Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sometimes It Sucks Being a Woman

No, this is not an entry about periods or childbirth.

I'm talking about the dreaded task of taking your car in for routine maintenance.

Yesterday I dedicated my morning to getting my car worked on. First stop - Les Schwab to get my tires rotated and my brakes checked.

I recognize that because this is a complimentary service, they might take a bit longer than on the cars by paying customers. But for pete's sake, I was there for an hour! And literally, there were about 2 people in the waiting room. I'm pretty sure the guy in line in front of me was getting the same service done, and he was in and out.

Mine took forever because there were 2 separate attempts of trying to sell me on things to get done on my car - something about tie rods and resurfacing my rotors.

UGH, I dread taking my car into places like this because I know it's going to be one sales pitch/fear mongering attempt after another. Like if I don't resurface my rotors that JUST got put in this past July, I might just swerve off the road and die in a ditch?

Maybe I'm reaching here, but I feel like men don't have to deal with this as much. It appears to me that because these car people assume other men know about their cars that it's pointless to try and sell them a $400 brake job. But little ignorant ol' me has no clue about cars, so let's swindle me for all I got!

I know the economy is tough, and everyone needs to make sales right now. But this has gone on in good times as well.

As I usually point out in my blogs, here's another example of Tracy doing something dumb (not that I always like to highlight how dumb I can be. I just think it shows I've learned many lessons thus far the hard way!). A couple years ago, I was having my oil changed at Jiffy Lube in Eugene, right after I graduated from Oregon. I made the mistake of telling the mechanic there that I was planning on driving 500 miles home the next day. And boy did he capitalize on that one.

"Well your radiator definitely needs to be flushed. There's a lot of sludge in there, and honestly, if you're driving that far tomorrow, you're going to overheat."

Again with the fear mongering.

So I obliged to the radiator flush and discovered it was $100!!! I instantly called my dad to ask if this was even necessary, and he promptly yelled at me that it was not needed and that I should tell the guy not to do it.

The mechanic, overhearing my conversation with my dad, told me he couldn't stop - the process had already begun. Then he tries to smooth it over. "I know how it is. I have 2 young daughters myself, so I'm not trying to sell you something you don't need. You needed this."

No, sir. I did NOT need it, our family mechanic told me later that summer. I had been taken advantage of, and it pissed me off!

So I've always had this fear of taking my car in to get work done.

My mom always tells me to just say no to everything they recommend and then say, "My dad/boyfriend is going to take care of that for me." Sorry, Mom, but no way! That just perpetuates the stereotype that only men know things about cars.

Back to yesterday. I survived Les Schwab unscathed, just annoyed that it took so long. I guess there was an issue with one of my tire studs - it broke off, so they fixed that for free (they'd better!).

Next stop - the dreaded oil change.

There was no way in hell I was going to Jiffy Lube again, so I went to a place where I had a coupon. I practiced in the car on the way there saying "No. No. No." Just say no to everything.

Everything went really smoothly, and they didn't try to push anything on me at all. Hallelujah! I'm definitely going back to that place. They seem female friendly! FYI - it's called SpeeDee Oil Change (I looked past the annoying misspelling of the place. Hey, I can deal with bad grammar if it means my Malibu can get me to work).

I do admit that I don't know much about cars, so of course I can be an easy target. Not to mention, I'm a people pleaser and hate saying no. So it's sales situations like this that are hard for me. I admit that after Les Schwab, I called my dad and asked if I'd done the right thing by saying no to the tie rods (I knew the resurfacing job was bogus). Of course my dad said I did the right thing. But then again, he always wants me to say no to boys in every aspect!

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