Sunday, July 22, 2007

Not As Dumb As I Look

My car has been more drama in the past 6 months than in the 3 and change years that I've had it total. I've needed to get it smogged for my registration and if it wasnt one thing it was another. I finally had gotten the mysterious check engine light to disappear and now, it was time!

Now, remember my trip to Vegas a few posts down and how it leaked oil most of the way to and from Sin City? I kept an eye on the oil and decided before I go get it smogged, that I was going to get an oil change just to be safe.

So off I go to the local EZ Lube with my (expired) coupon for 40% off the full service deal. I know this coupon is expired but I'm going to use my negotiating skills that I've developed at work to make this happen.

When I arrive to the EZ Lube I'm greeted by a man who you know was a car salesman in his previous life. He introduces himself and explains the services they offer. I tell him that all I'm really interested in getting is an oil change and that I have my coupon. He looks at the coupon and says "Well ma'am, this coupon is expired. Let me check with my manager if we are able to accept it." He leaves and while he's gone, his group of merry men are chatting it up with me a bit. One guy is especially obvious that he's hitting on me, which is pretty good for the ego considering I just rolled out of bed to get cracking on my car errands for the day.

Mr Helperman comes back to inform me that they can't give me the coupon discount because its expired - however, I can go to the EZLube website and print out another coupon and bring it back to them. Now...why would a business send me home to get a coupon? This was going to be easier than I thought. I pulled out the doe eyes and say "But I dont have a printer at home." He looks at me and says, "Well, see here, there is a code at the bottom of the coupon that I need in order to give you the discount." I look him straight in the eye and say "If you only need the code, can't you just look at the coupon on the website to get the code and input it into your computer?" Yeah, got him with that one.

So he asks to pull my car in to do a check on it, I explain about the oil leak and that I just really want the oil changed for the smog check I'm on my way to. Yes, yes, I know - I screwed up with that one. They have me wait in the little waiting room and he comes in to tell me the services they are suggesting I get for "the good of my car". Most of everything he is suggesting "would improve my chances of passing the smog test". I love how they use fear to upsell. When I looked at the initial quote, my mouth actually dropped - $312.40. I walked in with a coupon for a $19.99 oil change people! So he's throwing all this stuff in there, like a free air filter and a free fuel injection somethingorother, which would bring the price down to around$200. Meanwhile, the guy that had been flirting with me is behind him mouthing the words - "Don't do it!" I swear it was a circus. And then, he showed his cards, he said "Well, I'll give you the discounted price for the full service oil change if you get these services."

HELLO! The elusive code appears.

I tell him that the only thing I will get is an air filter and he can go ahead and give me the discount that he knows I came in for. He's trying to call me on how he just can't do that. And I tell him its crap because I can see that he's inputting the code right in front of me. I'm doing him a favor by purchasing an air filter from him because I can easily go to Kragen's or Pep Boys and get one myself and change it out. He knows he's beat. The only other time I saw a salesperson's face fall so quickly was when I was trying to buy my first new car with my dad and the man had the audacity to try to negotiate with my father instead of me, even though it was my money. But thats for another time.

So after my oil change, I head over to the smog place. The nice men at the smog place told me that my car was a piece of shit and not to bother putting any more money into the engine because it might die on me any minute, including while they were doing the test. I hear them revving up my engine and I'm just praying it doesnt die. Pass or fail, I would like for my car to at least be able to drive me home. As I'm waiting for the results, it feels like I'm at the hospital waiting to hear how a loved one had come through a surgery. The tech walks in and the first thing I said was , "Pass, Fail, or car dead?" He said "Pass" and I yelled "Sweet Jesus!".

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