Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Tires

In my life I have had more trouble with auto mechanics trying to cheat me than in any other business I conduct.

I got two more tires this week for the Honda. I had to make sure, though, that I got it somewhere else than Sears. That's a shame in a way, as I will explain.

So here is the whole story. Like most guys, tires became a subject of interest for me fairly early on. When you are a young man on your own, certain things about owning a car just come as a shock. As a teenager, you realize you can't even afford to put in the gas. When you get older than that, you realize you can't afford the insurance, not for what younger males get stung with. And the tires! buying the tires can kill a guy. So actually I became rather good at identifying good used tires. Brother Forrest actually asked me to check out what I could pick up for his cars when it happened I had some free time for that. It didn't bother me to pick up a pair that were in good shape, but that didn't have all that much tread [for my own use]. 10-15 thousand miles is a good 10-15 thousand miles at the right price. Once I picked up something like that and the mechanic who was going to put them on said he just threw away better tires than that! That I went and got those discarded tires out of the dumpster is a favorite story of Forrest's in fact. Well, in those days I was sometimes broke. But I knew what to look for, and my point is I know my used tires!

Back in September I ruined a tire running over a piece of jagged metal, and bought two new tires, as it is best to buy them in pairs. The salesman at Sears was bound and determined to sell me four tires, though, and proceeded to dishonestly represent the situation and scare me into buying four. He was the type of salesman that is a disgrace to the profession, caring nothing about the customer but caring bigtime about his short term earnings. First thing he does is point to some aging on the sidewall and claim it was a sign that the tires were on their last legs. This was to dispel any notion that the mostly sufficient tread would mean the tires are still good for some more miles. Little did he know I was a used tire connoisseur! Those tires were fine, and if there is anything wrong with the sidewall, it would be road damage or the telltale sign that the tires had been sitting flat with the weight of the car on them for a period of time. Furthermore he had a cock and bull story about how he wasn't a salesman, but a mechanic just helping out for the day. Unfortunately it developed that he had to assist the other salespeople with this and that, his competence exposing this lie. He probably was in management, teaching the other salespeople to lie and claim, as a purported mechanic, he wasn't trying to sell me something for the commission. Not that he perhaps wasn't indeed originally a mechanic, their training does seem to revolve around how to artificially drive up the price of repairs. The guy was unbelievable, actually, really making wild claims that I was no more than going to go out of the parking lot than have blowouts on those tires. He just wouldn't quit with it. I'd like to think he couldn't make his balloon payment on his sub-prime mortgage that month because of holdouts like me!

The shame of it all is that I had come to pretty much want Sears to be the place I bought my tires. I had gone through local retailers "Merchants Tire" and a place I think is now called "NTB". The problem with those places was that you could get good service one time, then the next time you went back it was all new people and you would get lousy service. The Sears place, though, seemed consistently good. Then I ran into this guy. Of course I couldn't get what he said totally out of my mind, which included a claim that tires simply get old and have to be changed purely for that reason. I checked this out online and sure enough you can find some not too convincing, clearly very conservative claims that tires ought to be changed every 6 years even if they have good tread. That age was approaching on these tires, and I felt I couldn't take a chance I'd regret not getting new tires, what with Sue also driving the car.

So I just got two new tires. Took it to a mechanic I trust and definitely paid a little more. But it was damn important to me that Sears not get the business. I'd like to think the younger person at that shop said,  "hey these middle-aged guys throw away perfectly good tires!" and put them on his own car. That would bring a smile to my face.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's been too long since my last post. I have been spending more time at work, where I never have liked to work on a blog. Perhaps this sounds odd, but the extra concentration means I don't like to be interrupted, while, on the contrary, now especially I need to be ready to drop anything and exploit opportunities.  

I've got a couple of posts I am working on. The one on salt is taking a long time, maybe it ought to be two posts. And I need to post about buying tires, perhaps I can get that out soon. I don't think I am going to post about Fantasy Football though [g].