Lifestyle & Culture

Windshield Woes

September 13, 2020



SO WE’RE driving down the highway, my husband at the wheel, returning from a relaxing week on Mount Desert Island. That morning’s hike had made me sleepy, so being in the passenger seat I took the liberty of stretching out, my bare feet on the dashboard and my toes just inches from the windshield. This is a common enough position for many travelers, mostly in summer on the way home from the beach.

Suddenly the car directly in front of us braked, so naturally my husband did the same. This action thrust me forward, causing my feet to make contact with the windshield. We instantly heard a loud noise and watched in horror as a giant web of cracks spread over the right side of the windshield. Nothing else happened. There was no crash, no accident, the car ahead turned and we kept going, but now with an obvious problem. Turns out it’s no easy task to get a new windshield during a pandemic.

Immediately I called my car dealership, Morong Audi in Falmouth, Maine. A woman in the service department told me to call Portland Glass. “They do all our glass work,” she explained. I said I was surprised that they didn’t do their own, being a car dealer with a huge service department. She replied, “Nope, we send everyone to Portland Glass.”

So I called Portland Glass. The woman I spoke with there said she would need a few days to find the right part for my particular make and model, and that she would call me first thing Tuesday morning. That’s today. But she didn’t call, so I called her back. Three times. Each time I got a recorded message saying how important my call was to them and could I please leave my name and number and a brief message and they would get back to me.

They didn’t.

My final message contained a strongly-worded and somewhat graphic piece of my mind. I then began looking elsewhere for a new windshield. Hey, how about Safelite, that place that advertises on TV all the time? Nobody answered the phone but their recording said to go online. So I went online and answered a whole bunch of questions and finally got an appointment for a week from today, with a price quote of $823.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine in the glass business alerted me to the fact that windshields are out of stock everywhere around here until January. Something about Covid making it more difficult to get them. Anyway, he said to be cautious about who I did business with and be sure to ask where the windshield was from so I won’t get stuck with some crummy “after-market piece of junk.”

So then, nervous, I called the service manager at Morong and ran all of this by him, and he agreed that I had to be careful to not get an inferior product, and that he really couldn’t help but that Portland Glass was reputable, although it might take a while for them to come through.

Later in the afternoon the Portland Glass lady called back with a price for me: $1,253.56. As my friend had instructed, I asked where she would be getting the windshield. Her answer was surprising: “Morong, in Falmouth. That’s where we buy all our windshields.”

—Andrea Rouda

Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid

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