Did I ever tell you the story about the guy that I gave a ride to that was picking up his Maserati?
To be fair, this isn’t quite as good a deal as his. This is a $75000 car, low miles, $39k. His was a $100k car, low miles, $42k.
But still, you appreciate a good value, either way, no?
Anyway…he’d “bumped” – and yes, he used finger quotes – another car and cracked a headlight. Off to the shop he went and was happy that he literally only needed to replace the headlight, no bodywork.
See also: the title of my workout video.
The part itself was $3k.
Suddenly the $60k in depreciation looks…less impressive?
Conversely…one of my headlights went out while I was driving the other night. Today I took it to my shop, which I love, and asked them to replace it.
Full disclosure: I know I am perfectly capable of changing a headlight on a vehicle – maybe not a three friggin’ thousand dollar headlight, because I’m a goddamn clutz – but it’s cold and I decided to take out my White Guy card deck and play the There’s People For That card.
blow job creator.
Offhandedly, I mention that my pal, Diezel, had replaced my rear brake pads a month or so back, but couldn’t reset the onboard computer and maybe they could. Then I left, with the assurance they would call me in a few hours and Bob’s your uncle.
Sure enough, 10:30 I get the call and I’m all, “These guys fuckin’ rock”.
Kyle: Do you have a minute for me to run you through everything?
Me: Well, I’m alarmed by the word “everything” but buoyed but your timeframe, so please.
Kyle: Ok, so the headlight was just in need of a change, it’s a $20 –
Kyle: – part…so that’ll be $70 with labor.
Me: Oof. But, sure.
Job creator, remember?
Kyle: Now, the brake pads…
Me: Oh, yeah…
Kyle: Are fine. Looks like the back pads are at 11 mm and look practically new.
Kyle: The front pads –
Me: Say what, now?
I hadn’t asked about actually checking the pads, just reset the damn idiot light, FFS.
Kyle: – are also fine, they’re at about 8 mm and have plenty of life in them.
Me: Ok, super! So, the dash light…
Kyle: The sensors, though.
Kyle: Those are shot. The front shows 5% wear left on the pads and the back sensor is at 0%.
Me: So…the sensor needs to be replaced each time the pads are replaced?
Kyle: Yes, sir.
Me: Well, that’s not very kansei of the Bavarians, is it?
Shockingly, young Kyle got the reference – an old advertising gimmick from Nissan. BMWs, incidentally are technically not strictly German cars – the name being an acronym for Bavarian Motor Works.
Kyle: What a difference a continent or two makes.
But, I knew from my time in Diezel’s Garage that this is a $12 part, just special order, so he couldn’t replace it while he’d been working on the pads. His concern was the overall frayed condition of the existing sensor, not that it was a one and done usage.
Me: Okay. So…?
Kyle: We can get both of those changed for $115.
Me: Whoa, whoa…whoa.
Kyle: Sorry, go ahead.
Me: Replace the rear.
Kyle: We can do that –
And then he breaks into his Columbo schtick.
Kyle: – it’s just that, y’know, with only 5% life on that front sensor, it’s gonna trip soon and then you won’t know when your front pads need a change. That could be bad, and, well…if it were me, I’d want to know.
Me: Yes, well, it’s me, now, right? I think you underestimate the blessing a looming tree and no brakes would be.
Kyle: Yeah, it was a tough year. I get that. I’m just telling you cuz, y’know…I’d want to know.
Me: Fiiiiinnne. Replace it.
Geez. I have a mother, Kyle.
Kyle: Great. We’ll get that done for you.
Me: So, is this a today thing or do you need it overnight?
Kyle: Oh, we can get this done today. No problem –
And fuck if this kid doesn’t Columbo me again.
Kyle: We also noticed…
Me eyes rolling back in overrode the rest of what he said. I contextually figured out the subject was the Drive Belt and the issue was that it was frayed.
Another $160 and blip, blah, bloop. Good as new.
Me: Alright, fuck the front pad sensor, fix the belt.
Drive sounds integral. If Angela ain’t driving who cares if she has front pads? In the back of my mind, I recalled Diezel spouting off the percentage of stopping power provided by the front wheels and began imagining that tree.
Kyle: Of course –
When did service consultants become so genteel?
Kyle: – it’s just that, y’know if it were my car, I’d want to know.
Me: Yeah, yeah.
<Visualizing mom in my mind>
Me: What’s the all in?
Kyle: Very good, that would be…$460.
I’d left the garage after I dropped off my car and then walked around downtown, hitting first my ATM and then the ATMs of my two credit cards. I’ve gotten to the point where I like to keep the balances below two-thirds, and with Presidents’ Day, things had crept upward.
Ok, Presidents’ Day, a snowpocalypse and restaurants reopening for 25% capacity dining.
Having just paid those balances back down with my snowpocalypse driving fundage – which was embarrassingly lucrative – and the old man sleep deprivation that had me up and out of bed at 630 this morning after less than three hours of sleep – I was a little crunchy.
And. It. Showed.
Kyle: Let me see if I can’t work in some sort of discount for you.
Me: Fine –
<You’re cute, Kyle, but I’m not blowing you for a discount>
Me: – do you need it until tomorrow?
Kyle: Doubtful, we’ll probably have it done today.
I took a much needed nap.
After I scheduled – different post topic – a haircut for 4:00.
Of course, I wake up at 1-ish, boot around a bit and decide to make some food.
Kyle calls at 2:30, just as I’m finishing up and plating.
Everything’s happening at once now, innit? I figure I’ve got just enough time to eat, finish Bliss on Amazon – skip it – and pick up Angela before my haircut.
I roll in there and Old Man Everett pulls my invoice as some grease twink disappears to bring my car around.
<I see you, Grease Twink, and I’ll be back to pick you up later!>
Old Man Everett is trying to review my bill and close me out – minus a healthy 5% discount…on labor – but Kyle must’ve seen me eyeballing Grease Twink and is doing his best impression of a fly to my windshield.
I can do both, so much to Old Man Everett’s flusternation, I do. But Kyle has needs – namely, my attention. I’ll give up my discount for that.
But, all’s well that ends up with me in bed alone.
And I still managed to hear Angela purr for a few blocks before my haircut.