As part of our bank account, we get free AA roadside and home start assistance. This latter is very important.
It’s a bit rich that a car owner can join the AA (or any other roadside, fix-your-car company) but be excluded from having someone start your car if it’s within a mile of your house. Clearly this was a genius idea from someone wanting to make money for someone else. I can just hear the discussion…
EXECUTIVE: We need to make more money. Does anyone have any ideas?
MARKETING: How about we stop helping people if their car won’t start at home.
EXECUTIVE: I like your thinking but, how exactly can we enforce that?
MARKETING: Easy! We introduce a two tier system. The general protection covers the driver if they break down at least a mile from home. This can cost the same as our present all inclusive rate. We can perhaps throw in a few free things that make it look like the users are getting something valuable for nothing. Sparkplug replacement or 5% off a new battery or water top up…the sort of things we get from commercial salespeople trying to sell us stuff.
EXECUTIVE: All good so far. Go on.
MARKETING: We then introduce a second level of protection which protects the driver if their car won’t start at home. Naturally, we’d charge extra for this.
EXECUTIVE: We could call it the Rip-off Rate!
MARKETING: (after a bit of polite laughter) Actually, we’ve already barnstormed the idea –
MARKETING: Yes, we were at the country retreat. Anyway, following a bit of flag raising we think we’ve come up with a brilliant identifier for this new rate. To be honest, we’re a bit proud of it.
EXECUTIVE: You have me very excited about now!
MARKETING: (clearing throat dramatically) We think it should be called Homestart.
EXECUTIVE: (after a reverent pause) That, my friend, is pure genius.
I had no idea this thing existed before reading our policy this morning. It’s incredible how the every day user is abused for the sake of profit. It’s like the olive guy who came up with amazing cost savings by taking one olive out of each bottle and selling it at the same price.
Still, we had Homestart so we had no problem calling them out to fix Sidney.
Mirinda rang and was told they would arrive in about 90 minutes – actually the guy turned up a lot earlier – so we settled down to lunch and one of the final episodes of Homeland series 3.
The mechanic, after he arrived, had a bit of a fiddle about and quickly determined it was the battery. Flat and dead, it was. He took it out and sold us a new one and Sidney started straight away with her usual reliability.
He asked Mirinda how old it was (the battery, not Sidney) and she said she had no idea but was fairly certain it had never been changed since we bought the car. This is true. Sidney has had the same battery for almost 13 years. I didn’t think this was so amazing but the mechanic was astounded. The new battery, by comparison, has a guarantee lasting only four years.
He took the old battery away with him. I think he’s going to put it in the Museum of Ridiculously Long Lasting Power Sources, a museum with few exhibits.
We then dragged Emma into the car (Day-z never needs urging of any kind) and took off for Frensham for a lovely, if somewhat muddy, walk around the pond.