Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tire Store Scam

Stephanie over at Stephanie’s Soap Box made a post that reminded me of a story yesterday. She mentioned how she was sick of car shops trying to rip her off because she was a girl.

Now don’t get me wrong, they certainly do that. I remember last winter when our other room mate came home literally in tears because the shop said the noise she was hearing would cost $5,000 to repair and she was crying because she had no idea where she would get $5,000. She only paid $9,000 for the whole car!

Long story short I got involved and it ended up costing her $85. So I know it happens.

Still though, those unscrupulous bastards will try it on any one not just women! Before my now glorious career as a computer nerd ;) I was an aircraft mechanic and machinist. You can hand me most any aircraft part and I can duplicate it, no blueprints needed. Since many airplanes are pretty old there are many parts you just can’t buy anymore. That’s no problem if you have a Rob and a machine shop handy! :)

So, at the time of this story I worked for Braniff Airlines. Anyone remember them? They used to be a pretty big name. I used to volunteer to work the midnight shift since you could escape the Texas heat that way. I got off work at 8:00 AM.
Braniff also provided uniforms, dark blue pants and a light blue shirt with white ovals over each pocket, You know, one oval said “Braniff” and the other oval said “Rob”.

So my car needed new tires. I enjoyed working on airplanes for a living but it did not pay that well so I watched and waited and finally a big name tire store had a good tire sale. 30,000 mile all season radials for a mere 29.99 each! Oh yeah!

So after work early in the morning I am at the tire store just as they open with the sales flyer in hand. Since I just got off work I am in my ‘uniform’ and I am dirty and a little greasy. I mean this getup screams “mechanic” right?

I tell this guy I want these tires in the ad right here.

“Oh you don’t want those 30,000 mile radials what you want are the 80,000 miles radials for $90 each.”
“Well, the old T-bird already has 130,000 miles on her so I think 30,000 miles tires are all I will need.”
“Well, you know the 80,000 mile tires have lots better traction and maneuverability, blah, blah, blah” That was a lie because the harder, longer wearing compound does not grip the road as well as the shorter life tires do. Still I did not want to go down that road with him so I was still polite but I already had him mentally tagged as a liar. “No thanks I want these tires right here”

He just will not give it up! He just keeps trying and trying to get me to buy those higher cost tires. I finally had go, “Dude, NO, this is what I want, these RIGHT HERE”
“Ok, I see you are man who knows what you want, so can I interest you in a road hazard warrantee, only 14.99 per tire.”
“Why would I pay $14.99 insurance on a $30 tire?”
So we went round and round on that until I got fed up and said fine, “I’ll take one.“
“Yes, I want to insure one tire.”
“But how will you know which one to insure. “
“It will be for whichever one is flat”
So he decided to drop that topic.

Customers are lined up behind me and they are getting frustrated waiting while I argue with this non stop champion of high pressure BS!
Then he starts in on high tech digital balancing for $10 a tire. It took 5 minutes to get him to give up on that. Then he started trying to sell me these super duper valve stems for like 8 bucks each. On each item he will not take no for an answer! Finally I started getting little anger dots floating before my eyes and I growled, “No, no no! Here, just throw the tires in the trunk and I will get someone else to mount them!”

So he FINALLY gets that I am not going to buy all that extra crap and he drops all the extras and just writes up the basics like I wanted to begin with. Seriously, this all took 10 minutes! People were lined up behind me and this doof took up their time when clearly I was not buying.
So, as I always do when I get new tires I wanted a front end alignment so he added that to the ticket.

“In about 15 minutes old slick called me back up to the counter. “Uh, Mr. Johnson, we have a little problem with your front end alignment”
I am already leery and weary so I said “Yeah?” with as much skepticism as I could put into the word thinking he may get the hint. Nope.
Oblivious he goes on, “You see, Ford built your car so that the front end was not adjustable. So in order for us to do your alignment we have to replace some parts so that your front end will be adjustable. It will run about $300”
Oh the anger dots are swimming now. Man I hate being lied too!
“Listen Slick, I have 130,000 miles on that car. Do you really think this is the first time the front end has needed alignment?”
Completely unfazed he flows right into anther line of absolute crap.
I finally said LOUDLY so that all the other customers could hear me, “Jeez man, LOOK AT ME! I am dressed in a mechanics uniform! Why don’t you save your clumsy lies for someone who does not understand EXACTLY what a liar you are? Forget the alignment - I will get it done at a reputable shop.” He is still not fazed! I saw him take in a breath to argue some more, can you believe it? Before he could speak again though I said with menace in my voice, "Do not say another word, ENOUGH!" The manager had heard me, (as did everyone else) so he came over and called off his attack dog. I told the manager the same thing, “Look at me! Why would you lie to someone dressed like me? Why? What is wrong with you?”

That was the most stressful money I ever saved.

So Stephanie I can really relate; if you do not know he is a liar that nonstop all encompassing BS must be persuasive, it must get to be overwhelming. If it is that stressful when you know precisely how much he is lying then I can only imagine how much worse it must be when you don’t really know about cars?


Kat said...

OMG I think I may have just peed myself laughing so hard. I take insurance for one tire. LMAO. I think I may actually have bashed that guys head in.
You are way too polite :). Anyway I know that women are being ripped off in car shops. One day I am gonna break somebody's legs because of it.

Tanya said...

Wow, I am amazed that someone would go to those lengths to scam you. No wonder their tires were only $29.99. I hope your "fight" convinced other people to leave. I'd have picketed.

Sauntering Soul said...

I hate to think how much I've paid in unnecessary car repairs. I could probably buy a new car with it.

I know you were frustrated by this, but your story was hysterical.

Stephanie said...

Love the wanting insurance only for one tire. I'm so going to try that one. HA!

kay said...

next time i need my car worked on i'm taking you with me!

you rock!!!

btw do you still have the t-bird?

Andie said...

i am SO SO SO SO glad that for the most part, I know a good bit about cars.. thanks to my dad and my husband. I'm one of those few women in the world who know who Carroll Shelby is, how to change a tire, how to change an alternator, how to change my belts, etc. I had to learn this shit when I was in college because I drove a piece of crap car.

My husband and his dad rebuilt a 68 mustang from scratch and one time the same situation happened to him as did you. He just turned around and walked out. He said out loud... the $40 I would have saved isn't worth the aggravation of dealing with you assholes! LOL

we've bought tires from places like sam's ever since. They are no nonsense- they just put the tires on and you're done. LOL

OHmommy said...

"Yes, I want to insure one tire.”

Hysterical. I am trying to picture this guys face after you said that. Funny.

5 months ago I walked out of the Honda dealership paying only the advertised $199.99 a month on my minivan lease. Either I was really "tough" or I looked really deseperate and he felt sorry. Either which way, I felt good about not adding on all the extras.

Yes, I know... you are jealous of my entry level Japanese minivan.

Melek said...

wow. that's nuts. did you really say all that? i'm surprised he didnt try to sell you a new Johnson Rod. Those seem to be really popular in cars.

but you know what works best if you're a girl? wear a low-cut top and some heels when you go in. they're so distracted, they forget the upgrade BS and sometimes you even get a discount ;)

Melissa said...

I have found the same here, Mel.

Though I think if Rob wears a low cut top and some heels he might get some goofy looks....

I send the hubs to do the car stuff, then I don't have to deal with being upsold...it is a word, really.:) I used to sell computers, it's all about the upsell or cross sell. Looks like your sales person must have worked on commission.

Never fun for the worker or the customer....

Rob said...

Kat - I hope you were not at work so you could get some clean undies! :)

Tanya - Yes, people in line behind me did walk out! The post was already too long but once I was in the waiting area and bitching to the others at least one guy was convinced he had better get a second opinion, made them put this truck back together without getting the work done and left. I felt good! :)

Sauntering - Have you checked your halogen oil levels lately! If you let them get low really bad things can happen! :) ;)

Stephanie - It was “inspired” at the moment but I have used it again since!

Kay - Naw, I wore that poor old T-bird out long ago. Besides, it was an ’81 - the ugliest T-bird ever built!

Andie - Now… I have heard stories about Louisiana girls! :)

OhMommy - Are you sure it did not have anything to do with Melek’s method? I seem to recall a post about “Tiny 27’s” :)

Melek - you really say all that? Actually I said a LOT more. I cut this too long post way down. I can be quite sarcastic and back then when I was as mad as as that guy had me I was not afraid to use my powers of sarcasm for evil! Nowadays I try to use my powers for good! And yes, sadly, your method would work on me every time! :( It’s a good thing purchasing agents can’t dress that way at work or I would have to sell my plane! :)

Melissa - Hey! Just what have you heard about how I dress? And yeah, I am all about the up sell but I won’t lie to do it and as socially inept as I can be when the customer starts turning funny colors it’s time to stop and go for the repeat sale!

Taj said...

lol @ insurance for one tire!

I haven't experienced "it's a woman lets rip her off" yet. When you walk into a place looking like you stepped out of the Matrix people tend to try to get you out as quickly as possible.

But I might try the cleavage thing just for fun.

Crazymamaof6 said...


Jules said...

I actually had to say, "No means no!" to a solicitor who came to my office today. The guy did not respond to my initial polite decline after decline (and apparently he can't read since we have a 'no soliciting' sign on our door) so I finally had to pull out the big guns, tell him "no means no" and shut the door in his face. Some people just cannot respond to anything other than rudeness/yelling; so I know exactly how deep you had to reach inside of yourself to get through to that guy. People can suck sometimes!
House of Jules

Rob said...

CrazyMomma - In my best Elvis voice, “Ah thank you baby, thankyouverymuch!”

Taj - Uhhhh, that you KNOW of. So, do you know how to check your halogen levels? Or stealing from Melek, has your Johnson Bar been lubricated lately? Hmmm?

Jules - My first job out of college was writing telemarketing software! So I worked with a lot of telemarketing people. The telemarketer job is like playing football. Lots of people selling over the phone never make a dime but there is a select group who makes a LOT of money! I found out through repeated experience that every last one of that select group of “sellers” were total and complete jerks. They made socially inept nerds look like polished diplomats, but they could sell snow to Eskimo. I never could figure that out.