Thursday, November 19, 2009

Someone Call 911...

Another day of goodwill. MJ needed tires on her Cadillac and asked me if I knew of anyone that could help her with her purchase. Naturally with my professionalism in the tire area I offered my services. My first attempt was at Costco, where the young man stuffing something into envelopes was to be my salesman. Not looking up from his work, he asked what size and asked if I could wait a minute, as there was a tough one that just wouldn't go into that envelope. I agreed to wait as I rolled my eyes. He informed me that 4 Michelin tires in the correct size would run about $750. I explained that I was a dealer and was that as good as he could do? With a serious look, he informed me that they did not charge extra to dealers. Suddenly, I felt I just may be in the wrong place. Leaving there, I went home and tried a few old places on the Internet, that I probable had spent thousands of dollars over the years, but no one seemed to remember me at Discount Tire. I called a kid named Jason at the local Discount Tire and he informed me that mounting and balancing was $15 per tire. I told him that the most I'd paid was $8.50 and he laughed. He said it's NEVER been that cheap and he should know, after all he'd been there a year and a half! I told him I was hanging up and he said to be sure to ask for him when I came in. You betcha, Jason! By the way, Discount Tires' best price was $550 for 4 tires that were BF Goodrich.
I remembered a place that I used to buy used tires for some of my cars that were a little older. They carried what we used to call "take-offs". Let's say you buy a new car and it has Bridgestones and you don't like Bridgestones and want Michelins. They take off the Bridgestones, give you a fair price for your almost new tires and sell you Michelins. I want to buy those almost new Bridgestones at a greatly reduced price. I buy them from a place called Tire Dawgs.
I called Tire Dawgs and tell them what I want, but specify "NEW" tires and I know they can get them from any wholesaler. I get transferred to a guy named Albert who listens intently, and agrees to call me back. Only that call never comes. In the meanwhile, MJ brings over her Cadillac and she goes ahead and transfers about 3000 items from her trunk and backseat into my little Toyota that is her new loan car. With two toots, she kisses me, thanks me and drives off.
I awaken bright and early today about 10 and go immediately to work, starting with a call back to Albert, who vaguely remembers me and says he put that order on the bosses desk, didn't he call me? I fed all of the information to Albert again, just like we never spoke and that's when I realized I MAY have been talking to the wrong guy. Albert DID call me back this time, about 30 minutes later with a price of $380 mounted and balanced and out the proverbial door. I countered with $350 and go an emphatic, resounding, NO! I told him to get them and I'd be there 30 minutes after he called me back, telling me to come. It was an off brand but who really cares? I think we have a deal.
MJ is a hospess nurse and we laughed about all of the items she carries in her trunk. Bed pans, tons of adult diapers, catheters and other things the terminal might need. The most noticeable things are the diapers and they're packaged in clear plastic bags. Lots of them. Also in the trunk was a renegade tire that began all of the fuss, having the nerve to lose air. At about 2 PM, I get the call from Tire Dawgs. It's Albert telling me the tires are in. I hop into the car and out of habit check the gauges to make sure there's enough gas. I sit there and wait for the limp dead needle to go, but it doesn't and just sits there hanging around 1/8 of a tank, probably enough to just get there, but not make it home. Shit! MJ said there was enough gas, about 1/4 of a tank, but no....
Now the right front tire is a donut. Do I drive on the freeway with a donut or take surface streets and go 35 MPH? Long ride, better gas mileage on the freeway, all of these factors entered into the equation. I hopped onto the Squaw Peak Expressway and went 55 MPH creating not one single friend, except an old lady driving a Mercedes, right on my tail.
Exiting at Washington Street, I fought crossing the Light Rail's path and avoided a serious accident pulling into Tire Dawgs after having to make a u-turn and coming back. Try this some time and find out why so many cars are getting hit by our new train.
Entering Tire Dawgs, I'm guided into a stall by a man that clearly spoke no English and I was forced to open the trunk for them to access the flat tire. Not realizing what the contents of the trunk offered, I watched Miguel call over about 5 co-workers and pointed to the adult diapers and then to me. A roar of laughter occurred and suddenly I felt a little uncomfortable, wishing I'd learned to speak Spanish years ago. I tried to simulate the International sign for "I can't control my water" and must have been successful, as a second roar occurred.
I paid, left and was driving home when I remembered the low gas situation. I pulled into a gas station at 32nd and Van Buren and would you believe there were antique gas pumps that did not accept credit cards? If you thought I was going inside in that neighborhood, you're badly mistaken. I didn't even have a gun! Driving further North, I found a place that would accept my card, but could not for the life of me figure out how to open the gas door. I spent 35 years in the car business and thought I knew of every place to hide the little button, but no. I was forced to call MJ again. She was laughing hysterically and saying just push it, it opens. Hmm... Never thought of that!
Mission accomplished, feeling pretty good, I sit back and watch a little TV while MJ is out with her co-workers celebrating her new job. About 8 PM, she shows up driving my little Toyota, drunker than 15 Apaches planning an attack on the Fort. Plops down on top of me and kisses me and thanks me for my efforts. We sit around for 30 minutes, she tells me she forgot to bring her checkbook and goes home because she has an early day tomorrow with her ex-lover, Ralph. I stood there in my driveway feeling like a penny waiting for change, as she peeled off. She yelled goodbye, I yelled what about my money? She yelled, I'll call ya!
My question is, should I call 911 or wait 24 hours???

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