Published by Editor in Citizenship
Por Lara Montenegro
so an everything but savvy person walks into a tire shop to get her wheels aligned and balanced before taking a long distance car trip, thinking that it’s all going to be quick and simple. At first glance the mechanic says, “Your front tires are getting eaten around the edges and they’re almost at the wires and your back tires are dried up and starting to crack; you have to change all four of them.” The person asks, “How much does each tire cost?” and he says, “X brand (top of the line) costs US$ 210, but the Korean ones are US$ 145. Our friend starts to shrink on the inside, not knowing who to turn to at this point. She calls her trusted mechanic to check if that is the real price for second grade tires, the mechanic says yes, and the woman feeling kind of desolate and with little money asks the fellow to replace only the two front tires which are in worse condition and that she’ll exchange the other two when the rain starts. He says that it’s dangerous and all but she doesn’t discuss it any further. He gives her a quote for the alignment, balancing and for the two tires and even gives her a hard earned discount (!!!) of 3% (the funniest part was that before he gave the discount he asked her not to laugh, saying it was the best he could do!), the total came to $ 290.00. The woman thought that she would get in and out disbursing only $ 20… She sits in the waiting room with her laptop while the guys work on the car and soon after, one of the guys shows up with a worried look on his face and says that it will be a little more expensive, cause all four wheels are bent, and that it costs $ 30 per wheel to straighten out… the woman’s reaction is that it’s better not to think too much and just have them get it done, after all, without straightening out the wheels they can’t align them, and the new tires will start getting eaten too. Two hours later she is closing her laptop to pay and leave when the mechanic informs her that the wheel axle is also bent and it’ll be another $250 to straighten it out. She asks how long it will take and the guy says half an hour. Mister, how can a job that takes half an hour to do without buying any parts, cost US$ 250.00? Ah, lady, that’s just how it is, we have a lot of expenses to pay here. The girl does the math quickly in her head: if she buys the four tires (Korean), straightens the wheels, the axle, does the alignment and balancing, it will all come to $ 795.00!! She gives up on the axle, pays the two tires and the work to straighten the wheels and balancing, and walks away wondering if there is any alternative solutions for a woman to not be robbed blind at the mechanic and car shops. People, is this right?!