There are two things in the male culture that require full disclosure:
- The price of a new car
- The price of a car repair
The price of a new car is required to be transparent because everyone considers himself a superior haggler who will never get taken advantage of by a car salesperson. And the price of a car repair must be disclosed because everyone knows someone who can always do it cheaper.
Unfortunately I forgot about those caveats when we had the brakes fixed on our car a couple of months ago. I stopped at the local brewpub for a beer where I sat next to “Any Other Guy in the World” (who we will abbreviate as “Any” for our purposes here).
Female bartender: Can I help you?
Me: Give me the hoppiest IPA you have. And make it a 23 ouncer.
Any: Wow, tough day?
Me: Yeah, just got my car out of the repair shop.
Any: (to the bartender) Ma'am, put his beer on my tab.
Me: Thanks, mighty kind of you.
Any: I've been there. I'm sure you need a break after that. What did they get you for?
Me: Brakes. Front and back.
Any: Disks? Pads?
Me: Everything, plus some stuff I had never heard of.
Any: Wooh, that's tough. So what did they charge?
Me: A lot more than I had planned for.
Any: And what did you plan for?
Me: (after a long pause) A few hundred dollars.
Any: Mmm-hmm. (wincing) Now you didn't go to a …
Me: Dealer? Heck no. They'll rip you off. Charge you for the paper mats they put it in the car to avoid tracking in grease.
Any: Amen to that. (He raised his glass and I clinked mine with it.) So if you didn't go to the dealer then you probably got a fair deal. So what did it run you?
Me: ( I hesitated for a long time then finally realized I had to come clean) $800.
Any: Mercy! Were they solid gold brakes?
Me: Well it included a lifetime warranty.
Any: Sounds like 5 lifetime warranties to me, plus a pet Panda bear for the kids.
Bartender: That's not so bad. That's about what I paid when I had mine replaced.
Any: Well you're a woman.
Me: Yeah, you're supposed to get ripped off on car repairs. (pause) Hey, wait a minute, are you implying that I'm a woman?
Any: (shrugs, looks up at the ceiling, then sips his beer)
Me: I'm new to the area so I kind of had to guess on where to go. Back in Boston, I had a guy that could have done it for $500.
Any: Those are yankee prices. I got a guy out on County Road 400 would do it for $300 tops. And since he knows me, I get a friend discount of $150.
Me: That's nothing. My guy in Boston not only would give me the same friend discount, but he'd throw in a couple of Celtics courtside tickets.
Any: Basketball? My guy has a private suite at Cowboys Stadium which I get to use once a season as long as I get my oil changed by him.
Me: Ha! My guy pays me to change my oil.
Any: My guy drills then synthesizes his own oil and provides it free of charge. And it's a weight you can't find in any store. And he doesn't always ask to change my air filter.
(I finally realized we could declare it a draw at this point, plus he bought me a beer, so I decided to back off.)
Me: Your guy sounds impressive. How can he afford all that?
Any: He fixes a lot of women's cars.