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I should have bought the Superwash. (Not.)

12056 Views 9 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  monokitty
Today I filled my gas tank at the Petro-Canada station in the Signal Hill Centre location in Calgary.

As my Honda SUV needed a bath, I opted for the “Basic” wash ($7.99) I knew it would quickly get dirty again; I just wanted the current layer of dirt and salt washed off.

Immediately after going through the car wash, I drove to the Staples right next door to quickly pick up some supplies. When I got out of my vehicle I noticed that the back of the car was still quite dirty. It appeared as though the jets/brushes had not touched most of the back panel of the SUV.

No problem, I thought, Petro-Canada has a “No Hassle Guarantee. A GREAT Wash or a Re-wash”. That’s what the sign prominently posted at the exit of the automated car wash says.

So within 15-20 minutes, I was back at the Petro-Canada asking for a rewash. The clerk said that he would need to check my vehicle before issuing a rewash ticket. You know, to make sure that there weren’t any problems with the car wash. Uh huh, OK, no problem – check away.

My vehicle by this time had mostly, but not completely dried in Calgary’s dry climate. This caused 2 problems:

1. More dirt had become visible where it had dried, dripping down from the windows and mirrors. It also made the back look even worse than it did when I first spotted the problem.
2. Most of all, the clerk was concerned that I was trying to rip him off and get a free car wash after I had driven around all day getting my car dirty.

I asked him to check the time on my receipt. Yes, it was true; I really just had my car washed, despite the fact that it was mostly dry.

Before even seeing the back of the vehicle, he claimed that the dried dirt dripping down from the mirrors and windows was in the acceptable range for a “Basic “car wash. The car wash was indeed operating properly. I just ignored that and brought him around to see the back. Oh, OK, no question (in my mind) that something in the wash was definitely not functioning as intended.

Then he proceeds to tell me that I should have purchased the “Superwash” for an additional $2.00. (In reality it’s an extra $3, but who’s countin’?) He tells me that this is what he always recommends to all the car wash customers.

I explain to him that I just wanted the dirt & salt washed away…and besides, isn’t it a GOOD thing I didn’t get the Superwash because now all this dirt and salt would be stuck onto my car with wax.

I remind him of the no hassle guarantee and say that I would have been happy with a good wash, let alone a Great wash, but alas, I did not even get a good wash. Now, could I please have the re-wash ticket that I came back here for?

He grudgingly gives it to me, another basic wash ticket. As I am getting into my vehicle and about to back up, I notice that he is charging out of the station doors and striding towards me. I roll down my window.

“That ticket is only good for an hour! You must use it NOW or not at all!”

“Yes, I understand that.” I said, “I’m heading around back to the wash line up right now. Hopefully it doesn't take me an hour to get through it.”

After the rewash, I immediately get out of the vehicle and walk around behind to ensure that all the dirt has now been taken away. Nope, it’s slightly better, but mostly still visible there, although it’s dripping wet.

So I drive up and park by the door, find him and inform him that now he can come and see for himself that fresh out the car wash for a second time, the back of my vehicle is still dirty. He is visibly annoyed.

As soon as he sees the remaining dirt, he announces again that I should have purchased the Superwash. He recommends the Superwash to all his customers. Then he proceeds to tell me that hundreds of cars are washed here daily without issue. By this time, I’m getting irritated and I respond that I do not care about the hundreds; I care about this one. THIS one is not getting properly cleaned.

Again he tells me that this problem it is my fault because I should have purchased the Superwash. I tell him that if the wash guarantee only applied to those that purchase the Superwash, it should say so. It doesn’t. And I add that I can’t imagine that getting the Superwash would make much difference, except for the application of wax.

Oh YES, he emphatically explains, there are more water jets and more expensive, very expensive soap nozzles with the Superwash.... You. Should. Have. Bought. The. Superwash. (apparently, he thinks I’m just not grasping this fact)

While we are standing there having this discussion, my vehicle is drying and more dirt by the second is becoming visible. I point this out to him. He throws his hands angrily in the air and barks that he has to talk to his manager.

In about 10 minutes he comes out with a Superwash ticket. Your car will come out perfect now... It’s almost perfect now, he adds. You MUST use this right NOW. The 48 hour rain check guarantee does NOT apply.

Yeah, yeah, I got it.

So for the third time, I go through the Petro-Canada car wash - Superwash style.
At the end of it, I get out and check the back. You guessed it, it’s still dirty and yes, the grit & salt is now waxed to my car. How purdy.

The clerk comes over , this time with the wash attendant. Unbelievably, he explains that the remaining dirt (after 3 washes) is “acceptable” and how I can’t expect a perfect job.

“Perfect” was your word, I remind him, not mine. All I wanted was a good wash. Still, after 3 washes, one of which was the recommended Superwash, my car had significant and visible swathes of grit and dirt remaining on the rear panel, now sealed with wax.

I state for the last time, that obviously, there is something wrong with the car wash. It has cleaned the back of this vehicle acceptably in the past. Now it does not, even 3 washes later.

Then, in tandem with his wash operator, pointing to patches of dirt here and there and here, he continues to explain why the wash didn’t get those pieces and how this wash should be acceptable. I tell them that I’m done with this discussion as I’ve already wasted more time than it was worth.

Next time – I’ll just wash it myself at a coin-op.
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There was a lengthy editorial in the Vancouver Sun a couple of years ago about the general erosion of courtesy in the service industry. It sounds as if your experience would be "coals to Newcastle" if added to the examples in the article (coal being dirty and all).

Due to non-retractable antennae (and general cheapness), I haven't been through a carwash in at least a decade. Would they, under any circumstances, let you go through back-end first?
Kazak, there's a good idea. It just drags you through in neutral anyway, right?

I seem to remember they used to have a guy with a mop who would nail the back of the vehicle with a pre-wash.
I remember that, too.
I would have been happy to drive through in reverse if they would have allowed it, but I think not. I also have doubts whether it would have solved the problem. The front grill wasn't much better.

I would also have been happy to have the wash attendant swipe the back of my vehicle with a mop, just to loosen the dirt. While not a beater, I don't hold my vehicle in too high of a regard to get a mopping.

I think the fundamental problem here guys is that my understanding of "No Hassle" is different than Petro-Canada's use of the phrase. That's it. I just didn't understand, again.

Or, maybe it was a sign failure. They had all the right words on their car wash sign that read:

No Hassle Guarantee
A GREAT Wash or a Rewash

It just needed a bit of punctuation and reordering:

A GREAT Wash or a Rewash?
No. Guaranteed Hassle!

That would have certainly cleared up any misconception I had. I think I'll write to them to make that suggestion.
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I think it is your moral obligation to let everyone you know, at every opportunity, the name and address of that station and that they don't honour their word.

If you're feeling frisky, you might even invite a local TV reporter to ride with you and experience the magic himself. You'll probably find that they change their tune pretty quick.
I think it might be even more entertaining chas_m to invite Petro-Canada's/Suncor's chief Safety inspector for a ride along.

I didn't mention anything yet about the actions of the wash attendant in my already too long story. I believe the attendant was doing this to speed up the process as there was quite the line-up.

Instead of letting wash customers operate the wash ticket reader machine themselves (as usual) he would take your ticket at the start of the track and walk beside your vehicle as you drove up to the machine.

There was only a few inches between the machine and my mirror, and not much more between the machine and the side of my vehicle. Regardless, as we got to the machine he would then contort his body sideways and duck (To avoid getting clocked by the mirror) all the while staying between my vehicle and the machine. It was at this point, he would reach his hand up with the ticket to operate the machine.

As much as I was annoyed about the hassle, I didn't want to smear or pin the guy with my vehicle. I was nervous for him and would slow down considerably through this part of the pass. Every time I slowed, he would shout, "Keep going Ma'am, Keep Going!" Finally the track would engage my tires and I would be pulled into the wash. Unbelievable.

The safety inspector would have a litter of kittens. No question.
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That story made me laugh, though I do feel your pain. Automated car washes are usually brutally bad, even if you pick the best, most expensive wash option.
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