I used to go to a car wash where there were people who did the car wash. All I had to do was give them my keys, and they took it from there. There was no major interaction. I said hello and thank you and went off to the glass tunnel to watch as my car received a pampering wash and dry. My car wash is no more. It is now the future home of a Wawa—yes, another Wawa.
Anyway, my EV hybrid has been on the road a lot—taking family to visit relatives, book signings, babysitting, etc., and I think I heard my Escape say, “Wash me, now.” So, I turned into an automatic car wash to clean the sand and dust off my baby.
As I pulled up to the touch screen kiosk, a bright electronic signed ordered me out of my car to put a plastic bag over my rear wiper blade. The sign was pretty clear: ignore this message and your wiper blade will be destroyed. Yikes!
I am not one to turn down solid advice or urgent messaging, so I grabbed a plastic blade cover and did what was requested as I wanted to be a responsible car wash patron. Once that task was completed, I got back in my car and inched toward the touch screen which offered me wash and dry options. I picked the top and most expensive option—not because I do not care about my pennies but because I did not want the people behind me to think I was a tech idiot and could not work the touch screen. After I finished making my wash/dry selections, I was instructed to pull up to the next window for payment. After getting the approved “thumbs up” from the computer kiosk—I am not sure but I think they ran my credit—I inched forward one more time and a real-live person came out of a “drive thru-looking” booth to push a button on the kiosk to hand me a receipt. Really? This is where the human touch was so important? Honestly, with all the work I did to get to this point, I think that girl should have come out of her booth with a chocolate shake or an ice cream cone, but nothing.
The car wash actually did a great job until the heated dry cycle when a warning came up on my dash: “Charging point door open. Close now.” Crap! Did the need for a shiny exterior hurt my battery or my charging mechanism? I was in no position to get out of my car; there were high-powered dryers and big octopus-looking sponges all around me, so I let fate take its course. Luckily nothing happened to my battery or charging port. But I did learn three valuable lessons when using—as the oldsters say—a new-fangled computer machine.
- If touch-screen technology intimidates you, bring a preschooler with you as they know how to use the touch screen, and they won’t ask for money to help you out.
- Bring a snack to the car wash because the line will be long as you will not be the only one trying to figure out the touch screen, and the kid in the booth has no food or drink to dole out.
- A hose and a bucket of soapy water works really well in your driveway.
Donna Cavanagh recently published her first children’s book, Ramo to the Rescue about the heroic lifeguards who keep our beaches safe.