Year 2 Day 11 Let There Be Light

We spent most of the day at the La Mesa RV service center.  We had set up an appointment last week to have the failed ceiling lights replaced and a ball cover to our powder room toilet adjusted.  The toilet will not stop flushing because the ball cover keeps recycling from closed to open to closed to open again when flushed.  I believe the ball cover is misaligned with the electronic sensor so it never stops flushing.

Jerad, our service advisor got us in right after opening.  The first thing we did was count all of the failed ceiling lights.  The final count came to 31 since we had a few more failures since leaving the Del Valle Recreational Park, in Livermore, last Saturday.  We discovered that before Jerad could replace these lights, which are under warranty, he had to email Tiffin, the manufacturer of our Allegro Bus, and get authorization.  This was because the cost of labor to replace each light was set at .3 hours at a billing rate of $150 per hour.  With 31 lights to be replaced, the labor cost was going to be $1,395!  Wow!  Needless to say, authorization took quite a while before it was received.  My guess it took a number of hours just to revive the poor Tiffin employee who got the authorization request.  He must have fainted and fallen to the floor!

In my opinion, $150/hour as a labor rate is a ridiculously high labor rate for service technicians.  However, given the paucity of RV service centers around the US, compared to the heightened demand for RVs by the US public, I guess this is what the market will bear.  Only 20 years ago, this was a typical rate the many attorneys would bill at.  My, my, my… times sure have changed!

Jerad had told us when we checked in that for one-day customers like us, their policy was to limit the number of issues to be addressed to 5.  Thus, we still had three potential issues we could add to the service list.  Since we had a long list of minor issues, Mary Margaret and I selected three more.  They were to inspect and pressure test our hot water heater and refill it with antifreeze since it had recently dropped in its level, tighten a docking light that had come loose, and inspect and refill the tires with air.  We had hoped they would also rotate the tires but we discovered this was something that the service center does not do.

With this list of items determined, Mary Margaret and I then hopped into our little Fiat and drove over to the nearest supermarket to provision for our upcoming stay at the Karstner Caverns State Park with our daughter, Christina, and her family.  We then splurged on a Starbuck’s coffee as we bided our time, knowing that LeuC would be in the shop all day.

We returned to La Mesa RV before lunch and discovered that they operate a BBQ and offer free brats, burgers and chips.  Yea!  Armed with our tasty lunch we sat at a table with another couple and chatted the lunch time away.  The couple was from Minnesota and we enjoyed sharing our respective RVing experiences.  They told us about the great Corp of Engineering (COE) campsites and we shared our great BLM campsites.  The COE campsites are mostly east of the Mississippi River while the BLM sites are mostly west of the Mississippi River.

It was not until 2:30 that Jerad received Tiffin’s approval to replace the ceiling lights but, with “determined” effort, the technician finished the job right before 5 PM.  Hmmmm…, .3 hours per light for 31 lights makes out to be 9.3 hours…  He must have had a number of associates in LeuC helping him.  What do you think?

As it turned out, the technicians forgot to address the misaligned toilet ball cover and they told us they could not figure out how to remove the tire pressure sensors that I had installed on each tire.  Thus, these two items will now be addressed first thing tomorrow morning.  It is not a big deal to us as they do host us for the night and we get to suck down their 50-amp electricity for free while we are here.  Plus, it is only a 3 or so hour drive from here to the Karstner Caverns State Park, where we need meet up with Christina and crew tomorrow afternoon.

As an Post Script to this blog, we have also discovered that they failed to replace one of the ceiling lights and with one of the lights they did replace, they forgot to replace its cover plate.  I guess with all of the technicians they had stumbling over each other, replacing the lights in such a short period of time, they must have forgotten about these little items.  Thank goodness, we ended up staying an extra night so they can also address these items tomorrow.



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