10:00 PM, Friday, January 9th, 2015:
Man I hesitate saying "Scam". I absolutely abhor people that flippantly notice something askew with a company and call things a "Rip-off" or a "scam" not realizing their sample size is anything but a true sample. And you can't defame an entire company based on one store or one clerk or one experience. But this was 3 stores, plus 2 other companies and... well, if anyone from AutoZone can explain this any other way? I'll include it in the entry. But this looks bad and I can't fathom any other explanation other than their machines might be outdated when it comes to these newer AGM type batteries (even though their testing machines have the AGM option). I'm trying to give them an out, but it just isn't working. Here's the story:
There are 2 massive truck batteries and an inverter in the trunk of the Delorean Time Machine that run the fog machines. Fog Machines are BEASTS when it comes to power and it's actually a remarkable challenge to pull of the powerful fog machine I have. Recently I've been having trouble and narrowed it down to the batteries which have been charged in parallel the past couple of months. Took them to Autozone and one was fine (just low) and the other was bad and needed to be replaced. Finally I had an answer. When in a parallel series (tied together), if the first one is bad? The charge can't even get to the 2nd one, and this was surely the problem. They were both under warranty and through some research I found they were bought at a Sam's Club in Texas. We have one about 30 minutes from us, I took the bad battery there to get it replaced.
They tested it, said it was fine. (sigh) I get annoyed. Of course their machine says it's fine, it's their battery and they don't want to replace it. They ask me to get the other one to see where that one is at. I drive ALLLLLL the way back home, bring it ALLLLLLLLLL the way back and both batteries test good, though the AutoZone "bad" one was a bit more "used" than the Autozone "good" one. Pissed I look up an AutoZone in the area near Sam's Club to retest them. Now? Both batteries come up "Bad". They print up the receipt showing "bad" and I go BACK to Sam's Club. The guy just looks at me like "the fuck am I supposed to do?". He wasn't shitty, I actually shook his hand and laughed with him because really, what is he supposed to do? How can he tell his boss that he gave away a brand new battery as a replacement when their testing equipment says nothing was wrong!??!!? Something however, is clearly up.
So I go to a THIRD AutoZone. Tests them. Both bad.
What the serious fuck. I walk out so pissed. My shit doesn't work on my Time Machine which is all that really matters. So, I don't give a fuck what your machine says, I'm gonna be out $400 because I have to buy new batteries either way. Maybe since they're being used for a fog machine they have to be in PEAK shape to work? So they're only ever gonna be good for like 6 months? Ridiculous.
On my way home I pass a big Interstate battery warehouse that is open to the public. Why not. Now this guy has a PIMP tester. It has a laser that gets the temperature of the battery before running the tests and he does the first one? It's perfect. In fact, it's rated higher than even the posted rating of 825 on the battery. It's as if it's brand new.
He tests the other one? Same. It's perfect. I mean he looks at me like I'm wasting his time because they're NEW. I tell him that 3 different AutoZones said they were bad and he said "Of course they did, they want you to buy new batteries." I have little choice but to agree and head home. I end up charging both batteries NOT in parallel and voila, they both get charged and everything works great. I then go into another AutoZone, one close to me I hadn't had them tested in...
Ever look at the batteries they sell? There's the "price" and then there's the price if you trade-in your "bad" battery for like, $20 lower...
...and it all becomes clear. Because had I not found that Interstate place? I would've had to buy the new batteries that run close to $200, and of course I would've handed in my "bad" batteries to save even $20 a piece because "what am I gonna do with 2 monstrous bad batteries?"
...except they weren't bad. They were perfect. In fact, better than perfect. They tested better than new. And what do you presume AutoZone does with these "bad" batteries that they will "take off your hands" for a trade-in discount? Duh. They sell 'em. You can also "refurbish" actual bad batteries for resale, but nothing beats getting a fucking BRAND NEW battery for $20. Now, devil's advocate:
One of the 6 times these were tested, I noticed on the receipt the girl didn't put in "AGM" (battery type) and it defaulted to standard. That could've been a simple error that caused "Bad Battery" to come up automatically...
...but isn't that ridiculous? Shouldn't it show the error on the computer and not just tell the customer "bad battery"? But of course, all the other bad readings had the appropriate battery type so... something is clearly up.
I also don't believe anyone working there was being malicious. They're trained on how to use the equipment and have just as much knowledge on the results as the customer do. I asked ALL of them what the settings were to produce a "bad" reading. Like does it have to be 75% good or better? Is this something internally that can be changed? They had no idea. Most seemed to think that it had to be completely fucked for it to read "bad". Clearly, that's not the case.
So, unless someone tells me otherwise - I'm fairly certain I've stumbled upon a MASSIVE issue with AutoZone. Now because my website is all but hidden from search engines because of my coding, I would have to really work to get this story out there and I'm so goddamn busy I can't see how that happens - but I do want this out there. And I do want a response from AutoZone because not only were my batteries not "bad", they were tested as BRAND FUCKING NEW from an actual battery place and they indeed work great once I charged them separately. AutoZone might very well have a company-wide scam going on here. Where basically any "mistake" typed into their testers comes up "bad" instead of highlighting the mistake or even more nefarious - they change the settings to show perfectly good batteries bad (maybe an algorithm of every 3rd or 4th battery) simply to sell new ones and rip people off. Either way, something is DEFINITELY up and I want to figure it out.
Now, this is a video blog and actually, I did shoot some video but to be honest? I don't find it "fair". I don't believe this has anything to do with the girl working the register that tested the batteries and putting her face online under the guise of "Scam" is just wrong on every level. So instead? I give you incredibly cute video of my kid getting the biggest kick out of telling her dada that she is indeed a cow a horse and a pig when the book expects you to answer "no."
That video right there is gonna make an old man WEEP in a few decades. THE CUTE. IT BURNS. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Love being a dad,