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Thinking Out Loud – John’s National Lampoon


Many of you fondly remember the “National Lampoon Vacation” movie series—“European Vacation”,  “Christmas Vacation”, and others.  If these were still being made they could add “John’s Vacation”, except, like the whole series, it was anything but a vacation.  So I’ll just have to relate it.

It started with an attempt to resolve a bogus charge on my credit card.  I had attempted to refute it some time ago, but the refutation had failed and the charge reappeared on my account.  I returned to my favorite banking branch office (I’ll call it Branch #1).  They were unable to do anything further so I escalated to the main office.  I desired a face-to-face consultation because I have learned that one can accomplish much more face-to-face on a complicated matter than by phone or E-mail, so I desired to meet the head of the credit card department.  But they had a policy that non-employees could not enter the facility further than the receptionist, and the receptionist was utterly confused by the concept of a credit card department, so that attempt faltered.  Anyway, I was directed to another nearby building where the credit card department had moved to.

I journeyed to the aforementioned building, which also had a no-entry policy, only to be told that the sought-for department was in yet another building.  So journey over there I did.  Same policy, but a credit card employee did come out and told me that I needed to go back to Branch #1 and take it up with the manager, which I had done at the very beginning of the whole episode.

So round and round I had gone, four locations in all, and ended up where I started.  I was livid at the core, but kept up a façade of decency and pretended appreciation, although I did expound the escalating run-around I was getting.  The issue is still not resolved, but I haven’t given up.  At this rate the fuel and time expended may exceed the value of the matter.  I don’t mention the name of the institution because they have always served me extremely well and are a very large entity in northern Utah; I have no intention of departing from them.

Somewhat seethingly I proceeded on another errant—to wash my car.  I like automatic car washes because I’m, well, lazy.  I went to a wash I have satisfactorily used before.  I selected the $9 Ultimate Wash and deposited $20; a robot voice came through saying “Change Error”, and no change emerged.  Okay, I’ll take it up with the clerk after the wash.  The lights displayed “Put car in neutral” and “Shut off engine”.  I did.  Nothing happened, except the brushes began their whirly-gig around an absent car.  So the automatic pull-through device has failed.  I’ll just ease the car through the wash sequence myself, which I proceeded to do.  The brushes and rinses did their thing, and I appeared to be slowly driving through at a proper rate.  Finally the brushes and soap and rinses finished, so I eased forward to the big blower-dryer position.  Then the exit door closed.  I was shut, locked inside the car wash.  I honked the horn repeatedly; the wash was part of a quick stop; surely someone would hear my dilemma.  Ten or fifteen minutes of honking achieved no result.  I got out and checked the entrance and exit doors; no evident means to open either of them.  I didn’t relish spending the night in my car in a car wash, so I took drastic action.  I called 911.  “I’m locked in a car wash on R . . . . . . Road.  It’s the only car wash on R . . . . . . Road, so you can’t miss it.”  “What’s the address?”  “Do you think I memorize the address of every car wash and quick stop I visit?”  “What is your name?”  I think I got that one right.

Well, I guess it was a slow day at 911, because shortly the exit door opened and I wasted no time exiting.  The manager kindly refunded my $20, and I suggested his car wash might need some maintenance, and he agreed.

I guess that’s not enough material for a full National Lampoon movie, but it was enough for me, for that day.  Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two backward.  Other days it’s two forward and three backward.  And if you haven’t seen the original National Lampoon Vacation movies, I suggest you might enjoy them.

© 2018 John A. Triplett

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