The Car Wash, or three steps to fix the economy

Over the years I’ve developed three principles in dealing with vendors. Call them Mack505’s Rules of Business, if you will.

1. Arrive/be open when you promise.

2. Do what you promise.

3. Get it right the first time.

It’s that simple: WHEN, WHAT, RIGHT. Vendors who meet the requirements get repeat business and good reviews; vendors who don’t seldom receive a second chance.

Tomorrow is the biggest travel day of the year. Along with hundreds of thousands of other Americans, I will be hitting the road. This afternoon, I decided it might be nice to do so in a clean car. The exterior doesn’t matter much, but having the interior vacuumed and the windows washed would be nice.

It was too late for a full detail appointment, so I headed off to my local Simoniz Car Wash in Reading, MA. I had $30 in hand for a quick cleaning, and I’m a sucker for the upsell. I don’t often walk out for less than $60, but my car looks and smells nice.

The lights were on, the big neon ‘OPEN’ sign was lit, and the tunnel wash was running. Large billboards offered over a dozen cleaning and detailing packages, but the attendant advised me, “Exterior only today. You could come back tomorrow.”

Yes, I could. But I won’t. You violated Rule #2.

I had a few other errands to run, so I decided to try the Simoniz in Malden. (BTW, there is a dearth of full-service car washes in my area. There are plenty of automatics, and plenty of detailing shops, but very few who can wash and clean on a moment’s notice.)

I had a similar response in Malden, with the exception that they didn’t even speak to me. I was waved away from the full-service lane by the attendant. Exterior only. Rule #2 again.

Folks, I’m making a long drive in the Northeast in November. The outside of my truck is and will remain dirty. It’s the inside I care about.

Simoniz, let me repeat myself: I showed up today with cash in hand looking for a service which you advertise. You probably could’ve sold me a more expensive service. Instead you turned me away.


I won’t be back.


After wasting two hours, I did what I should’ve done initially. I vacuumed it myself. I will also visit the Delta Sonic while I’m in Buffalo. Guys, there’s a business opportunity in metro Boston.


I debated whether to name names in this post, but what good is a review, positive or negative, if you don’t know who I’m reviewing? Simoniz, I hope you read this.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Notes.

Photo licensed under Creative Commons, and not associated with either of the mentioned businesses. But it sure is cool. / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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