Image via WikipediaRemember the American Express TV ads of the 1970s with actor Karl Malden that said, “American Express, don’t leave home without it!”
Based on firsthand experience, that tag line needs to be updated to reflect that fact that you should never leave home without membership with the Automobile Association of America better known as AAA.
My reason for this AAA affinity follows....
Yesterday was our family’s first day back from a weeklong vacation out of state – no big deal; people do it all the time. What was a big deal was that while parked at our resort, the battery to our vehicle completely died – it wouldn’t turn over and a battery jump from another car didn’t work either.
For the record, I’m not particularly “handy” or “mechanically inclined” – so we were already at a disadvantage. In fact, changing our iridescent light bulbs to the ones that look like curly fries from Arby’s is about the maximum extent of my handyman ability.
So my wife smartly called AAA and found out that it offers a discounted, mobile battery replacement service for its members. While my wife and daughters went to the pool I waited at the car for about 45 minutes for the service truck to arrive. For the record, waiting is something I’m an EXPERT at – with three women in my house it’s a necessary survival skill. Back to the story….
Even though it was a Sunday, the onsite AAA technician was as pleasant as could be. He tested the battery and ran some other diagnostics that conveyed the certain demise of the power cell. In record time he popped it out of the vehicle and plopped in a brand new one that fired up instantly.
He then ran through a series of other diagnostic checks to ensure the amps, volts or something like that weren’t overloading the car’s electrical system, which could cause other problems [NOTE to any high schoolers: be sure to pay attention during physics class – there is real world application for that stuff!!!]
Lastly, he took the old battery and said he would dispose of it for us as well. The entire service call plus the new battery and disposal of the old one was just over $100 – to me that was an incredible deal. Again, I know nothing about cars and don’t pretend to but I do know that I would have been willing to pay ten times that amount to make sure my family wasn’t stranded.
I’m fairly certain that without AAA, I would have paid a bunch more for towing and other “services” rendered by an out-of-state mechanic I didn’t know.
The moral of story is that I’ll gladly continue to write that $75 annual membership fee for AAA because I never want to be on the road without it.