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Wheeler Dealer, Or How I Became Disgusted Buying Tires

Updated on March 17, 2013

For most of my life I have been a rule follower. While I’d love to imagine that I’m the person constantly “coloring outside the lines” the truth of the matter is that other than a few expletives shouted in public places at inopportune times the fact of the matter is that I do pretty much what I’m supposed to do. That includes (as much as I’m going against my Jewish stereotype) paying what the sticker price is. Sure I love a sale like everyone else but if it’s something that I don’t really know what it should cost, I’m pretty much willing to pay whatever they’re asking. That was until I had to buy new tires for my car. I’ve heard people say they negotiate or haggle on everything they buy and the rest of us are morons not to do so but I have not been one of those people until this past weekend. Wheeler dealer, or how I became disgusted buying tires – Don’t Get Me Started!

I’ll admit it, I’m a researcher. I did a lot of research online (which included looking for coupons and other deals that were currently going on in the world of tires) and then I eventually opted for going the much safer route, asking my older brother who knows at least more than me on the subject of automotive whatnot. And then it began, actually having to go and interface with the people at the tire places, this was what I was NOT looking forward to in the least.

I don’t care how evolved we’ve become or that Jan and Bob are watching Modern Family in Des Moines and are warming up to the idea of gays living on the same planet with them (as long as they’re not expecting equal rights or anything crazy like that) when it comes to walking into anything automotive you’re screwed if you’re a woman or have the least bit of swish in your step. At the first place Jimmy came out of the place to greet me as I got out of my car. He seemed almost like the valet or something the way he practically opened my door for me. He was very friendly and wanted me to come into the office so that he could see what he could do. I have a Mini Cooper so he explained that anything they had for my car would take 3 days to order. (This is never a good sign when it comes to pricing) I told him I wanted to get away from the expensive run flat tires that were on the car and wanted regular tires. (Good thing as they didn’t have the run flat tires anyway.) He showed me two options and by that time John and Jerry had come to the counter (it was a slow day, obviously). John, I’m presuming the manager answered when I asked if the $100 coupon online was still good due to the fact the tires had to be ordered. John graciously informed me that they could not offer this offer as these tires were special order. They all weighed in on what would be the best tire to buy and when I asked them to print out the few options so that I could do some more research suddenly John decided that if I paid for the tires today (that would come in 3 days later) he would give me the $100 off. I could feel my one eyebrow raising. As non-tempting as the offer was, I decided to pass however I asked Jerry if he would go ahead and check the air pressure in my tires and put air in as needed. He obliged, telling me that one of my tires only had 5 pounds of air in it and that I shouldn’t drive on a freeway unless I wanted the tread to separate and tear up the entire side of my vehicle immediately. I thanked him and moved on to the next tire store.

The next tire store had so many people in it I would have thought they were either giving something away free or that people had turned into ants and this was the latest ant hill where we were all supposed to be. Chad greeted me as soon as I walked in and walked me out to my car to look at what was currently on the car. He insisted on the actual mileage and then we walked back in the store and he took me over to one of the five podiums that were set up with computers. We discussed my needs and Chad seemed very intent on trying to assist. He showed me a few options and after some back and forth and me using my, “could you print that out so I can do some more research” he said the dreaded line, “What could I do to make you buy these tires right now?” Okay, if we’re going there, I decided two can play at this game. I said, “Chad, this is a lot more than I had intended to pay. You’re going to have to do much better and throw in the roadside hazard assistance.” Chad started typing away and suddenly he was showing me a much lower number and assuring me that it was his “cost” on the tires. Yeah, right. They had to get two of the tires from another store but he assured me that it he could send someone over right away to get them and so I sealed the deal. Sold!

The thing is, do we really want to haggle over everything we buy? Do we really want the person at the deli counter saying, “What’s it going to take to put you into this sharp cheddar today?” I don’t. I know some people adore this way of living. I am not one of these people. I get that it’s retail and called “sales” for a reason but what if people just put a decent price on things and we paid it? I know, so maybe I’m not an outside the box thinker or haggler, I’m a dreamer! But look out world because my eyes have been opened, I won’t even buy a pack of gum now without asking, “Can you do any better than that? Because it you can’t I’m walking away.” I can tell I’m going to be a lot of fun to be around!


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