August 2008 Archives

dorschel's dreadful difference redux

| 1 Comment

For some reason, my recent entry detailing my miserable experience at Dorschel Scion has disappeared from Google's index. The rest of my site is there, but that one entry no longer appears in any searches, even for the exact entry name, even when I limit it to my site only.

Bizarre. I've posted a query to a Google discussion group about how that might have happened, but in the meantime I'm posting this pointer entry that perhaps will be picked up by the next crawl.

I can haz page back?




And yes, we love it.

dorschel's dreadful difference


Remember my excited post nearly two weeks ago about how we'd ordered our new Scion Xb? I was fully expecting that I'd be posting photos and reviews of it by now, but no. We made the mistake of trusting a car salesman. We've done that before, with our Honda salesperson at John Holtz Honda, and weren't disappointed at all. But Dorschel, which advertises itself with the line "The Dorschel Difference" was indeed different. Just not in a good way.

When we ordered the car, we were told that it was at the Port of New York, and that it would take about a week to get here. A week later, I called and asked about the status and the salesman told me that it would be here "any day." On Wednesday, I stopped in at the Scion dealership and he apologetically said it was now due to arrive in a window between the 20th and the 23rd. Nobody there claimed to be able to tell with any more specificity where the car was--which I find really difficult to believe. These days, with computerized inventory and GPS tracking, you can't tell me that Scion doesn't know exactly where every single one of its cars is.

While I was there, I asked him how long it would take after it arrived on the lot for us to be able to take ownership of the car. "Just a few hours" he told me. When I pressed him on that, asking about things like the options we'd ordered, he assured me that those were pre-installed at the Port, where Scion has a facility for that purpose, and that only cosmetic things like mudflaps (which we hadn't ordered) needed to be done at the dealership.

Since today is the 23rd, Gerald went back down to the dealership to find out where the car was. "Still not here" the manager told him, checking the computer and the paperwork. But another salesman who was on his way out to the back lot said he'd check to see if it had been delivered. And surprise, surprise...there it was! "Just off the truck" they said. Yeah, right. Nobody noticed a delivery truck arriving that morning? I have to wonder how long it had really been sitting there.

So, that meant we got it this afternoon, right? Nope. They said we couldn't get it until Monday, because they hadn't bothered to contact our insurance company and get the paperwork they needed for the plates (they couldn't have done this earlier?). Gerald made an appointment for Monday afternoon, and mentioned to the manager that I'd been on the brink of writing a scathing blog post for a site that has quite a few Rochester readers, but that since they'd given us a firm day and time I probably wouldn't do so (to his credit, the manager seemed to get that this would be a bad thing).

An hour after Gerald got home, I got a call from our salesman, who told me he had some "bad news." Turns out that the car was not delivered with the options we'd paid for (nav system, xm radio, remote start) and that it would all have to be installed here, and that they don't actually have all the parts in stock. As a result, WEDNESDAY would be the earliest we could get it. I lost my temper at that point, told him that this had been the worst car buying experience I'd ever had (which is both true and saying a lot), and handed the phone to Gerald, who was so aggravated by the end of the conversation (in which the only apology he got from the salesperson was "I'm sorry you feel this way") that he got back in our car and headed back to the dealership.

The manager there was apparently very apologetic, took full responsibility, told us we could get our deposit back if we wanted to go elsewhere, and promised to be the only point of contact we'd need to deal with from here on in. But we're still looking at Wednesday as the earliest we'll get the damned car. Because we got our financing through the credit union, and it's tied to the VIN, it will be a huge pain in the ass to redo that for a different car.

You'd think, with all of this, they'd be doing something to make us feel better. Offer us free cargo mats, or a gift certificate for dinner out, or some gesture that recognizes how frustrating and inconvenient this is for us. But no. Just excuses (from the salesman) and head-hanging apologies (from the manager).

Did I mention that we have to turn in our current leased vehicle on Monday, leaving us carless? The manager did offer Gerald a car to drive Monday while we wait, so there is that. One small point in their favor.

So I'm turning to the Internets to vent about this experience. My advice to you? Don't shop at Dorschel. There are two other Toyota/Scion dealerships in Rochester, Hoselton and Vanderstyne, so you could always try them. Or if your heart's not set on a Toyota vehicle, we've had very good experiences with the folks at John Holtz Honda, just down the road from Dorschel.

(In case you're wondering why I'm linking to the dealership above, I'm not. Those are links to the Edmunds and Yelp review pages for Dorschel, where I just reviews. It was the first thing that's really spurred me to sign up for a Yelp account, but I think I'll start populating the Rochester directory with more reviews, including those for places we like. :)


Update, 9/26: You'd think that maybe this post might have spurred an improvement in customer service, right? Hahahahaha. Today the salesman called the house (this after the manager had assured Gerald that he would be our only point of contact from now on), to confirm what options we'd ordered for the car. Why did he need to confirm these with us? Wouldn't you think that he'd still have the paperwork from when we ordered the car? Which you do on the website, with the salesman right there, and which he then prints out and staples to the order? I guess not. Even better, when Gerald said that we'd ordered the remote start the salesman said that was "the first he'd heard about that."

I was already not in the best of moods, having spent the morning running errands instead of getting needed work done, so I pulled into the dealership on my way home and marched in--only to be met with a shit-eating grin from the salesman who wanted to know how he could help me. I told him I wanted to talk to the manager, and he disappeared into the back room for more than five minutes. (On what planet is it a good idea to leave an irate customer stewing alone in the middle of your showroom, getting angrier by the second?) When he reappeared, he told me the manager wasn't in, and wouldn't be available for at least an hour. "So what were you doing back there all that time?" I asked, incredulously. He told me some story about having to wait for another manager to be done talking to a customer before he could find anything out. Then asked if he could help with anything.

I told him that given that he didn't even know what options we'd ordered, it seemed unlikely he could be helpful, and he at that point tried to put all the blame for anything that had gone wrong on another Dorschel salesman we'd included in the deal, a friend of Gerald's and Erin's. I pointed out that he had been the one to assure me that all options would already be installed when the car arrived, and he then had the gall to deny that he'd ever said that. I offered to bring my 11-year-old in, to report on exactly what he had heard that day, and he then told me that he was "sorry that I was confused about what had happened." That's when I lost it, and used some choice language to describe what I thought about his "apology."

Funny...when you start swearing (loudly) in the showroom, managers start popping out of the woodwork. So I ended up telling the whole story, again, to another sales manager. She went and found the car, brought it up front so I could see it was really there, and talked to the garage about whether the parts were in. She claims the installation will happen tomorrow morning, and that we'll have the car by lunchtime. I have meetings from 9-1 and 2-4 tomorrow, which makes it really difficult for me to pick anything up at lunchtime; it will have to wait until late afternoon. (I could cancel the 12-1 meeting, but I'm sure as hell not doing that based on "estimates" by the dealership.)

I do understand that dealerships don't always have control over delivery dates. The lateness is inconvenient, but that's not the real problem here. The real problem is the compulsive lying and evasion and failure to acknowledge any error on their part of the sales staff-- in particular John Marriotti (sp?), the Scion salesman who told us that it was at the port and would be here within a week and would arrive fully configured with all options (and who then denied that and accused me of being "confused"), and the general sales manager, John Anscom, who assured Gerald that he would be our only point of contact moving forward but who still let the Scion salesman call us this morning and deal with me when I came in.

shangri-la chronicles

| No Comments

Inspired by a re-reading of this post by Kathy Sierra, I've decided to give the Shangri-La Diet a try.

It may be total hocus-pocus, but I don't really see a down side to giving it a try; taking a few tablespoons a day of extra-light olive oil or flaxseed oil isn't going to hurt me (in fact, both offer health benefits), and the potential for positive improvements in my eating habits is pretty significant.

Rather than clutter my blog or Twitter feed with updates, I'm starting a separate blog to track how this works for me, both in terms of how I feel and what I weigh. It's called Shangri-La Chronicles.

busy buddies

| No Comments

I'm a deeply social creature. I work better, play better, think better when I'm with other people. I learn best from examples, and work complex ideas out best when talking or writing about them to someone else.

So it's no surprise to me that Weez's return to Rochester has spurred all kinds of positive behaviors in me. First, there was the pact to get healthier together, spurred by a bit of competitive spirit. (The regular gym meeting time that she invited me to via Exchange is entitled "To 125"!) Every time I'm tempted to say yes to a milkshake from McD's, or a second helping of dinner, I think "125" and it's much easier to just say no.

Now, I find myself inspired by her kitchen cleanup. Our fridge actually gets cleaned out pretty regularly, but the pantry...not so much. Yesterday I tackled that challenge, and ended up throwing away 2.5 kitchen garbage bags full of expired/empty/stale/unwanted items. (Who knew we had three jars of Marshmallow Fluff? Or four more boxes of Macaroni and Cheese?)

pimpin' our ride


The 3-year lease on our Subaru B9 Tribeca is up this month. Actually, it was up last month, and we had planned to extend it for another 6-12 months, but Subaru wouldn't let us extend it for more than one month. Seems's not like used SUVs are flying off the lots these days, so it would have made more sense for them to let us hold onto it for a while.

So a few weeks ago we started the process of researching new cars. We had a couple of requirements--it had to be comfortable for both me (4'11") and Gerald (5'11") to drive, it had to have a good-sized back seat for the boys (Lane's already 5'7"), it had to have room in the back for the dog (that ruled out sedans, despite one of the boys suggesting that she could ride in the trunk), it had to get better gas mileage than the Tribeca (not a very high bar), and it had to be affordable for us to buy rather than lease.

We test drove two cars--the Scion Xb, and the Pontiac Vibe--and liked them both. They're both made by Toyota, and use identical 2.4 liter Camry engines, so it's not a huge surprise that they were comparable to drive. After giving it some thinking time, we decided that since we liked them both, there was no reason not to go with the Scion, which cost $3000 less, and to add some bells and whistles to it since it would still be affordable.

On Monday we drove down to the Scion dealership and put a deposit down on the first new car we've purchased as a couple (we've leased some new cars, but not bought one). What we ordered was an Xb in the quite elegant "Blackberry Crush" color, with an automatic transmission, built-in touchscreen navigation system, XM satellite radio, and remote engine start (we do live in the great white north, where remote start is particularly wonderful).

The car we put the deposit on is about a week away, which gives us time to get financing through the RIT credit union (much better rate than we can get through Scion).

Here's what the car will look like, courtesy of the Scion site:

Scion xB in Blackberry Crush

The Xb has always proudly proclaimed its boxiness and iconocastic "ugliness." They had an ad running in the dealership listing pros and cons of the car--cons were "Boxy. Ugly. People will stare." Pros were "Boxy. Ugly. People will stare." :) But the earlier models of the Scion were a lot boxier and a lot uglier than the 2008 and 2009 models. They've softened the edges, particularly in the back, so it doesn't look so much like a cheap delivery van. I actually rather like the new design, and I like the interior even more (especially the dedicated iPod connector that allows you to control your iPod using the touchscreen stereo).

Owner reviews of the 2009 (and 2008) model on are uniformly positive, and people are consistently getting combined city/highway mileage of 26-28mpg, which is substantially higher than the Tribeca gets. (And the Tribeca requires premium fuel, which increases the operating cost even more.)

We're excited! More on this when the car arrives in our driveway...

summer to fall transition time

| 1 Comment

It's that time of year again. Faculty are slightly more visible in the hallways of my building. Emails and calendar invites from RIT addresses are starting to pick up. I've had to put my fall schedule into my Exchange calendar to coordinate committee meetings and upcoming travel. As Gerald put it the other day, when we had a blessedly cool morning after weeks of heat, "summer has broken." (And then I had Cat Stevens playing in my head all day, which was maddening.)

Today I got a message from one of our administrative staff reminding us that orientation for freshmen is only two weeks away. Eek!

So today I'm in the office. Elouise and I (and Lane) went to the gym this morning, and now Lane and I are in my office, where I'm actually starting to think about things like classes and the lab and such. Easing into it slowly, though, which is better than trying to cram it all in a week in advance.

Stay tuned soon for an announcement of the all new LSC website, with a beautiful design by my students. We had hoped to have a Drupal-driven version ready, but it turns out Drupal is insanely hard. (Any Drupal experts on campus want to make some money doing a few hours of tutoring?) So we'll launch the static version, and then work on getting it transferred to the super-cool-dynamic-flexible Drupal version asap.

And perhaps this means that my summer stupor is lifting, and I'll be blogging a bit more :)

new WoW recruit-a-friend campaign


If you've been thinking about trying out WoW, now's the time to do it. Blizzard is running a new promotion that will allow you to start playing with a friend who already has an account--the friend with an existing account will get a really nice in-game gift, and both of you will be able to level your characters 3x as fast when you're grouped together.

This addresses a long-standing problem with the game, which is the lack of a "sidekick" mode to allow people with high level characters to engage with friends whose characters are newer.

If this is the thing that "turns" you, I'd be very grateful if you'd let me be your referrer; in return, I'll happily quest with you to get you leveled up quickly. Just let me know which email you want the referral code sent to.

accidental blog vacation

| No Comments

Whoops! Has it really been over a month since I posted? Sorry about that...

For those of you who were worried (several of whom emailed me), I'm fine. I spent most of July alternating between frantic work and complete relaxation, and somehow along the way I just forgot to blog. I was updating Twitter on a regular basis, but that reaches a much smaller audience (intentionally; Twitter is one of the few social sites that I've actively restricted to keep it intimate).

I've starting drafting a couple of new blog posts, however, and since I won't be traveling at all in August (w00t!) I'll probably have a chance to write a bit more.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2008 is the previous archive.

September 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Category Archives