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The purpose of this post is to point out the different levels of service success in hopes that all can learn from these episodes… Visits to three Infiniti dealerships resulted in very different results for the same issue. I had plugged in an old charger into the cigarette lighter and blown the fuse for the center stack of the dashboard lighting (all the radio, cabin heating/cooling, and clock illumination failed to illuminate when I turned on the lights…

  1. I ran it by my local independent service technician when I was having some basic work done (about April 1, 2013)… He was unable to find a blown fuse… I believed the next step was to visit a dealership who would know where the two fuse boxes were hidden…
  2. I took it to Beshoff Infiniti in San Jose (not my regular dealer, but far closer, so I just dropped in one afternoon). After two hours, I had a freshly washed FX35, but the problem was unresolved. They suggested that I bring it in at a later date to do some electical diagnostics… Being a troubleshooter for computer systems and networking problems, the suggestion of unqualified ‘diagnostics’ is in the same category as giving them a signed, blank check…
  3. As I prepped for my impending move to the east coast, I put what seemed to be a small issue on the back burner. As I was making my coast to coast trip through New Mexico, I was stopped by one of New Mexico’s finest who suggested that I had no tail lights. Sure enough, the rear brake and turn signals lights we fine, but without them illuminated, my tail was completely dark. Not good. The Officer suggested that I use my emergency flashers until I got to my evening’s destination: Albuquerque. I did a quick search and located a motel near the local Garcia Infiniti and was the first Infiniti into the service department at 7:30am Thursday May 9. Tony greeted me and asked if I had an appointment. I told him that I had called and left a message the previous night, but did not have an appointment. I told him of the urgency of my cross country trip and suggested that I just wanted a quick check of the fuse that powers the tail lights. He told me that I could leave my FX, and stated that although the dealership normally had Saturday hours, that *this* Saturday the service department would be closed. That sounded like this ‘quick check’ was going to take the weekend… (and an unscheduled weekend in Albuquerque was not high on my list). I asked if a call from my Dealer (Bob Ricks at Frontier Infiniti) to his dealer would free up a little emergency triage. Tony looked at me like I had threatened him and suggested that a call between dealers would not change anything. Seeing that I was restricted to daylight driving because of my lack of tail lights, I left and headed to Dallas (my next stop).
  4. During the drive to Dallas I called Bob who suggested that the GM at Sewell Infiniti was a personal friend and that he would send an email to have Sewell expect me first thing the following morning. Indeed I was second in line at 8:00am on May 10th. When I asked the service advisor, Joseph, if he was aware of the email, he stated that he was not, but assured me that he would take care of my needs even without an appointment. Indeed, he listened and understood the urgency. He stated that they would do an $80 diagnostic and report back the findings. Shortly before 10:00am we spoke again and he had included the technician, Rusty who explained that they had indeed found and replaced the offending fuse, and had tested the fuse and found no immediate problem. He also stated that both the power for the center stack *and* for the tail lights *and running lights* were all powered by the same fuse… Damn, I had been driving around for weeks with no tail lights! By 10:30am I was already on the road headed east with my fuse problem behind me.

Having an automotive industry background, I really appreciate the focus, the precision, the sense of urgency and the impeccable customer service at Sewell Infiniti… Thank you Joseph and Rusty for getting me in and out successfully and in a hurry… and thank you Bob for suggesting I go to Sewell in Dallas and sending Rick an email announcing my arrival.

As for the experience at Beshoff and Garcia Infiniti, your service looks poor by comparison… being either unable or unwilling to service a customer with a burnt out fuse. You failed where others shined…

Please let me know what you think…  J


The purpose of this post is to express my heartfelt thanks to the men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice.

As a Vietnam era gray hair, I am sensitive to the lack of thanks from the ordinary citizen of these United States. So I have decided to thank the service men and women… and call for some additional action to make the career efforts of these citizen soldiers just a little easier.

First, during this holiday season, thank you for defending my liberties from all enemies foreign and domestic. I am a big believer in Teddy Roosevelt’s adage of “walk softly and carry a big stick.” Our military is the best in the world because our organizations know how to learn and adapt, our personnel are trained to know what to do and when to do it, and our equipment is as good as any. I am thankful for an enlightened military under the leadership of some enlightened citizens. As a student of both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, I realize that today’s sacrifice is not as broad as in times past, but for individuals today it is just as deep. Again my thanks…

Second, for as good a job as the military does in preparing those in uniform for action on whatever theater of operations, there needs to be a similar effort to retrain and redirect each individual back into the peacetime economy. Individuals that served in 18th and 19th century conflicts came off the farm and returned to the farm. Today however they are coming from urban and rural settings that do not really start a career… and when they return, they have exceptional fighting skills, but very little that they can market to a peacetime economy. I remember talking to an Army nurse who had served in Iraq who was unable to get a job in the healthcare industry because all the field experience accounted for nothing that hospitals were looking for in their nursing staff.  We, as a nation, need to express our thanks by transitioning those in uniform back to citizen status with equal skill.

We, as citizens, live in a marvelous country that is buffered from threats by an effective corps of men and women so that we might continue our daily lives largely uninterrupted by whatever conflict is threatening our nation. Let us give both our thanks and our promise to reward those who protect our flanks. It builds our greatness and it deserves our thanks and gratitude.  J

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