Monday, January 30, 2006

Reunited with my Mini

I had heard horror stories of BMW Catania before I ever had any dealings with them. In fact, I didn't WANT to have any dealings with them after hearing how they directed one friend to back his Mini right into another car in their own parking lot, how they charged another 800 euro (a thousand bucks) for a regular service on her BMW, and how a colleague had hers returned minus the radio. ("There's just one small problem, madame. Your radio has been stolen.") In addition, the dealership is in a horrible location in Catania, on the very busy and crazy Via Marco Polo, there is no parking (except double parking on said Via), no one speaks English, and it's nigh impossible to figure out who you see for what. Sigh.

This was not good news. I had had bought two new BMWs and then this Mini in Germany, where the service was, well . . . excellent!! A little brusque in a German sort of way, but excellent! I never had to leave my car overnight, was never overcharged, and they always hauled out their best English-sprecher to talk to me.

Ok, that was Germany, this is Sicily. Shift (mental) gears. Downshift. Several times.

So, I avoided them, had local mechanics (Tony and sons) perform some minor service and repairs, and got away with it for a year and half. Then my luck ran out. The fan wouldn't shut off. Then it stopped working all together. Tony and sons could not fix it and I would have to take it to the dreaded BMW Catania. I talked Tony into going with me. He's a Sicilian-New Jersey-Sicilian who set up shop near the Navy base.

We drove the Mini down there hoping to not get caught in traffic since the fan didn't work at all now and finally got to see the service manager, a young man called Marco. He said they were too busy and couldn't take the car. I said it was an emergency, it was undriveable. He said it wasn't possible till the end of the month (2 weeks later). I went into an explanation of how I had three BMW products, how the Germans were always "pronto" with their service, yadda-yadda-yadda. Tony translated for us. Then Marco called in "the boss," a shady-looking character in sunglasses and a Mini baseball hat who agreed that they would take it. They were even persuaded to do a much-needed servicing on it while it was there. Ok, ok, 3-4 days, though. I signed all the papers, gave them Tony's phone number and we left.

Of course, I didn't hear from them for two weeks . . . so they actually DID have it at the end of the month . Today I got a call from Tony, "BMW called. Your car is ready." "How much?" I asked. He hadn't asked them, but judging from the gouging that others had taken, I thought at least a thousand euros . . . . I took my credit card.

Marco was much friendlier. We now had a "relationship" in a Sicilian sort of way. We knew people in common. He got the bill and I was more than pleasantly surprised that it was "only" 517 euros! Woo-hoo! Marco carried my gym bag, escorted me upstairs to my car, made small talk, shook hands, and off I zoomed onto Marco Polo.

Once in traffic, I found out I had NO gas and prayed the whole way up the hill . . . the gauge was on ZERO . . . I had never had it this low . . .(did I mention it was pouring down rain and windy?) . . . but somehow made it to a station and tanked up for the rest of the drive home. Maybe I should buy a Fiat?


At January 30, 2006 8:32 PM, Blogger Renegade of Funk said...

Hey I stumbled on your space and just wanted to say I like the looks of it.

I was curious if you would be interested in writing for a community blog I have going. Currently we have 20 members and are always looking for more.
If you enjoy ranting and raving and desire to make a change in the world then I think it may be for you.

The site is:

My emails is:

Thanks and I hope to see you there.

At February 05, 2006 9:49 AM, Anonymous ItaLiana said...

very funny story ... you're lucky the Catania Beamer guys didn't snub you altogether after your ref. to the Germans (given that Italians like to refer to Germans as their "ancestral enemies");)


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