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March 02, 2006


I'm seem to keep running into issues with quick oil changes. Most of the time this simple procedure is done quickly, efficiently and without incident. But several times there are incidents which drive me away from a return visit. I had been visiting Superlube, but a couple incidents on back to back visits drove me to the dealer, that worked fine. New car and new dealer, they don't have hours which accommodate me (10-12am and 1-3pm weekdays, booked weeks in advance on weekends). So I tried Great Canadian Oil change, which seems to be an off shoot of Petro Canada. The first few visits went ok. The last visit went awry. The oil change mechanic mentions that my coolant is low. I think that is rather fishy on a year old car and take it as a note. I look at it and in fact it is low with a large wet path of coolant from the radiator cap down. I watched it for a few days and its not leaking. My guess is that the oil change jock opened the cap to test the coolant and left it open while the car was running. In the end, I'm out $25 for replacement coolant and some anxious days figuring if my car is broken or not.

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Self checkout still a bad idea

I was at Home Depot the other day picking up some parts. It was deserted so I thought it was time to give their automated self checkouts a try. To start out it was pretty straight forward, everything made sense and was intuitive and explained on the screen. Now the problems. After taking a couple tries to scan the item, I placed the item in a bag on the scale, the unit complained that I had removed an item, so I pushed down on the bag and it stopped complaining (the unit just showed itself to be useless for theft monitoring). Thats all I was buying, so time for payment, a huge selection screen pops up and I had to search for credit card. Several swipes later the unit finally reads my card and then informs me I need to walk 6 feet over to the other end of the unit to sign the signature reader pad. Now I needed to figure out where my receipt was. That was the end of it luckily, no theft alarms leaving the building. The whole process took about 2 to 3 times longer than a cashier and I was only buying one item. I still think self checkouts are a bad idea for retail. I think they are pretty effective for service businesses like movie theaters (although Cinema City's unit is dreadful) and I think they would be very effective at restaurants.

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