Wiperman to the Rescue!

"Would you like me to install those for you? I can do that; it's free," said the man.

"Install" and "free." Possibly the two most beautiful words a girl has ever heard uttered!

I was at the register of the Advance Auto Parts store, new windshield wipers in hand. The current set on my car had once had big aspirations toward spic-and-span visibility and world domination.

But now the rubber was coming away from the blade... The blade was coming away from the wiper arm... And instead of clarity and precision, I'd flip 'em on and they'd just stand there and shimmy like a hoochie dancer: "Hey, baby...How you like somma this?"

Well, fine on form and poise, but the wipe? Gone. Seriously, no wipe. Leaving me with "-ers."

And "-ers", a shiny windshield do not make. "Quit the hip-wiggling, Gypsy Rose. You're making me seasick."

Part of the reason the wipers were in the shape they were, was because I'd had the bright idea to install them myself. Because I had been under the impression that a moderately non-stupid, slightly mechanical person could do it in a jiff.

The calculated measurement of "jiff," in case you were wondering, is about 45 minutes. Jiff must be done on a freezing cold day, but requires the manual dexterity of glove-free hands. Jiff requires the posterior region to sit at length upon an ice-cold car hood.

Jiff may require a hairdrier on "high" to free said posterior from the aforementioned ice-cold hood, depending on humidity levels.

It may also involve Oscar-award-worthy weeping-- though that, I understand, is optional.

But even once installed fresh and new, the one wiper had displayed a nervous twitch when asked to do its duty. Some kind of Wiper Performance Anxiety, I guess... But at that point I was too busy doing the hoochie dance myself in celebration of just having the things relatively where they should be.

Like not rattling around in the trunk.

So would I like this nice man to install these wipers for me for free?

Why, yes-- yes, I would!

Two seconds, and he had the new wiper blades on and working beautifully. And all this while I started to wonder about this marvel in modern customer service.

How had this happened? How had Advance Auto Parts somehow been bypassed by whatever mouse-in-a-maze psychological testing seems to plague my gas company? The gas company who reroutes me through six countries and five siloed service systems, only to ask me for my account number yet another time?...

Or the grocery store visit where cashiers talk around me like I'm InvisibleGirl?...

What Bizzarro World had I entered?

And then-- then he really did it:

"Would you like me to throw away your old wipers for you? Here, let me take that and the empty packaging."

I have to say, I narrowly-resisted smooching him up in a very undignified away right there in the parking lot.

Fortunately, I got control of my better faculties and simply dabbed away my tears of joy-- which froze immediately to my hand because of, well, again, the weather criteria for changing windshield wipers.

Yes, I thanked him... thanked him with gladness and admiration filling my heart... smiled and waved good-bye. Good-bye, you gleaming white knight of auto parts installation... I love you.

He smiled and waved back, said he was just doing his duty, ma'am, and flew off in a mechanic jumpsuited blur.

My faith in customer service... it has been restored. Oh, thank you, Wiperman! My hero!

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Anonymous said...

Ah ! A Damsel in Distress with a Wiper Blade ! And who better than a Marlboro ... err... a Wiper-Man to come to the rescue !

But in today's world genders do exchange roles. No I was not screaming !

Way back in my second year in college, we were asked to make a working model of the Windshield Wiper Mechanism. Yes we were crazy that way.

My Team gathered everything we needed - the wood, nails, glass, motor, gears and linkages. But we didn't have the wipers. We left it to the end because we felt we had to eventually buy them !

Then one day, one of the 4 women in our class (of 28) approaches us and hands us a pair of the cutest windshield wipers.
She said she was replacing her's and thought we could find use for her old ones.

They were the perfect size and we were so elated, the three of us could have jumped to kiss her.

But I think we held back probably being afraid she'd show us her martial arts skills and/or that her husband would (really) mind and show us his skills.

Unknown said...

Jaffer- Ah, so you have had wiper rescue of a very different sort! I'm glad to know it's not discriminatory by gender. :)

Adullamite said...

Hmmmm pretty girls smiles gets the service a man would never receive.
I smile and get nothing but thrown out the shop!

Unknown said...

Adullamite- I sorta think they just install wiper blades at Advance Auto Parts. I don't think the joys of Wiperman were necessarily Gender-Specific. :)

So, um... you don't have, say, unpaid airfresheners and motor oil tumbling from out under your coat when you get tossed to the curb, do you? :) There aren't phrases like "pressing charges" being cast about?

Meg said...

Yep. I'm made that mistake, too. Thinking a moderately non-stupid, slightly mechanical person could, well, do anything non-stupid and slightly mechanical.

Unknown said...

Meg- Yeah, it's the downfall of the moderately non-stupid slightly mechanical... The overestimation of ability. :) I felt SOMEWHAT better seeing this guy had a little tool he used to make it go faster.

Anonymous said...

On a miserable, cold and freezy day like today, it's comforting to know there's someone like Wiperman out there, righting wrongs, restoring visibility and fighting the good fight for chivalry and cooperation!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

AAP rocks. At mine, they never make you feel stupid for not knowing what kind of motor-whatsit liquid stuff you need. Guy put oil in for me once because I couldn't get the cap off and he said, here, I'll do it so you don't get your coat all dirty.

Unknown said...

Greg- Ah, can't you just hear the cheerful heroic Wiperman theme song in the background? I know you can.

(Or I can, at least. Jaffer's been singing it on Twitter for a good part of the morning. :) )

Shieldmaiden- WOW. Now that is amazing. I was just delighted at how pleasant this man was, and then the speed of the wiper-replacement. Now I'm truly impressed!

Anonymous said...

I recently replaced my windshield wipers: wet rooster at four o'clock...

This is one of my favorite stories of yours, Jenn. That was some great writing. I loved it!

You are so talented it makes me sick! LOL

Unknown said...

DeadRooster- Er, thank you. That is only because it was written with true love in my heart!

I will now go get a mop for that vomit, Rooster. Otherwise, it'll set. :)

JD at I Do Things said...


We need more guys like this. I truly do tear up and want to hug and kiss anyone who, you know . . . does their JOB and maybe even goes a bit above and beyond.

(And now I'm singing "Wiperman, Wiperman" too!)

Unknown said...

JD- Jaffer's got us all singing it now... We need to get him stuck on some other melody, since this post will be up here until Friday morning. :)

But really, it's good to know excellent customer service isn't gone entirely. It made my whole day.

Unknown said...

Thank you for clearing up the time frame of a Jiff... I have always wondered. The mental picture of your story was great! I can see him riding off on his white horse in his jumpsuit too!

Da Old Man said...

Sadly, wipers have become complex enough that they take all but the most experienced more than a jiff to install.
I have shown up at my mechanic's shop with wipers in hand, the job halfway done. That is, assuming breaking the old ones off as half the job. Glad you have found a hero at AAP.

Unknown said...

Dzzblnd- Yeah, a jiff is the speed equivalent of a skosh. :) Somewhere between a pound and 45 minutes.

Da Old Man- T'is true. I can get the wipers off, it's installing the new ones that are the tricky bit. 2-D diagrams do not make a 3-D installation easy. :) At least I'm not the only one.

Speedcat Hollydale said...

Wiper blades ... just rubber? Ohhh no. These things are as important as brakes. Mine broke while crossing a bridge.
Salty spray was flying everywhere, and the sun was at a horrific angle. To see where I was going I quickly rolled down my driver side window and hung my head out into the cloud of brown dirty road mist.
I headed to the auto parts store, and when I arrived they KNEW what I needed before I asked.
It looked like I had dipped my head into a pool of mud!

Unfortunately, I had to replace them myself ..... women are the only ones who seem to get this service free. Chivalry still exits in the strangest of places, BUT they are expecting a tip. Did you tip the fellow??

Unknown said...

Speedy- No, there wasn't really time- he sorta just zipped off-- perhaps they're not allowed to accept tips if the free installation is company policy? I don't know.

I'm getting quite the vision of you hanging your head out the driver's window. You've convinced me I need to be more up on the maintenance of these things! :)

Anonymous said...

I like a good, heartwarming story, me. But are you sure this is not just a work of fiction based on a fever dream brought on by the hypnotising shimmying of the "-ers"? I ask because the last time I came across even passable customer service was back in... er, let me think... erm...

Anonymous said...

Tony- Well, I suppose it's possible, but I really believe it happened as described. It was a shock to me, too. I am trying to savor the moment, so the next time I'm fighting the gas company, I will still have some heart.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Da Old Man had problems with windshield wiper blades. It doesn't make me feel as much of a dork. But I'm still a dork about windshield wiper blades. See here. I'm glad I'm not alone.

Marvel Goose said...

Chivalry is not dead!

Chaotically Calm said...

I feel your pain, it took me an hr or so to figure out one that engine coolant and anti freeze are one in the same and two exactly where it goes in the car. Now I feel like an old pro....not because I figured it out on my own but because I watched very carefully as the mechanic picked up the bottle and where he put it when he popped my hood.

Staci said...

Where was he when my turn signal bulbs went out? It took me three hours to replace them because my trunk is broken, I have to hold it open with my head, some idiot put the bolts behind the spare tire, and I bought the wrong bulbs. Oh, that's right. I bought them at Walmart, where they still don't have customer service. My bad.

I think I'll try Advance Auto next time.

Unknown said...

Unfinished- I think the problem is more common than we even know. I don't think it's a reflection on your guyness. :) I think it's just darned confusing.

Marvel- "I'm not dead yet- I'm not! I don't want to go in the cart!" -Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Chaotically Calm- I don't think I would have realized that either.

Staci- Ah yes, the old Balance-The-Trunk-On-Your-Head technique-- a classic! I don't know about you, but a couple of my turn signal bulbs are buried under about a million other things, and bolted in. I had to have someone do THAT for me too.... I'm worthless. :)

Anonymous said...

I had this same experience at Auto Zone. What a wonderful thing! Like you, I was so impressed I had to write about it! Who says good customer service is dead?!

Babs (Beetle) said...

Are you serious? Does a service man like that really still exit?

I remember, and miss those days.

"I have to say, I narrowly-resisted smooching him up in a very undignified away right there in the parking lot." - That made me laugh!

Chat Blanc said...

I simply MUST get to know this handy man you found! He has to be an angel from heaven. You lucky girl, delivered from you wiper hell! :)

Vic said...

Luckily I live in a warm climate, where -ers are what everybody has. Unluckily, no gleaming white nights of auto parts installation here . We have guys who pick their face and say "That? Wull, I don't know. I'm pretty sure it goes on your car."

So jealous!!

Unknown said...

SimplyForties- Oh my gosh, there are TWO groups that do this sort of thing? The mind boggles! Hope for humanity!

Babs- Heh, yes, well, I was really happy-- he was probably a bit worried about how delighted I was. He was very close to being smooched.

Chat Blanc- It was truly a glorious day.

Vic- Scary... but your visuals were great.

Anonymous said...

Aw ... how lovely! You should have smooched him, he'd probably have loved it!

My son used to work in Halfords, doing just this sort of stuff. He used to go out to the car park to put wipers on for people too, and help install batteries etc. Sadly, there are people out there who still complain or just leave without saying thank you, and he got a bit jaded. It didn't stop him though, bless him.

Unknown said...

Jay- He might have-- he certainly would have been surprised, anyway.

Your son sounds like a sweetie. I hope he got smooched up by somebody, too-- and not just berated or left thanklessly.