Two and a half years ago, shortly after picking up the motorhome following repairs made at Mr. Mobile RV in Florida, we took a rock from a passing semi to the windshield, leaving a noticeable divot in the passenger side. Knowing that Florida law requires insurance companies to cover all windshield repairs for vehicles registered in the state (with neither a deductible nor rate impact) we knew we could get it repaired, just as we had twice in the past, but that it might take some weeks to get the new glass, arrange the repair, and so forth.
We were not in a big hurry to do it, but when a couple of sales reps for a glass repair company talked to us at a weekly craft market and were willing to coordinate with our insurance company on the spot, we were convinced to proceed. What followed was a six-month odyssey of incompetence, mismanagement, and general delinquency by this unmentioned auto glass company. We had repair people come out only to realize they needed more tools, an extra person, or more parts. They rescheduled five times. It culminated months later when the third person from this company to come out for the same repair did some prep work on the seals, promised to return the next day for the full replacement, but then never showed or contacted us again.
Once COVID hit we sort of forgot about the whole thing, particularly once we got back on the road for real travel. But come this last summer we contacted Progressive Insurance to finally get the repair done, expecting to get some push back because of the just discussed fiasco, but they took the info they needed and put us in contact with their recommended specialty glass company right away. We coordinated the windshield glass order, arranged for delivery at our anticipated July location, and worked with them to select the closest repair shop, which turned out to be Louis Glass in Mt Vernon, Washington, just off Whidbey Island to the northeast.
So: after three weeks at NAS Whidbey Island’s Cliffside RV Park, we pulled chocks and headed north across Deception Pass and then onto the mainland. Though focused predominantly on car windshields, Louis Glass was well prepared for bigger vehicles; they had a section of their parking lot set up for oversized rigs, and even provided us an electrical connection and wifi during our stay. Since we arrived the night before, a tech was able to start on our rig first thing in the morning. The deed was done within perhaps two hours, though we stayed overnight to allows the glue to fully cure.
The ease and speed with which our Louis Glass man accomplished the removal and replacement rendered the months long clown show provided by the previous repair company even more bewildering. The contrast reminded me of an old AAMCO commercial where a frustrated car owner encounters ridiculous service headaches, culminating in a slack jawed dimwit exclaiming that he “always wanted to work on a transmission.” Lest you think this comparison a stretch, consider some of the comments and actions of the first company’s techs that came out for our repair:
- “Oh man, I’m gonna need a ladder for this one. Do you have one I can use?” Because, you see, each half of the windshield is four feet tall, nearly five feet long, and extends up over ten feet in height on our rig, something that was apparently completely unknown to this tech before arriving on scene.
- “I think we’ll need to reschedule until I can bring another person.” Again, because the size of the windshield being a complete mystery to this second tech before arrival.
- “I’ve never seen one that was glued in place.” Referring to the aforementioned giant windshield.
- I don’t have a quote for this, just imagine it starting with “Darlin’ ” or “Sweetie Pie” or some other vaguely southern, faux suave, caricature of office sexism, and proceeding for 20 minutes as this third tech flirted, on speaker phone, with his dispatcher/office person, seemingly for my benefit and amusement, which I safely assume based on the number of knowing winks he gave me during this painful-to-witness conversation.
Incidentally, a few asides originating from my casual research of the aforementioned AAMCO commercial, which, because I harbor no illusions about the reader demographics of this retired RVer couple’s blog, I believe most of you are certainly old enough to remember (even if, because of your ages, you don’t actually remember.)
- It was from 1984, the end of what some high-profile automotive writers refer to as the “malaise era” of US car production (i.e., a rough decade of crappy cars made by The Big Three, who were ever so slow to catch on to the new era of gas prices and foreign, quality-based competition.)
- Apparently, there was some sort of James Brolin connection to AAMCO that was casually ridiculed by late night comedians, particularly after his wedding to Barbara Streisand, which of course sent me down another google rabbit hole to figure out why.
- The Brolin-Streisand nuptials (and subsequent comedian references) occurred in 1998, yet I remember far better the AAMCO commercials from more than a decade previous, which says something, though I am not sure what, about memory, advertising, and celebrity. 6
Next up: Back to Whidbey Island, where we explore a new campground, Rhododendron Park.