Viola’s New Shoes

Viola came with Goodyear Excellence run on flat tires. These tires are great for summer driving, and I liked the traction they got in the rain. I felt pretty confident driving on them until the colder temps hit, and then I felt like I was skating on dry pavement so hubby and I agreed that Viola needed dedicated snow tires.

He called several shops, only two places here locally had the equipment to remove runflats. Only one routinely did so on MINIs, and knew what the push button start was.

You can guess which one we decided to go with.

So my son and I took Viola in to get her new shoes, and the salesman could tell that this car was my baby. He spent a good ten minutes reassuring me that even though my husband had reserved the tires over the phone, they were a good choice, and I was happy with them. They had a similar tread pattern to the blizzak, and they were well-reviewed when I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket and googled them, even if the name made me laugh. I’d never heard of Hankook tires before, but it looked like these were all right.

But most importantly:

  1. The price was right.

  2. They had the right size in stock.

  3. We were expecting a snow storm.

Sometimes, you take what you can get and deal with the consequences later. This wasn’t exactly one of those situations, but the tires made me happy enough to not argue over their selection given the circumstances.

So we wait for an hour, and the guy comes out and tells me she’s ready and that they’re bringing her around now and he’d like me to inspect the tires and my wheels to make sure that I am satisfied that there wasn’t a problem with their process. And I watch my car come around and this guy gets out.

He’s in his 50s, and is obviously the owner/operator of the store. The technician that I had talked to clearly knew what he was doing, and clearly knew that I was attached to my car and I think he was thrilled to see a gal care so much about her car. But this guy was clearly not as informed about the MINI. He came in with this big grin on his face and he said, “I’m sorry. I was going to back it in for you but I couldn’t figure out how to put it in reverse and that pod thing was weird, I had to have one of the boys in the back start it for me. The other MINIs we’ve serviced aren’t like yours.”

I stared at him for a moment.

Viola’s an automatic. How in the hell could he not know how to put her in reverse? Then I said, “Well it’s on the selector…”

He said, “Oh yeah? You mean those paddle things?”

I stared at him again, then I just smiled and nodded and made a beeline for my car.

When I got in, I found the following scene:

The fob was tucked into the door handle.

All four of my goodyear tires were neatly packaged in bags and carefully tetrised into the boot. I had left a tarp back there and figured I would have to load the tires myself, but they did it for me and didn’t even need my tarp and for this they get high, high praise from me.

The driver’s seat had not moved, and the shop’s driver was at least a foot taller than me. That could not have been comfortable…

And then I discovered the reason why he couldn’t figure out how to put Viola in reverse.

The car was in manual mode.

I stared down at the selector knob and then looked at my son who said, “So why couldn’t he figure out how to get it in reverse?” And then I pushed the selector back to the right.

My son’s eyes lit up and his jaw dropped and then we both just busted up laughing.

I laughed, in part at the situation and in part at myself. You see, having looked in on several other MINIs in the area, and having shopped for used vehicles, one of the reasons I chose to buy new was because there had only been one used automatic for sale here in town, but I hadn’t even considered since then that Viola is a rare beast among MINIs in the area merely because she has an automatic transmission.

Maybe I need to consider giving up my training wheels.