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So I was driving my daughter to school a few months back when I noticed a small crack in the windshield of my car. I didn't think too much of it, since it was pretty small and not in my direct field of vision. The cold spell we had in the Northeast in early February took care of that. Day after day of the windshield freezing and then rapidly heating thanks to the defroster caused the crack to grow and grow until it was easily halfway across the windshield. I decided I needed to do something about it.

I have full glass coverage on my car, so the whole process looked like it was going to be painless. In this, as in so many things I've told you about in my stories, I was completely mistaken.

I called my insurance company, USAA, to arrange the repair. For those of you who have access to USAA, it's a tremendous insurance company. Their service has been top notch every time I've needed them and their rates are fantastic.

Anyway, I called USAA and they gave me the number of the local Safelite Glass franchise to arrange the repair. They offered to do the repair at my house or my office if that would be more convenient for me than bringing the car to a shop. It was, and I arranged for them to come to my house one morning when I knew I would be working from home. With that, I figured the problem would be solved.

When will I learn?...

On the Monday they were scheduled to come, Connecticut got buried under 18" of snow. Clearly they weren't going to send their drivers out in that kind of snow and so they rescheduled for the following Wednesday. That was reasonable on their part, and I moved my schedule around so they could come to my house Wednesday afternoon.

I made sure I was home precisely at 1:00 on Wednesday. They had said they would be there between 1:00 and 5:00. I went about doing my work, making calls and following up on customer action items, not really paying attention to the clock. My wife and kids were up at her mothers for a 4 day visit, so I wasn't really tied to any schedule. Truth be told, I was looking forward to 4 days as a bachelor. Those of you who have kids will appreciate how golden 4 days of relative silence can be.

When I looked up from my work, it was 6:00. Strange, I would have figured they would have needed me to sign something certifying the work was done. I went down into the driveway to look at my car. There was the car, and there was the 3 foot crack in the windshield. Safelite had never showed.

Okay, so I had spent a day away from my customers for nothing. I called Safelite to reschedule.

"Yes", I began, "this is Steve. You were supposed to come to my house to change my windshield today. You never showed."

"Sir", said the Saelite lady, "You're the one who never showed. We were there and didn't find your car."

"umm, lady, I replied, "my driveway is a little long, but it's not so big that you could miss the only car parked in it."

"Well, sir", she countered, "The driver said you weren't there. We went to Farmington and your car wasn't there."

"Farmington?", I asked.

"Yes sir, Farmington.", she answered.

"Listen, Farmington is where I work. I live in Glastonbury. You guys were supposed to come to my house."

"Yes sir, I have it right here. We were supposed to come to your house in Farmington."

"No.", I said, "listen to me. My house is in Glastonbury. Your were supposed to come to my house in Glastonbury."

"Glastonbury?", she replied, "Your house is in Glastonbury?"


"Oh, I'm very sorry then. By all means, lets reschedule the appointment."


We set the next appointment for Saturday between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM. I hung around the house until the truck showed up at 11:45. The guys got to work immediately on my windshield. I figured the problem was solved and went back into the house.

About 10 minutes later, the doorbell rang. It was the glass guy.

"umm, sir...", he began, "We have a little problem."

Great, I thought, a little problem...

"What's the trouble?", I asked.

"Well", he replied, "It seems that dispatch sent us out with the wrong parts. The molding to hold in your windshield is a dealer item and we don't have one with us. We'll need to order it."

Heaving a sigh, I asked, "How long will that take?"

"Oh", he said, "not more than 3-4 days and then we can reschedule the replacement. But that's not the only problem..."

"What's the other problem?", I asked.

"Well, we sort of cut the existing molding, so you won't have a seal on your windshield until we get back."

"You 'sort of' cut the molding? I won't have a seal on my windshield? what am I supposed to do?", I asked, thinking these were all sensible questions.

"Well", he replied, "I would start by parking in the garage..."

I turned around an walked away from him to keep myself from killing him. After he left, I called Safelite.

"Do you guys know that you just made things worse, not better? Now my windshield is cracked and it also leaks."

"Yes sir, the driver called. Don't worry, we've put a rush on the part. It should be here in a couple days.", she replied.

"What should I do in the meantime with a leaky windshield in a car I need to use every day?", I asked.

"Well sir, the forecast is for sun for the next few days, and you could always park in the garage..."

I hung up.

Of course, weather forecasts are rarely worth the paper they are printed on. The next 3 days were a wet, frozen mess with the weather alternating between moderate rain and sleet. If you've never had the opportunity to turn on your windshield wipers and discover that the water you're trying to move is actually running down the inside of the windshield, let me tell you, you haven't lived.

The water on both sides of the windshield coupled with the extremely cold nightly temperatures did nothing to help the crack. It had spread all the way across the windshield and had begun to spider up the center of the glass towards the roof of the car. Fortunately, the water didn't do any real damage to the interior of the car and other than making it a foggy, soggy mess, I was able to get through the 3 days safely, albeit with a very bad attitude.

Safelite called and arranged another appointment for a Friday afternoon. I re-arranged my schedule to accomodate their 1:00-5:00 arrival. They showed up at 2:00 and assured me they had all the right parts.

2 hours later, they were still out there working on the windshield. I went out to check their progress.

"How's it going?", I asked.

"Well, pretty good" the guy responded. "The new windshield is in and the seal is set but we ran into an issue."

"What issue?", I asked, forcing myself not to lose my temper.

"Well, it seems there are a couple models of windshield for your model car and we ordered the wrong one. It fits and all, but we can seem to get the rain sensor to go back on the windshield. Is that okay?"

I looked in the car and the rain sensor was hanging under the rear view mirror, suspended in mid air by a bunch of wires.

"Is that okay? NO THAT'S NOT OKAY!!!", I responded. "Put the $%^$*# car back together the way you found it."

"Okay", he replied, "But we'll need to order the right windshield. Itwill take 5-7 days to get in. You'll have to drive it like this until then."

Whatever, I figured, as I left him in the driveway. At least it won't rain inside the car anymore. The driver told me that safelite would call me as soon as the windshield came in. A week passed, and then another, and still I had not received a call from safelite. The rain sensor dingling from the mirror like a pair of fuzzy dice was turning into a real source of irritation to me. I was finding myself laughing maniacally every time it caught my eye as I was driving down the highway. People were beginning to stare at me. Something had to be done.

I called Safelite. They said they expected the part any day now and would call to schedule an appointment as soon as it came in.

Well, the big day was today. Of course they never actually called to schedule a meeting. No, that would have been too simple. Instead, my cell phone rang when I was at a customer meeting this morning.

"Sir, it's safelite glass. We'll be at your office in 30 minutes to replace your windshield."

"30 minutes? I'm not sure I can be there in 30 minutes."

"Well, sir we've been sitting on this windshield for almost 2 weeks. We need to get it installed or we'll have to return it to the dealer."

"Two weeks? Why didn't you call me and tell me...never mind...I'll be there in 30 minutes."

I drove like a bat out of Hell to get back to my office to get the windshield corrected once and for all. I just made it as the guy was getting ready to leave. Apparently, making me wait 7 weeks was okay, making him wait 5 minutes was not.

I carefully explained the entire sad story to him and made sure he had the right parts and could do the work. He was a little annoyed that I was questioning him, but he convinced me that he was prepared to get the job done.

I went back into my office.

I had a lunch appointment this afternoon and when I got in the car, I was happy to see the rain sensor re-attached to the windshield and the plastic cover back in place. Except...wait a minute...the cover was just sort of resting there. I reached up to touch it and it fell right off the windshield along with the rain sensor.

I'm not proud to admit it, but I completely lost it. I called Safelite, and explaining the situation as clearly as I could between the colorful expletives I was inserting every other word or so, I insisted that they turn the $%*^& jerk in the truck around and get his #!@%#@ ass back to correctly repair my car or I was going to $%%^$#@ kill somebody. The woman at Safelite did exaclty that.

So, as I write this, the glass guy is out replacing my new windshield with another new windshield - one that will hopefully actually fit my rain sensor. At this point, I'm ready to buy a windshield myself and ask BMW to ship me the necessary parts to build a new car around that windshield. It will probably be a quicker and more efficient way to get this problem fixed.

So, if you read about a 3 state killing spree centered around Hartford, you'll know who did it. I mean, can you really blame me?

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