Monday, April 25, 2011

DCH Honda Of Lemon Grove: Free Oil Change, Free Car Wash, And...Zoobles

Just this past winter, my beloved '93 Corolla had finally required one repair investment too many. I had always loved this car, back when my mom first bought it off the lot and years later when she passed it along to me after I finished college. The engine always remained strong, but unfortunately, many other parts started to give out. The heater broke, I had to replace the car handles after they cracked, the steering wheel started to peel from sun damage, and more. Living in El Cajon, the final straw was when the air conditioning broke after trying to fix it for the third time. I know some people are able to survive without A/C, but I just couldn't see letting my poor kids bake in their car seats.

Suddenly, I found myself in a position to buy a car for the first time. I weighed all of my many options, from buying used or new to buying from an independent seller or a commercial dealership. In the end, we decided to go with a closeout-sale Honda Civic. While we did originally check out the El Cajon Tipton Honda dealer, I ended up boycotting them after encountering pressure sales tactics. In contrast, I was much happier letting my commission go to a totally goofy, green associate at DCH Honda of Lemon Grove.

DCH Honda of Lemon Grove
The absolute sales clincher was Lemon Grove's VIP Program. I realize that the store made a profit off of the sale, and that all of the VIP treatment is their way to build customer loyalty so that they can make more profit off of us in the future. Still, I'm a sucker for deals, and the VIP Program promises us free car washes, free tire rotations, and $20 oil changes (the first one being free).

This afternoon, my husband and I took the kids to Honda to take advantage of our complimentary first oil change, including our usual free car wash. Arriving at the dealer, we dropped off the car keys and headed to the kid area of the lobby to hang out for the hour it would take to complete the job.

Our son setting up his Zoobles in the Honda kid area
Anticipating the boredom factor of waiting around, we let our son bring along a tin full of Zoobles toys per his request. Much to our son's pleasure, another boy his age showed up at the same time, and so he ended up with a built-in playmate. Click here to read my husband's account of what happened with the Zoobles (For context, read Part One about the Zoobles).

Zoobles are for anyone!
It was torture watching our son process the older brother's comment that Zoobles are for girls. It was as if we could hear our boy's thoughts: "Girl toys? No, it can't be. I love these toys, and I'm a boy." The worst part was when the older kid provided as hard proof: "Look at the colors." We could see our son starting to question himself right before us: "Okay, maybe the yellow one is 'a girl,' but the green one is still 'a boy.' Right?"

Where the Zoobles are found at Toys "R" Us
Fortunately, since my husband had immediately spoken up that everyone can play with any kind of toy, Zoobles are still in full effect for the time being. After our car was ready to go, we went to Toys "R" Us so that our son could spend his Easter money, and the first thing he wanted to check out was still the Zoobles aisle. As our boy made a beeline for the section, my husband slyly pointed out to me the sign marking the aisle as "Girls."

It is so touching that our Wittle One is still so innocently free from being held captive by many social norms. We know that our time is surely limited before he turns his back on Zoobles and anything else for "Girls." Sadly, and very likely, the words that older boy planted in his head today will probably continue to grow as he overhears more comments to the same effect. I hope that he will also internalize the advice he gets from my husband and me and not allow others to dictate what he can enjoy and who he becomes, but conformity is an overwhelming force for most kids, and even for most adults. As for today, the extra generous "Easter Bunny" funds from his grandparents allowed our son to pick out four Monster Jam Monster Trucks, a Bakugan with Bakugear, and...two Zoobles.

NOTE: For any little boys out there who may get teased about loving Zoobles, my husband Tweeted his blog posting about today's Zoobles encounter and received encouraging replies from grown men who also  love and collect Zoobles, because the toys are so colorful, cute, and cleverly designed. By the way, my husband is fan of Zoobles, as well. My son had to get his good tastes from somewhere!


  1. DCH Honda sounds like a real winner -- they understand what it takes to get customers' loyalty -- they're loyal to them first -- giving customers things like free oil changes and car washes are great ways to show how much they appreciate your business -- more companies need to realize this.

  2. Denise - I agree that good customer service is super important. As I wrote, I will give or deny business based on the customer service I receive.

  3. Hey Mama, thanks for the heads up about DCH Honda, even if it isnt in El Cajon. If you ever need service on another car that isnt covered by DCH VIP deal, you should check out Matt's Caddy Shack. He is a straight up good dude and great mechanic who works on all makes of cars.

    Would love to see you cover more local businesses the way you did with the Yogurt Mill. I first went there in the late 70's. They had the the best tart lemon...

  4. Now that is a good customer service from Honda. Customers will love these freebies such as service and give aways.

  5. VIP program is one of the programs being offered by car companies to make their offer more compelling. On the other hand, certain car loans are also being offered for many qualified individuals in a very low interest rate.

  6. Funny. That they don't honor that. VIP program anymore every time they come up with a lame excuse like ,,, the company changed the rules or it's a new management or due to a water main brake we can't wash it. Amazing.,,,tactics to lure us in , take the money and ,,!! Dch Honda of lemon grove are dishonest

  7. Good to see someone promoting local events instead of just advertising. Nice site!

  8. Yep, there's new owners there or something. Now we're just going to the local Tipton Honda for service and getting great service there.