PlazaJen: The Blog

Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

I Would Shoot This Week Like I’d Put Down A Rabid Possum, If I Could.

Hey, didja all enjoy the full moon this week? Beautiful, bright, havoc-wreaking full moon that it was? Good god. The Crazy ratcheted up pretty high this week, I must say.

On Wednesday, I met a couple friends for an impromptu lunch at Red Snapper. Upon leaving, I thought my back tire looked low. Indeed, it was. As in almost flat. Yikes! So I hustled across the street, got air back in it, skipped my errands, and came home. It stayed inflated pretty well and looked good the next morning, so we assumed it was a temporary seal thing, hitting a pothole, etc. But now I’m paranoid. So I left work yesterday with paranoia in my heart, looked at my tire, and decided it looked lower. Not like the first time, but lower and something must be wrong. (One thing to know about me: I go from blissfully ignorant to OMFG WE’RE GONNA DIE AND LOSE ALL OUR MONEY FIRST in about 8.2 seconds flat.) So I’m worrying. And as I start to drive in the parking lot, I hear this crazy noise. OMFG! I pull over, spanning four parking spaces, and put the car in park, frozen, listening. I’m quite certain this sound is coming from my tire. Except the sound continues, after I’ve stopped. I finally realized that it was a plane flying overhead. Yay! I’m losing my mind!

Get home, the Wo takes a look, agrees it’s low, and we come up with the game plan: tomorrow at some point, I’ll go in to Firestone, get the thing fixed, get an oil change, and be on my merry way. We refill a bit with the pump he has. He checks it this morning: pretty low again, so now we accelerate the time frame, and I’m heading up there for an 8 am appointment so they can get it taken care of and I can be in Westport by 9:45. Everything seems fine, I’m hanging with Mr. Magoo in the waiting area until he’s finished, then I switch seats so I can keep an eye on things, and get called to the counter around 9. Lookin’ good. Except for one thing. They can’t fix the tire. It’s all shredded on the inside, he says. And my two front tires have wear on the insides of the tires and you can’t see it unless the car is up on the hoochymomma thingy, but it’s really bad and I need four new tires, he gestures at wildly circled numbers on a sheet of paper and can I hang on a sec because he has to run something out to some manager in the parking lot.

I get out the phone, and call the Wo. Tell him briefly that I’m being sold 4 new tires and could he talk to the man when he returns. Which he does, at that moment. I hand the phone over, he goes through the spiel again, and hands the phone back to me.

Now. Here is where, for me, it really broke apart. I can be blissfully clueless and unaware at times. But the rest of the time, my antennae are set on “11”. And so, as I take the phone, and as most people do, my head tilts down to listen and talk. But I am still watching the employee – who is looking at the computer, and I see, in this short second, he rolls his eyes. So as I’m hearing my husband in my left ear “THEYARETRYINGTOSELLYOUTIRESYOUDON’TNEEDYOUNEEDTOGOSOMEWHEREELSE” I’m thinking, “You motherfucker. There are two people standing right here, and the only one who gets to roll their eyes at my husband? IS ME.” So I’m pissed. He’s pissed. The Wo’s pissed. I hang up. Store dude looks at me and I say, “OK, this is why I let him handle these things. Can we just fill the tire with air and I’ll pay for my oil change?” And he says, “Well, he sounded really angry, I’m just saying, if you don’t replace all four tires, you have AWD, you would void your warranty (I’m still puzzling that one, as the dealer’s warranty expired a year ago), and let me take you back in the shop and show you this wear, you can’t see it unless the car’s in the air, so you can explain it to your husband,” and I’m all, “NO, that’s fine, let’s just settle up here.”

Because if I go back into the garage, it’s another point of sales pitch to wear the little lady down, I suspect.

So I wait, and then another employee comes in and tells me all about her morning and how she was t-boned on her way in and blah blah blah, and then a new dude comes in and says it looks like I need to be helped. I decline, saying I’m just waiting. But here’s what I think is interesting. First dude has now gone back into the garage, and never comes back out to interact with me again. New dude is now “handling me” and feigns shock and awe at the numbers on my tires and that I’m going to drive off the lot with my car in such a state, even, but is all smiles and polish and tells me they will give me their recommendations and an estimate, should I want to return. Now, I’m not all-knowing in the world of auto repair but I felt like this guy’s appearance was definitely a planned move and part of the whole schtick. (I heard the schtick given by the t-boned employee over the phone, all the dreadful things they found and how much it would cost.)

I pay, collect my key, my receipt and go. In my car, I look at the price tag: just over $1,100. Yes, eleven-hundred. Dollars.

The Wo is already regretting having sent me there, but he wanted me to have a nice place to sit and wait, but now I’m going where he wished he’d sent me in the first place, to Larry’s Wholesale Tires on Wornall.  Larry, or his other cousin Larry, comes in from the shop to see what I need and sends me down the road to the U-Haul place (which he also owns, and I ponder this, thinking how unassuming he is and he probably is quite well-off), because that’s where they fix tires. Honestly, I don’t know why I ever thought I’d be incapable of driving a car in NYC, because if you can cross two lanes of Wornall without a light and make repeated left-hand turns while you’re on it, I’d say you could take on just about any traffic situation in this country. I get down to the U-Haul spot and for whatever reason, I am instantly reassured. I’m greeted, there’s no problem, just back it in here, okey dokey, the guy finds a 1.5″ metal shiv that’s in the main part of the tread, he extracts it, does other manly things to the tire (including patching it), tells me he doesn’t see any shredding, but at some point I’ll need A new tire, because the side seam looks a little worn, and they all blinked when I told them what their neighbors up the street wanted me to spend.

So then I ate some Indian food at Chai Shai with Beth and knitted and decompressed (and wished I’d gotten the mango shake instead of the iced chai, because o.m.g. is it good,) ran into Dan of Gone Mild there, always nice to see him and say hello.

Then I came home, and discovered the breezeway was filled with bits of foam and bright red maribou feathers. Because Tripper had GONE INTO THE CLOSET, removed one slipper, and systematically shredded it everywhere. Then he took JWo’s old shoe he’d already done a number on, and completely chewed off the toe. That fucking dog isn’t getting out of his crate until he’s 12.

Next on my list? Re-installing software on my laptop that was rebuilt on Wednesday. I told you, this week has just been from hell! TGIF, indeed!

6 Comments

  1. it’s hard to believe but when I came to this country I didn’t know that American business would intentionally screw and lie to a customer. and the business where I lost my naivete was either Western Auto or Firestone and it only cost me $400. although I have to say, it saved me uncounted thousands down the road.

  2. Geeez, Louise. I’m sorry my Friday was booked, or I would have been glad to meet you two and commiserate. I had something similar happen a year or so ago. But I went the patch route first — it didn’t hold too long, so I wound up buying two new tires. But we had a little time to think about where we’d go (we’ve had good luck with Goodyear in our neighborhood). I’ve also had good luck with Goodyear in Waldo when I lived down that way.

    You were absolutely right on how they were trying to scare you and set you up. Jerks.

    I miss my dad (who was a mechanic and taught me a fair bit about what to ask) and I wish my cousin Steve were here — he’s a mechanic and an honest guy. Has his own place, and does great business because he’s honest.

    Women often get jerked around when it comes to vehicles and I despise that.

    Still keep an eye on that tire and ask Larry about how quickly he can get replacements for you if need be. Just my $.02.

  3. BTW, I think you could give the NYC taxi drivers a run for their money. Having experienced one en route TO LGA last weekend…

  4. Come out of the closet, Tripper…that’s not the reason mommy is mad…

  5. I know exactly what you mean. I’m lucky my Hubs is mechanical and if he can’t fix something he has connections to HONEST people who can. That’s horrible!

  6. It was great to see you at Chai Shai – that place is rapidly climbing the ranks of my favorite places.

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