my car, I may have shot this man. If I had a knife, I may have stabbed him. I was incredibly startled by his attempt to force his way into my conveyance.
The next time you drive down Roxbury between State Street and Guilford Road, think of the people that live there. Think of the ridiculously slow speed limit and the ridiculously large speed humps. And think of the sheer insanity the sound of your car horn can cause.
Have a wonderful night on Roxbury.

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Time Flies…

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Categories: Blackhawks, Cold Sun, DDO, Hockey, IceHogs, OGL, Rockford, Shadowrun

So, it’s been almost three months since I posted a new blog entry. “WTF?” you might ask. Truth is, several things have kept me from the bliggity-blog page:

  1. Dungeons & Dragons Online is now free to play! Come join me on the Khyber server. My characters are named Mana Starfire and Iocasta. I usually play a few nights during the week, after I put Muirne to sleep (around 7:30 CST).
  2. I am playing virtually in a Shadowrun 4th Edition game run by my friend, Alex Rodriguez (not the basball player). Using a PHPbb message board, all of the game’s legwork and downtime activities are managed without using up valuable time at the gaming table on Sundays. This is a great idea and I’m glad to be able to get my tabletop gaming on without actually being at the table.
  3. Cold Sun is almost ready for alpha testing. What is Cold Sun? Cold Sun is my first solo attempt at a tabletop RPG. It’s a post-catastrophic contemporary setting, in which mankind’s hubris is proving to be his downfall. The struggle to survive against the forces of nature and man is the focal point of the game. The system is based on the 3.5 OGL SRD from Wizards of the Coast. Veteran 3.5 players will recognize the nuts and bolts under the hood, but the system’s far more flexible and intuitive than standard d20.
  4. Hockey season has started! Woot! As a matter of fact, I had the chance to go to my first Rockford IceHogs game of the season last Saturday. It was a great game (after the first period) with multiple fights, close scoring chances, an overtime and a 9 round shootout! The Blackhawks aren’t looking too bad either, if you ignore the goaltending crisis that seems to be shaping up. I hope Cristobal Huet can pull it together and start putting up some numbers. Ce qui la baise, Chris?
  5. And, of course, all the other various and sundry bits of modern life.

I will endeavour to be more timely with my blogging going forward. After all, I’ve got a game to start building Internet buzz on! 🙂