Friday, June 3, 2011

At the Service Center

I had one of those "guy" opportunities this week. It all started when my wife informed me that the car had failed inspection because the tires were bald. This bit of news was a little upsetting to I believe it would be to any guy...because the car is practically brand new! Tires are supposed to last for 40 or 50 thousand miles, and we only have 20 thousand on the car. I know this for a fact because I actually checked the mileage. And, like any guy would do, I checked a few other things. Had the tires been rotated? Yes they had. Were they out of alignment? Didn't appear to be since they were worn down pretty evenly. I even kicked the tires a few times because that is what guys do when they don't know how else to fix something.

But I wasn't through with my investigation. When it comes to cars, guys do not give up easily. My next move was to take the car to the dealer and let them know that having my tires wear out with only 20,000 miles on the car was a bit of a disappointment. The service guy agreed with me that this was a little surprising. I think that's one of their regular training sessions probably entitled something like: "Techniques for Good Dramatics in Customer Relations." At any rate, he did an excellent job of acting surprised and then went right to his computer.

"Oh, here's the problem, Butch. You've got these extra high performance tires on your vehicle."

"The name's Bart, not Butch. And why would "high performance" tires be a problem? That's exactly what I'm looking for."

"Well, look here Butch. See? These tires don't come with any kind of tread-life warranty, and they are only rated to last for 15,ooo miles. Sounds like you actually got some pretty good wear out of those things."

Of course, I couldn't see at all what he was trying to show me on the screen, I was unconvinced that I had gotten 'some pretty good wear' out of the current set of tires, and I decided there was no point in pressing him on the Butch vesus Bart thing. I took a different tactic and asked another question.

"So, if these tires only last for 15,000 miles, why are they called "high performance" tires?

"Well Butch, these are high performance tires because they are built for speed and handling. Why you can do up to 190 mph safely with these babies on your car."

"I see...I've always wanted to do 190 in the family car. And we'd certainly want to be safe while doing it. I definitely see your point here. But, my wife, who uses this car much more than I do, mostly drives it in family neighborhoods and shopping malls. She typically tries to keep it under 100 mph. So, I'm wondering if you have some not-so-high-performance tires that we can get."

"That's gonna be tough. I don't know if they make anything but the high-performance type for this model of car. You can still drive the car slow, you know, with the high-performance ones on."

"Right, so how much would it be to replace these tires with the same ones we currently have?"

"Well Butch, that's the good news. They'd only be around $300 per tire."

I think at this point I might have whimpered quietly. Not something guys are supposed to do. When I had recovered a little, I asked, "Please, just to humor me, will you check to see if there are some lower performance tires available for this model of car?"

I wait patiently, trying not to whimper again, for several minutes while my service representative punches buttons on his computer and makes this face that says, 'You're gonna be sorry if you don't get the $300 tires.' But then a miracle occurs.

"Hey! What do you know. There is another type of tire we can put on your car, Butch. They are, however, a lower performance type. They may last a bit longer--they're rated for 30,000 miles--but you won't be able to control the car as well, particularly when you get her up over 100 mph. And the down side is that they're only rated for up to 150 mph."

"That's good to know. It will be a struggle, but I think we can manage to keep below the 150 mark. How much are they?"

"Only $200 per tire, and we'll give you free tire rotation for the life of the tires."

With the free tire rotation, and not wanting to further test my guy-ness limits, I agree to take the lower performance set.

"So you'll put them on today?" I ask in one last attempt at male domination.

"Now Butch. I'm doing my best for you. But, no, we won't be able to get them on today. I'll call you when the tires come in. It will probably be next week sometime...or maybe in July."


Adam said...

I have that same problem, being called by the wrong name, somehow Adam becomes Alan.

Urthman said...

Adam -- Yeah, they can do some funny things with Bart as well.

Darin said...

Wow! I don't think that service guy had a clue... Who was he working for again? Jeff Gordon? Great humor in your story though.

Sheri Kowallis said...

Great Story, Butch, I mean Bart. Keep em coming:) I really enjoy your writings.

Toots said...

You made me laugh right out loud, Bart! Gees, what a story! That was so funny! But a heck of a deal to pay for those tires. Yea, I'm sure Julee will be keeping it to under 100 miles per hour in those neighborhoods! And the Butch stuff cracked me up! But, boy am I glad my Dad fixes cars so I can get the good scoop on what is what!
By the way, I try to read all of your posts but I don't always get to comment as I am pretty busy at the moment with a newborn. :) But, yes, keep them coming! I love 'em!

Urthman said...

Tammy -- I hope I get to see your new one soon.

Brandi said...

Love the story. The dialog is great. You've got to find a way of working Butch into one of your stories! :)