MINI Almost Killed My Enthusiasm.

Those of you that are regular readers of this blog, or are personal friends, may remember that I had a really horrible service experience with my MINI dealer this past July during which they left me stranded in a motel 6 next door to a greasy spoon for 24 hours after promising me a loaner car on 3 separate occasions. You will also remember that prior to this service experience, all I did was talk about my car and how much I loved it. I’m sure you’ve noticed how much quieter I have been about my MINI lately.

It’s because I was depressed. I cannot think about Viola without thinking of that jerk at the service department now. Especially because he refused to do my warranty service inspection and told me that my car would be fine until March because “You don’t drive it that much.” which is.. a complete load of crap. I’ve never put 15,000 miles on a car in only a year and a half of ownership. NEVER. Hell, my 1999 Toyota Corolla is still sitting in my driveway. It just crossed 64,500 miles. Do the math.

I drive my MINI a hell of a lot more than I have ever driven anything.

My service notification indicator went off two weeks ago. I am NOT driving over to Tacoma in December, which is exactly what I told my SA would happen. At this point, I feel like the dealership should fly a tech out to me to do the inspection. I’m not driving over Snoqualmie pass. It can freakin’ wait. I’d rather stay alive, thanks.

Anyway, you get the point. I was sickened. I was hurt. I was so fed up and so frustrated over dealing with my dealership that I was done with MINI and felt like I should trade Viola in on a C30, or even a Civic. I just didn’t want to have to put up with being treated that way ever again and it sucked the life out of my love for my car.

I have not motored since that day.

I’m never going back there. I’m never going back to that dealership. Their treatment of their customers after purchase is horrible. In fact, it’s so horrible that I actually mentioned that to another MINI owner on twitter yesterday. I have heard from so few people who have been treated well by a MINI dealer after purchase that I’m not sure I will buy a second MINI, even though I already had plans to do so when it was time to retire Viola.

Now… I’m seriously thinking about that C30. Same price range as the MINI. Decent engine (turbocharged 5 cylinder engine). Decent mileage and the dealership is LOCAL and well reviewed. All in all, this looks like a well-rounded car. It’s heavier than the MINI and larger. But there is something very important about it that MINI just can’t beat.

It’s a Volvo.

Do I really have to explain that to you? I mean, really?

This morning though, I was taking the son to school and I had the radio off on the way back. I looked at the roads, which were wet from melting snow. I looked around me at all the other boring cars and then when the light changed, I put my foot on the gas and listened to my engine. It was like Viola spoke to me. It was like she was saying, “Come back. Smile again. I’m not just a car to you. I miss you.”

God I missed her too.

I passed a pepper white clubman S, black roof, with newly installed black stripes and xenon headlights as I was exiting the intersection. I gave him a thumb’s up. I got a thumb’s up in return. I smiled and on the drive home… I felt like I was a part of my car again. It was like coming home after a really, long, really emotionally draining trip.

After this morning… I am again considering the black Clubman S that I’ve been pipe dreaming about custom ordering since about six months after Viola came home. As long as I don’t do business with that dealership again, maybe… it would be ok.

We’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a couple of years before I have to make a real decision about Viola anyway.

Hrm… looks like MINI just put out the real, honest to God black jack mirror caps…

… Later folks. I’ve got an order to place.