Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Oh the embarrassment

I had a great customer meeting today at IBM's Head Office in Portsmouth. I was helping the customer understand the IBM/Lotus strategy and why it made more sense than out competition. It was a open, sometimes funny and deeply rewarding meeting that reminded me why I love my job so much.

So I was feeling quite smug as I drove back along the M3 in my lovely BMW 320d listening to some fine music by the excellent Kasabian. A quick flick through the onboard computer informed me that I had about 60 miles to go and only 30 miles worth of fuel. "No Problem", I thought, sliding into the next service station and whacking the tank up to the brim with 55 litres of the finest unleaded.

2.1 miles out of the service station I was flying down the motorway at a serious speed (actual speed withheld due to it's police man baiting magnitude) when I felt a loss of power. Realizing there was something wrong I carefully proceeded to the inside lane. But still the power was going down. Eventually I was riding the hard shoulder at 10 miles per hour and still losing power when I had a gut wrenching memory. The d in 320d stands for Diesel and Unleaded is Petrol! I'd just filled my diesel car with petrol. Muppet!

Since it is a company car I rang the lease company and they said that since I was on the hard shoulder of a Motorway, which is dangerous, I was a priority so they would have a recovery truck with me in 25 minutes. So, two hours later the truck arrives. Hmmm - well I'm not going to complain, I've just filled my oil burner with petrol so I feel my moral high ground has been some what undermined.

I got home at 10:30PM when I expected to be back at 6pm and I still have a report to write for a customer tomorrow. Fortunately, I'm working from the IBM Barnes office tomorrow or I might have been seriously stuck. Because rather than the more conventional solution of draining the engine of Petrol and replacing it with Diesel, they just dumped me and the car back home. I think we both feel a bit broken :-(


Mr Ports said...

Some kind people at the car hospital made sure that it is fine now. To put it in perspective, if I had followed the "BMW recommended" route the car would have been off the road for about a week and the entire fuel system (fuel lines, fuel pump etc.) would have been replaced and it would cost £3500. But the kind people I went to sorted it out for well less than £200. It seems to me that BMW rely on people being embarrassed at their own mistake to take the Mickey and charge for an unnecessary engine rebuild. An the mechanics at the garage I went to confirmed that this is the case. Can you imagine being charged £3300 over the odds for a silly mistake?

Anonymous said...

Just done the same thing, filled my 320d (6 months old) with 44 litres of premium unleaded. I had only just had the thing back after reversing into two stationary objects. Life is not so good.

BMW road assistance have just been out who thought this was the case, I then rang the petrol station and they were able to confirm by their receipts for the previous day. I feel sick.