Had to get my car repaired this weekend (major big time repair). The brakes were squeaking - I mean all the time, even when I wasn't pressing the brake pedal. So, being a reasonably smart guy, I took it to one of those places that advertises on the radio all the time "we charge only $99 for a complete brake job because we really care!". That sounded nice to me, cause the last mechanics I gave my car to didn't care about me at all! So - I left my car in their capable hands, went to the nearby shopping center on foot (hence the gift for Angel), and watched the new Harry Potter movie with Steven. After 4 hours, the head mechanic finally called (in the middle of the movie, of course), to tell me that my car was basically a death-trap, that they had found dozens of parts that could fail at any moment, and that they just wouldn't feel right about letting me drive my car one more mile unless those parts were fixed. They would be happy to help me out for only $700, which was a bargain, considering my life was at stake. Unfortunately, they were about to close for the weekend, and they didn't have the parts for my car in stock, so I would have to leave it there for a few days, but if they ran into any problems they would let me know.
<Yeah Right!> My momma didn't raise no dummy, so I said "no thanks", signed the papers <they make you sign a form stating that they warned you about your car being a total death-trap and that you amazingly refused all of their attempts to save your life>, and I drove my squeaky car back home.
Next day, I woke up early. Since the specialists couldn't fix it, I called my own expert - my Dad (hey, don't knock it, he knows everything about cars. I know everything about computers, but he's the car expert). Anyway, he confirmed that would be able to fix it in a couple of hours, if I could get the parts, but not until - let's see, checking the schedule - two weeks from this Saturday, Hmmm.
Well, two weeks sounded like a long time to drive around with a "screeching banshee" of an automobile, so I decided to take things into my own hands. I opened the phonebook and called every auto repair store in town that was open (not many are open on Sundays, mind you). I narrowed the list down to 2, and picked the one that was closest to me. Arrived there early, and told them the ridiculous experience that I had the day before. Ha ha - we all had a good laugh. These guys wouldn't do that to me, of course not! They were professionals, and they weren't out to sell me anything that I didn't want. They would be happy to do the work same-day, but they didn't have the parts I needed in stock, so they'd have to do some calling around.
"What about this?" I asked, "What if I buy my own parts and then just pay you to install them for me"? To which the lead technician replied, "No problem! We would be happy to do that for you, because your happiness is what we strive for"! Wow - that's nice to hear. Those other guys were just greedy; they weren't looking out for my happiness. These guys seem so much more sincere. Yes, I like this plan - why didn't I think of it earlier?
Drove to the parts store and found EXACTLY what I needed in about 5 minutes flat. I told the guys at the parts store my funny story about the two different shops, and neither one of them having the parts for my truck in-stock. Hee hee. We all laughed. The parts guys are always on MY side. They always have what I need; no excuses. And the total charge for all of the parts I needed? A mere $350. Hmmm - that seems like a lot, but oh well, it's better than $700, and the quality of the parts is going to be MUCH better of course. And since teh installation is only going to cost $120 or so, I'm still way ahead! How smart I feel to have taken this option! I am no fool. I am a smart man. Good for me!
Back to the repair place - yup I have all the parts. Do you still have time to do it today? No problem. Here to serve you. Please sign here and we'll get started right away. Ummm - how much again? $550 for the whole thing. Five hundred fifty? for labor only? Yes, you see, the rpcie we quoted eariler was for a standard brake job. You have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, and unfortunately that costs extra. Well, hmmmm. What if you only installed the front brakes? (I can wait a couple more weeks for the back brakes. Mental note to take Dad out to dinner soon). Sure, no problem. $350 even. Okay - the weekend is almost gone but I have the parts and I want this thing fixed - let's do it.
My shopping experience:
Advertised price =$99.00 for the whole system
Quoted price = $700.00 for the whole system
Final Price = $700.00 for a job half done
Wasting your weekend haggling with mechanics? - priceless.
I dated a mechanic once. She was awesome. (With cars, that is.) My Dad is sort of a mechanic too, even though he's never worked as one. Other than that, I have no use for mechanics. In fact, I think most of them are scum.