Fitchburg MA – There are many of us that (quite literally) ‘steer clear’ of quick lube locations when we’re in need of automotive service. From oil changes to transmission service, winterizing and everything in-between, there are endless horror stories regarding subpar service, unskilled labor, and potentially harmful mistakes having been made.
So with skilled and uncompromising owners preferring to handle their own preventative maintenance and repairs, and many informed consumers utilizing their dealership or a certified garage to facilitate such tasks, it would appear that quick lube locations have a very specific clientele: a clientele which consists primarily of uninformed, undiscerning owners or those who prioritize ease and convenience a cost.
But we’re not here to criticize the automotive convenience industry as a whole. Inevitably, there are exceptions, franchises and locations that value quality in both their hiring and operational practices. In fact, it’s one such location that has found its way into countless headlines, after one of its newest employees became the recipient of a controversial award.
Doug Melanson, 22, joined the team at a north-central Massachusetts Spiffy-Lube location in early 2019. On paper, the ASE Certified mechanic, who also boasts four-years of service as a USMC mechanic and extensive personal experience under the hood, was a welcome addition to the team. But Melanson was quick to become a stand-out employee (be it for better or for worse).
According to Melanson’s manager, Leon Millet, “We do a lot of things very well here at Spiffy Lube. We appear quickly when you drive over that line, you know, the one that goes ‘ding, ding.’ We keep the bathrooms respectfully clean. We’re really good at taking smoke breaks. But go any further than that in this industry, and you’re bound to create some unrealistic expectations that’ll come back to bite you in the ass. Now, where’s the cocaine at?”
It’s believed that Melanson’s views on customer service fell outside the general expectations of Millet when he “displayed a clear commitment to doing right by our customers, choosing ethical practices over profit” and “created a cultural imbalance with the rest of his team.” But Melanson isn’t apologetic.
“I just wasn’t raised to push products and services that people don’t need. Whether it’s the unnecessary use of more expensive synthetic oils or a full transmission service over 4,000 miles. And if I do perform a service, I prefer to perform it well and to completion. Is that so crazy?”
According to Millet, “That’s insane. We’re a business, and we’re in business to make a profit. That means marking up parts and services. It means cutting corners in the interest of a quick turnaround. It means cocaine, everywhere. And just because someone asks for a air filter replacement, doesn’t mean that they actually need one. I mean, we’ll charge them for it, sure. But a quick ‘fan and blow’ works just fine. It’s like old school Nintendo or high school cunnilingus up in this joint. Seriously, though, where’s the cocaine?”
Needless to say, it ruffled some feathers when Melanson was recognized for exemplary service after he unknowingly handled some scheduled maintenance for a consumer advocate.
“I just treated him like I would any other customer,” shares Melanson with his trademark sense of honesty.
But the advocate (who asked that we retain their anonymity) sees it differently, stating, “Here at Ti Rovino Consumer Reports, we’ve been watching Spiffy-Lube for a while now. We’ve sent in some of our people to perform quality audits, and that place has almost always failed our tests. Plus, the amount of cocaine residue that shows up in our vehicles after a service is crazy. Those guys are running rails off of every available surface.”
“I don’t do cocaine.”
That was the simple acceptance speech offered by Doug Melanson, after being handed the Ti Rovino Commitment to Excellence award. But Doug Melanson stands for far more than just unrepentant drug abuse, he stands as a sentinel protecting the interests of men and women everywhere. Well, at least those, who don’t value their vehicles enough to bring them to someone who actually gives half a damn.