A Gay Out Of His Element…At A Tire Store
When I bought the Mini Cooper, one of the big selling points to me was the fact that the car came with "Run Flat Tires." These amazing tires are supposedly infused with the most modern and amazing of technologies that allow you to run 100 miles at 50 miles an hour on a flat tire. As someone who has never changed a tire in his life (if God had intended me to change a tire he wouldn't have created the automotive club that comes with my American Express card). And although I cringe at being a stereotype, there was no doubt when I needed tires that I was a gay out of his element...at a tire store - Don't Get Me Started!
The twenty something kid at the counter with the name "Matt" on his manager name tag was right out of a text book of "The New Salesman" (a book I just made up), he was personable, nice and had that whole, "Don't worry, I'm going to do whatever I can to make you happy." (Which incidentally made the price go up at least 20% I'm sure.) After a walk around my car and a lot of nodding, we went back into the store part of the tire store where he delivered the bad news. $1300.00 for four tires was the final price. I was of course tempted to ask about the supposed "special" that was on the board with the removable letters outside that showed "Buy four tires and get 20% off*" but before I could ask about it, Matt was on it and explained that the * was for "most" tires which as I've learned about so many things in my life, no matter what the special, no matter how cheap something is supposedly going to be, I always find myself in the *category which is the full and over priced category. As I tried to get over the price Matt began feverishly calling every three of his fellow stores in search of my tires. He finally found a place and they were going to deliver them in the afternoon. He tried his best to "upsell" me with a tire balance plan for the rest of my life and a million other things but I managed to hold my ground and just get the tires. The car was ready by the end of the day and I was assured with all the warranties, etc. I had also somehow agreed to that if the tires so much as looked funny I could have them replaced free of charge. So all in all this experience was not as horrible as I had expected.
Upon picking up the car I was amazed that what my father had always told me was true. Cars really do need new tires after four years and it indeed makes your car drive better and get better gas mileage. The only problem was every time I went over 50 miles an hour the car began to shake with such precision that it could rival the hips on the Hawaiian animatronic dolls in the It's A Small World ride. So back to the shop the car went and Matt was delighted to go ahead and sell me the balance and rotation service for the next three years of my car. Another $150.00 but the car was driving better...that is until I got to 60 miles an hour but after awhile I just learned to live with it. Sure, I knew it was probably dangerous but I just couldn't go back to that shop again and listen to Matt tell me how much my business meant to him and how he was concerned about my happiness as a customer above all else.
This was all five months ago and I'm not sure if it was my imagination but the shimmy at 60 mph seemed to get better throughout the five months. A guy I work with was having his car detailed in the parking lot of our office and he asked if I wanted the guy to do mine as well. And so it came to pass that I paid the $30 to have someone hose down my car in the office parking lot. When it was done the detailer pointed out to me that there was an enormous nail sticking out of the side of the tire. And so I dug through my glove compartment and found all the paperwork. I called Matt at the tire store, refreshed his memory as to who I was and he said he would call me back when he had located the tire. I waited for a week and a half. Remember how he found the tire from three calls last time when I was spending $1300? Well, such was apparently not the case now that the tire was being replaced for "free." What a difference five months make. I explained to him that I would want to "wait for the car" and that the tires would need to be balanced as there was a shimmy when the car hit sixty.
When I went at the scheduled time to get the tire fixed, Matt was not there but there was someone who knew all about me before I walked in, immediately he began the "mechanic speak" - you know they start throwing out sizes and weights of tires, valves, catalytic cataclysmic cogs or whatever the hell it is. I got so confused that I forgot what tire had the nail! As he was shouting mechanic terms to me and walking into the garage proper I shouted after him about the shimmy at 60. He was like, "Well of course with a nail in your tire that can happen." He kept walking. I shouted louder, "No, the shimmy came before the nail." He was gone. It was a Sunday morning and there I sat in the dirty waiting area with some preacher on the television telling me Jesus wanted to be my friend and that if I didn't take his friendship that I was going to rot in hell.
Finally they asked me to go to the counter and "checkout" where I learned that much like everything in life, nothing is really free. It was something like $40 for the service labor but the tire was indeed free. As he was checking me out he muttered something about the tires being "off by 2 milliliters" or something and that would of course make the shimmy happen.
The good news is that the car is driving great. Do I feel as though I have any idea what they did or whether or not it will last, certainly not. Unfortunately, I just feel like a gay stereotype a gay out of his element...at a tire store - Don't Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com