While I was having a problem finding someone around to jump me the other night, I decided to buy a small, cheap battery charger to stick in the what-if box in the back of the car. Turned out it wasn’t the battery, but a bad starter, so the battery and connections were innocent this time and a charger wouldn’t have helped.
Still, I had a few minutes to kill between errands, so I pulled into the Advance Auto Parts store on North Kingshighway to see what they had in stock.
Something looked odd
The shelves looked unusually bare, and there were a couple of notices taped to the door.
For the record, Advance has been my go-to parts store for several years now. The folks who work there have been extraordinarily helpful. They’ve given me some good advice and talked me out of an expensive purchase when a cheaper one would work just as well.
A few years ago, my old van had to be jumped three times in two days, even though I was doing quite a bit of highway driving. The battery was one I had bought in Florida at another chain, and it still had some warranty left. Unfortunately the tester was broken at the Cape store; they could trade out the battery, but I’d still have to pay a substantial amount of difference, and I couldn’t be sure the battery was really the problem.
I drove into Advance, told them my problem and said that if it DID turn out to be a battery problem, then the odds were good that I’d have to buy the replacement from their competitor. After about 15 minutes of troubleshooting, we determined that the battery and alternator were fine, and that it was probably a faulty relay that was draining the charge. I replaced the relay and life was good.
Mother said they were great about replacing wiper blades and bulbs for her.
Sign delivers the bad news
“Store Closing November 7th. We will be closing at 6 p.m. effective immediately. We are sorry for any inconvenience,” the sign read.
“Does that sign mean you are changing your hours and closing at 6 p.m., or does this mean the STORE is closing?” I asked the clerk.
“It’s the store that’s closing tomorrow night. Corporate came in and said we were all laid off and to empty the shelves.”
“Your call is very important to us”
I decided to spend 9 minutes and 57 seconds of my life (most of it on hold listening to a recording telling me how “important” my call was to them) lodging a complaint with Advance’s customer service line.
I told the very nice young lady that I realized that there was nothing either she nor I could do, but I did want someone to know that I was an regular customer because of the great customer service I had gotten from the staff. Over the years, I had been impressed with the low turnover and the way my mother and I had been recognized when we came in. That’s what drew me back to Team #8175
Not that it’ll do any good, but the national customer service line number is 1-877-238-2623. There are at least two levels of menus to work through, and you’ll probably find out your call is “very important to us” before reaching a poor flack-catcher. Be nice to him or her. They aren’t the ones who put some nice folks out on the street.