Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Repairman Can Beat Up Your Repairman

There are two things in the male culture that require full disclosure:
  1. The price of a new car
  2. 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.


  1. You boys will play your games...."mine's bigger than yours"...."I can shoot higher than you can"....I'm talking about basketball, of course!

    I think, even though that guy shouted you a beer, perhaps you should change pubs...there's something fishy about him! ;)

    BTW....do the brakes work?

    1. Ironically, a couple of weeks later the brake light came on and we had to take it back. But they fixed it for free thanks to our solid gold lifetime warranty. Also went back to that pub the other night, sat at the bar next to someone who promptly moved to a different seat. Maybe I should change pubs. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Paranoia is washing over me as I read your post. My car is going into the shop (dealership) this week as my brand of car does what they call a "60 thousand mile maintenance service" which will result in them finding way more than the routine fluids and belts needing replaced. All my piggy banks are feeling vunerable knowing they are are doomed because of the impending repair bill.

    1. Oh I'm just rehashing old stereotypes. You're probably much smarter doing regular maintenance and save money in the long run. Other than oil changes, we're pretty bad at the routine stuff and end up with monster bills as the car gets older.

  3. And I rue the day my dad convinced me not to take the auto shop class in high school! I will never forgive him. I'm completely ignorant about cars, except how to drive them and jump start them, and I hate to play into the stereotype.

    1. I'm pretty much the same way. Everything I know about cars, I learned from Bruce Springsteen songs. Thanks for the comment!