Okay, so long lead-in short, I have to buy at least one new tire, probably two, since I had a flat and a sorta-flat tire yesterday evening. The flat is in the trunk, with a donut in its place, and the sorta-flat has been filled, and we’re assuming it’s due to me parking the car on the street that it’s getting lower on the passenger side, faster (weight and tilt and all that). However, the tires are all old, so they need replacing, anyway, so it’s just going to be done in steps, at this point.
Buying two tires would get rid of the one that’s too wide, as well as replace the flat (which is nearly bald, so no shop in their right mind will patch it), and they would both go in front, under the engine.
I decided to call the local Sears to find out about tire availability, and see if they’d be able to put the tires on tomorrow morning.
First, the price quoted me over the phone was $5 more than the price online, and he couldn’t give me a good reason. Good start, Tire Guy.
I told Tire Guy I didn’t want the $25-per-pair 90-day balancing option (I assume, with a name like that, it’s some sort of warrantee, and I don’t care), just for them to put the tires on, asked for the total, and he said, “Well, you can have someone else put them on, then.”
I countered with the question, “So you guys would actually put a set of tires on incorrectly if I don’t pay you that balancing fee?”
The answer: “Well, yes. Yep. [backpedaling] Uh, well, we actually can’t put them on at all if you don’t pay that. If we put the tires on, we balance them.”
How very…noble of you.
Now I’m getting amused: “So, what you’re telling me is that you won’t put the tires on AT ALL if I don’t pay that balancing fee?”
Going into I’m-The-Man mode: “Well, ma’am, the tires need to be balanced or else they’ll wear incorrectly…”
I’m losing patience, so I interrupt: “I’m not a moron. I’m asking you why you’ve got that listed as a separate line item when it’s what you’re supposed to do when you put the tires on, anyway?”
Sheepish, now: “Well, uh…well…it’s a service charge…”
Laughing: “Why doesn’t it just say, ‘service charge,’ then?”
Angrily: “Ma’am, do you want the tires or not?”
Still laughing: “Not tonight, thanks, have a good one.”
I HAVE A CRAZY IDEA: How about, instead of calling a line item something stupid, like a “90-day Tire Balancing (option)”, you call it what it is: a MANDATORY INSTALLATION FEE.
Unfortunately, they still have the cheapest tires in my size in town, so I’ll probably make Forrest go with me tomorrow morning to get two put on, because I need them. *grumblegrumble*