Thursday, December 05, 2013 6:35 AM
Published on: Thursday, January 17, 2013
By Brian J. Karem
So, there I am waiting in traffic for the light to turn green when a young man rear-ended my BAC (That’s a Ford Expedition or a Big Arse Car) and scratched my chrome plated trailer hitch while doing about $3,000 worth of damage to his foreign-sounding name-brand car that was probably built in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I’m sorry, I was texting,” he explained to me. “But I’m going to tell my insurance company my brakes failed.”
“Whatever,” I said, and as we waited for the tow truck to remove his small car from underneath my trailer hitch, he felt talkative and started complaining about politicians.
He smiled when I told him what I did for a living and asked if he could write an editorial. I assured him I would look at the proposed editorial and asked him what it would cover. He told me he was tired of the dishonesty in Congress and how greedy most politicians are.
“They never accept responsibility. None of them – from top to bottom they are all dishonest,” he explained.
I nodded and said I’d be happy to read his submission.
Later that morning I took my car to have brake pads installed – I had heard an ominous crunching sound when I stepped on my brakes after I got rear-ended and I assumed my front disc brakes needed to be replaced. I’d also probably need at least one rotor. I know from experience the parts would cost me about $100 and the labor probably twice that amount and so I was prepared to pay about $300 for the job.
When I pulled into the car repair center – which one doesn’t matter because every one of them in the county looks and operates the same – I was quoted a price in line with what I expected to pay, but it didn’t include a new rotor. Though I knew I could purchase brake pads for about $60, I was quoted a price more than twice that as being the “cheapest” pads available. I was told I had to replace two rotors because “that’s the way it has to be done,” and I was told each rotor was $180. To get the work I wanted done, I was told I’d have to pay about $600-$700.
I sighed. As I asked the manager why I had to pay more than double the price for parts and more than six times the price for a rotor, I heard another service manager talking with a mechanic about the coming Inauguration.
“I’m not going downtown,” the manager explained. “I didn’t vote for the guy. He doesn’t represent me.”
“Yeah, I don’t like politicians any way,” the mechanic said. “They’re all dishonest.”
Meanwhile I was still trying to negotiate my way out of paying an exorbitant fee for getting my brakes fixed.
“Look that’s our mark up for parts,” the guy servicing me said. “That’s just the cost.”
“What if I just buy the parts?”
“Well it voids the warranty and we won’t install them.”
I asked the guy to get my car off the rack and give it back to me.
I talked him out of charging me $50 for looking at my car and he gave the car back to me with a Kit-Kat wrapper in the front seat from a candy bar I didn’t eat.
So, I had to go to a meeting later and when I arrived I met with a friend of mine and decided to seek his counsel concerning a recent email my son received from a college apparently interested in him as a football player. I wanted to know if it showed real interest or was just junk email.
My friend shook his head.
“What?” I asked.
“You didn’t get an email from . . .” He told me emphatically.
I didn’t understand and said, what?
He told me I was lying. There was no way my son got such an email.
I dropped it and later found someone else to consult who gave me better advice.
Curiously though, a few minutes later I heard someone discussing the Second Amendment.
He was concerned about Congress deciding on any new legislation that would limit access to guns because the Congress is “too reactionary and judgmental. Besides you can’t trust them to tell you the truth on anything.”
When I finally got to work in the middle of light drizzle, I have to admit I was lost in thought about all that occurred and couldn’t help but wonder, “Where did the Kit Kat wrapper come from?”