We spent the better part of 3 days at the Holiday Rambler dealer in Wildwood. I’m glad to have the door lock repaired. Peg was freaking out about being locked out of ’the house.’ But we are happier to be out of there. The people (employees and customers both) were nice folks; but you can’t get away from the whining and complaining and then there’s also that patting one’s self on the back that you hear when strangers get together and people insist on telling you the whole long story of their life and all the wonderful things they have done — before you ever express any desire to listen.
Repair to the door lock was a complicated adjustment that required no new parts. That’s good. Others weren’t so fortunate. Seemed there were quite a few people waiting around for parts. (That was true in Oregon too — one couple there had waited 30 days before their insurance adjuster ever showed up to decide what parts to order.) Some couples had been waiting weeks for parts. One couple who had waited a week for parts, only to have the wrong parts arrive and now face an equal wait for the replacements. It’s times like this that schedules and RV’s prove to be mutually antagonistic. And it’s all the more reason to schedule your longer stays in conjunction with reliable service facilities to minimize it when you can.
We have had our share of ‘breakdowns’ over the past 4 years. Most of them have related to the Norcold (or Never-Cold) refrigerator which we finally replaced last December. In the past 12 months we have had the RV at a dealership three times. In Oregon to have some routine work done and some extended warranty stuff taken care of; then TriAm in January; now Alliance Coach. TriAm was a one day jaunt. Here our repair was only 2 hours of work that took 2 days to get into the shop. In the last year we also replaced our Microwave (after 11 years in service I don’t think of that as anything other than a worn out appliance) Similarly, replacing our Induction hob with a heavier-duty unit seemed to me nothing more than a cheap appliance that lived under heavy daily use for over three years and gave us a reasonable return on our minimal investment.
These things happen. Things break. Some repair centers are much better than others (I think we’ve visited more of the good than the bad). How we as customers and RV’ers handle these glitches along the Yellow Brick Road of RV living is up to us. And how we allow those repairs to affect our state-of-mind, is completely up to us. Listening to other customers in the waiting room might be a good reminder not to bore other people with my horror stories that kind of whining is also a cry for attention that gets old quickly. I try to be friendly when we’re in a waiting room with other customers but I really try to busy myself with something that will keep my head down and not making eye contact — to insulate myself from those conversations. Some people simply have nothing good or positive to say. And too many people confuse their dealer with whomever manufactured their motorhome. All RV’s are not created equal. Some brand seem to have more problems than others. It pays to do one’s research, and it pays to be spare about all the bells and whistles you want to put in your RV — the more you put in there, the more there is to break or malfunction.
Our first evening on the grounds one lady practically ran out of her coach whilst we were taking a walk around the grounds (and past her RV) to tell us all of the problems she had been having with her “brand new” coach. Her tale of horrors included having been there at the dealership for 5 months and a long list of things wrong with her coach and how she was going to sue the dealer …. yada, yada, yada. However, they had clearly not been there all that time. The sight of two primer-painted cargo bay doors gave away the fact that they had been off and running somewhere…. and crashing into something…
the meaning of the motto is
that a scout must prepare
himself by previous thinking out
and practicing how to act
on any accident or emergency
so that he is never taken by surprise.”
—Lord Robert Baden-Powell
(founder of the Boy Scouts of America)
A motto good for RV’ers too!
I can’t say enough about the dealership — their people were really good. I think it’s important to keep a dealership and the manufacturer in two separate categories in our head. Alliance, for example, sells 20 some product lines — no one can be intimately experienced with all the products manufactured by that many manufacturers. Depending on how much business a dealership does you can have qualified technicians working on lots of different systems and configurations — but you can’t be intimate with every single one of them.
There is also the reality that the dealer isn’t responsible for the manufacturer’s quality control. No matter how much we’d like to think that the dealer is going to prep the new RV for sale and fix/adjust anything that’s obvious on a unit as involved as an RV it’s not surprising when things get missed — or don’t show up until a few thousand miles have been driven on bumpy roads. A savvy dealer will deliver the most roadworthy RV possible — as a way of protecting their own reputation — but ultimately the quality of the coach is the responsibility of the manufacturer. And too often manufacturers cease to exist. A lot of us have RV’s or RV equipment that is basically obsolete — but we bought it at a really good price and we think it should be serviceable forever — don’t we? My point is simple: we develop expectations — sometimes they are reasonable, other times they are not. The seem reasonable to us, but we might have gotten ourselves into a situation because we bought something inadvisable because it was at a good price — and maybe not what we should have bought for our need.
I really do think that how we behave towards the dealership does affect how the dealership deals with us. I may be a little bit Yoda or Obi-Wan but sometimes we need to use the Force! I want the jobs I give to a dealer to be repaired right, the first time. There are lots of ways to interact with a dealership and I try to be easy to get along with — while gently pressing to get what I need. I keep my fangs hidden; I smile a lot; I try not to be overly demanding and I try to understand that things don’t always stay on track or on time. But I do keep gentle pressure applied and don’t let up. Perhaps most importantly — I try not to treat every project, or problem, or repair as an emergency. The sky isn’t always falling. As much as I might want to feel like it is. Dealers always have people with emergencies. Their customers tend not to show up when everything is fine and dandy. If I don’t have to be demanding most of the time that’s appreciated. And I don’t feel that being a little easy going ever results in being ignored.
It’s nice to be back at the campground. Our neighbors here are really nice. Seems we usually end up with pretty decent neighbors. We’re set up again. The RV will remain here until the toppers arrive and then we have to drive back to Ocala to have them installed. One more tear-down and one more set-up before we leave this place. We had about a week of quite pleasant temperatures — into the 70’s — now we have half a week of 60’s with lows in the 30’s & lower 40’s all over again.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.