Couch Surfing

Warning! Don't go there!

Warning! Don't go there!

Well, not really a couch, it’s a futon.  My kids have worked very diligently to make me feel welcome in their home. They made up “the man cave” into the guest room. We’ve been cohabiting just fine, but its time. I want my own bed back! I was homeless for a time during my divorce—never “on the street homeless,” but living with friends, sleeping on their couches. Tommy and I shared a friend's front porch trundle bed for a while, so despite everyone's best intentions, emotionally, I was having a rough time of it. My real frustration is with Camping World in Kingston—my experience with them thus far is that they're always understaffed and over-worked. I rarely talk to the same service writer twice, and despite the RV being promised to me, all fixed and finished on Friday the 31st, they never even looked at it until about then. The timeline, like everything with those guys is unclear.

When I was "next in line" to get into the shop, another rig was dragged in on a tow truck, and was given priority over me. I guess if you sell “a roadside assistance plan,” you can’t expect those people to wait a week in the queue, like the rest of us. Sort of like being brought to the emergency room in an ambulance, vs. going in your neighbor’s car?

I don’t like it, but I understand. Telling myself that I’m with my kids, and loving the time with the boys. I’m not in some nasty roadside motel. This could be worse.  Little did I know.

Despite all my detailed notes left for them by Shaniqua, service writer #1, the tech only wanted to sell me new house batteries, saying that this would solve all my electrical problems. I suspect, with an eye towards pushing my rig out of their shop, ASAP.  There was an aisle light that came on or went off when it was bumped, regardless of the position the switch was in. On the steering column, sometimes the accessory switch wouldn’t disengage: in park, with key out of ignition, the windows would still go up and down, dome lights on, and the dashboard radio display would stay on all night.  Yeah, no. New house batteries were not going to “fix” these issues.  I’m so glad that I am (eventually) driving away from this area. I will find mechanics along the way, and am seriously in search of a better Winnebago Repair shop experience.

Shaniqua went home early on Friday, and left me a voice mail, asking for my permission to install new house batteries, (a pair of “deep cycle” batteries in the floor of the rig, behind the drivers seat. They run the lights and fans—everything in “the house” portion of the motor home, for when I’m not plugged into an external power source.) I called right back and talked to Tammy, service writer #2. I gave my permission to have the batteries changed, but, very clear that I wanted the other work on my invoice also completed. Tammy said she would walk back there, and tell the technician.

Around noon Saturday, I called again to see when I could pick the rig up. Spoke to Mike, service writer #3. He had no idea when it would be ready. I told him I agreed to have the new batteries, but wanted my other work done also. That’s when he told me that “he saw the tech working on the rig all day—it was in front of Bay door#2.” But when he looked, the tech’s seem to have left no notes. And they went home for the day. “Call me back on Monday around noon.”

With nothing else to do, I started noodling around the Internet, my RV’ers sites and groups. What I found were many dismal tales of woe regarding Camping World’s service record. Across the country, they take the money but often don’t honor their own warrantees. Delays and prevarication, aggravation of such lengthy and extreme magnitude, that the owners often suck it up, take the haircut, and go elsewhere. I began to feel like I was closing the barn door after my horse was long gone.

On Monday I called and got Shaniqua again, who knew nothing, except that no work was done on the rig, “because I hadn’t yet given my permission to install the house batteries.”  I lost it. I spoke to two other people there, and I had given my permission to install the batteries, with the stipulation that they fix the other issues. What was Mike smoking, if he saw work being done on a rig that wasn’t touched yet? I could see that this was just going to go on and on. I told Shaniqua OK, at his point, do NOT do anything to the rig. I would be there early the next morning to pick it up. Their credibility was shot. And I wanted—I needed my home back.