Well you only have to throw a rock at my big baldy head two or three times before I will stand up and take notice. So after having to repeatedly put air in the same eight month old tire, I thought maybe, just maybe, I should get the thing professionally looked it. I say professionally because I rather unprofessionally gave it the once, twice and three times over and saw nothing visually wrong with it, but after the previous evening’s $1.50 air filling fun fest (see last week’s blog) I thought I should get it taken care of tout de suite. Unfortunately I was not tooty sweety enough to avoid looking like an un-evolved Monkey-Man to my wife (again, just read last week’s blog and it will make some semblance of sense).
I’m in that scary window of time where taking your car to the shop can be a financially dangerous experience. The car is just old enough to be out of the new car warranty ‘ it’s free, fix everything that even has a slightest chance to bust’ period but it’s still new enough that you still kinda want everything in tippity top condition. Mechanics are very aware of that highly profitable window of time and know they need to pounce before your New Pristine Baby becomes your Old Ignored Beater.
How often do you drive a ‘just out of warranty car’ into a shop and not end up paying more than you expected? The decision of whether to get work done is easier on an old car; you fix just enough to keep it moving and the older it gets the less you worry about repairing the cosmetic or annoyance stuff. And yes, in my life I have deemed turning up the radio volume, to cover an unwanted noise, as an acceptable method of automobile repair.
At the shop that morning I expected to be told that hundred dollar bills will be begrudgingly lumbering out of my wallet like a flock of Canadian Geese heading to a sunny Cancun beach for a winter ‘va-ca’. I must have looked like a gaping mouthed slack-jawed numb skull when the usually bad news bearing repair check in guy told me that when I purchased the tires I had thrown money at them for their highly complex, littered with exceptions, multi-page fancy shmancy extended tire warranty program.
‘Wow’, I thought to myself ‘the highly complex, littered with exceptions, multi-page fancy shmancy extended tire warranty program?’ I assumed that would get me a pat on the back and a cup of free java from the waiting room coffee pot, but lo and be – hold – onto – your – hat… They told me that at absolutely no charge to me, they would shove a super duper, grand brand spankin’ new tire onto the car along with rotating and balancing and plié and pirouetting and all that stuff they usually nickel and dime you for when you think you are getting a smoking great deal on a set of new tires. This was great. I felt like a stranger just walked up to me on the street and handed me a couple of hundred bucks because he liked the cut of my jib.
Now I actually had no recollection of paying extra for the highly complex, littered with exceptions, multi-page fancy shmancy extended tire warranty, but frankly if someone is telling me I can bypass the bush and just have a bird handed to me, who am I to turn it down… even if holding birds creeps me out with their evil beady eyes, flesh tearing talons and eye gouging beaks (brrrrrrrrrrr…. birds).
I should have said yes to the repair guy’s offer of a free loner car for the afternoon while they worked on my tire but I think my brain was still processing the no charge thing and now I was mentally tossing on top of that my disturbing somewhat non-fitting image of that ‘bird in the hand’ analogy I just made. I was looking at the guy still with that dumbfounded look while my head was imagining handfuls of deranged swooping killer cockatiels and canaries tearing my flesh apart.
I reflexively replied ‘no’ . I mean, I guess I was already feeling like I was getting a deal, so instead I told him I would just casually walk across the street to run some errands for the hour or so wait. It was an Indian Summer sunny fall day, what was the harm… I looked up but did not see any nearby swarms of attacking birds on my route… just in case. (brrrrrrrr… birds).
(Hmmmm, well here I am on the ninth paragraph and I have not really even gotten to the point of my little story yet so I think I will make you all wait till next week to find out the ever so slightly riveting conclusion to my tire tale. See ya there.)