Tuesday, 13 March 2012

My knight in shining armour

So today I was (partly) rescued by a knight in shining armour. By knight I mean Halfords employee, and my armour I mean t shirt... but you get my drift.

My little car has been the cause of much unrest these last few years, due to the fact that it has a major oil leak. Ever since we bought it in October 2010, it's leaked. Leaked and leaked and leaked. So much so, that now I can't even park it on my mother's pristine driveway - not so pristine anymore may I add. Anyway, when my oil light flashed on today I decided to tackle this one by myself. Usually I'd rely on my boyfriend or my Mum to sort it out, but with neither of them present it was all down to me.

Again, I say tackle by myself, this independence did involve a quick text to my Dad:
Where can I get oil? Which oil do I need? How much does it cost? Where does it go?
He replied with all the answers I needed, so off to Halfords Aimee and I went. Despite many an hour spent wandering around this shop with my Dad as a child, I decided I wasn't quite ready to locate the necessary aisle just yet. I was quickly sprung upon by a fella working there (haha - he obviously worked there, I wasn't just approached by a random stranger!) who showed me to the oil section.

After answering all his questions "Yes it's a Corsa... Yes it's a 52 plate... Yes it's a 1.2... And yes it's an SXI..." He determined the type I needed, handing me a 5 litre bottle and setting me back twenty two quid. When asked if he could put it in for me, he laughed. Before replying that he could, but it'd cost me another two quid - may as well since I'm already giving my debit card a battering today, I thought.

He followed me out to my tired little motor, and without prompting him he flipped the bonnet and began fiddling away. He located my tremendous leak the second he set his eyes on the engine, explaining I needed a new oil pressure sensor and rocker gasket cover. At this point he may as well have been speaking Chinese. I noted these items down nonetheless.

He explained he was a trained mechanic, who had walked out of his job before Christmas, and took up the position at Halfords to support his wife and two kids. Although it was pain-stakingly obvious he didn't enjoy his work there as much as his previous job, and he'd rather be laying under a greasy motor fiddling around with spanners and allen keys, "a job is a job" he said. I really felt for the guy. After telling us he knew all about this common problem that my car and a wealth of other Corsas have, he mentioned that he was a fully trained Vauxhall specialist. Handy, I thought.

Cue desperate puppy dog eyes, and a sly "Will I be able to fit these parts myself sir?"comment, and he offered to do the work for me. I noted exactly what parts I needed, and where to get them from, before taking his name and number. Kristian, with a K. I left feeling pretty smug that I'd manage to go to a man-shop, buy oil, put it in and organise for the problem to be looked at too.

Wow, this was a very independent day.

So off we went to Allwood's, a parts shop near my house. Managed to get through telling the bloke what I needed and paying for it, without looking like too much of a clueless woman. However, walking out leaving my parts on the desk probably reaffirmed their initial view that this was well out of my comfort zone.

I called Kristian after 5pm as he asked, and arranged for him to come over on Friday to fit the parts.

Today really has felt like such an independent day for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a very independent person, and the whole transition to uni - and having to do everything for myself - hasn't come as much of a shock to me. However, where my car is concerned I haven't previously had much to do with it's upkeep - apart from putting petrol in it and buying it a new air freshener every now and again - so today felt massive for me.

I also feel happy that instead of paying the usual garage a hefty fee for parts and labour, I have saved a few quid by going and getting the parts myself, and that I'll be putting a bit of extra cash in the pocket of a nice genuine bloke struggling to make end's meet for his family.

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