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June 5, 2014 - Karin Elton
My daughter had a tire with a hole in it so my husband took that tire off of the rim and she bought another tire from her sister who had bought two used tires recently from an area salvage yard.
Late Saturday morning we drove in my car to a place that fixes tires for $5. The mechanic there asked for my phone number three times to put into his handheld device, and then handed me over to another guy who asked for my number again. They also got the VIN of my car and asked for the year and make of my daughter’s car. The second guy said it would be an hour or two but to wait around a minute. He came back outside with the tire and said the tire was not up to their company’s standards and they couldn’t mess with it. The guy advised me to go to another place and they would do it.
Kind of exasperated, I drove to the other tire place and I asked an older gentleman where should I bring the tire to get it mounted and he told me to drive to the fifth stall. I told a kid working on a truck’s tire what I needed. He told a guy to help me and I was glad to see that he was going to do it right away. A few minutes later he was done. I had a 20 in my hand and asked the guy how much is it? He said, $20. I was kind of surprised at the big price difference between the two places — $5 vs. $20. I said, half-jokingly, “If I had a 50 in my hand would you have charged me $50?” and he said, “No, I would have given you $30 change.”
Wednesday my daughter had another blown-out tire. She called the second tire place to ask the cost to put a tire on a rim. She told me later she was curious to know for sure what the price was. She was told $8. She and her sister, who was helping her with the tires, got hopping mad. They had a sneaking suspicion that we were taken advantage of Saturday because we were women. My daughter called me and since it was my lunch hour, I picked her up and we went back to the tire place.
I went up to the guy who I thought charged me $20. I asked him how much does it cost to put a tire on a rim? He remembered who I was and knew he was busted. He said, with balancing, it comes to $20. I said, I didn’t ask for balancing. Can I see a supervisor? He took $5 out of his wallet and said “here’s the change.” I said, Can I see a supervisor? He took a 10 out of his wallet and I said the same thing. After he took a $20 out of his wallet, my daughter (and her daughter) and I walked to a door where there were offices and I told the old gentleman that there was some funny business going on. He brought me to the assistant manager and I told him what the deal was. Then the tire guy walked in to the office with a $20 and said, “she came in close to closing and I got to talking to So-and-So and forgot to put the $20 in the till.” Yeah, right. The assistant manager wasn’t fooled.
He gave me my money back and didn’t charge my daughter for the second tire. They even buffed out a rusty spot on the rim. The manager thanked me for coming in and reporting the theft. I told him the guy has probably done it to others and he said, “you never catch them the first time.”
I told my daughter I should have asked the price up front and gotten a receipt Saturday. I’m sure my daughters learned some lessons too.
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