Monday, October 26, 2009


Picture this, if you will. It's just before 9:30 on a rainy Saturday morning. The strip mall is not quite astir yet, although eager shoppers stand with their carts in front of Costco, ready to rush in the moment it opens. Further down the way, in front of the Dollar Tree stands a woman--in jogging pants, a hoodie, a jacket--who is crying, glasses fogged, hair matted from the rain, patent leather bag between her feet as she crosses her arms in front of her, as if to warm up, or to comfort herself.

That woman was me. (Did the patent leather bag give me away?)

Because just minutes earlier, after adding 2 more tires to my weekend's expenditures, bringing my total to $400, I was told it would take 2 hours for them to put those tires on and do the alignment I had paid for the day before, that I had an appointment for that day as well. Yes, despite my appointment on Friday afternoon for an alignment, they could only manage to put on my new tires. I rescheduled the alignment for 9:30 that morning, and was told I'd be in and out in a half hour. Only, as the sales person handed my back my debit card after he rang up the additional two tires and took my keys he said “that'll be about two hours.”

“Two hours?!?!? But I have an appointment! I had an appointment yesterday and you couldn’t do it.”

Apparently, that didn’t matter. And no one had the decency to be honest the day before and say “we like to get people in and out with new tires. We usually do alignments in between other customers, in the lulls, so your best bet is to make arrangements and plan to leave your car for the day.” Or that morning, when I announced myself as Joanne, having a 9:30 appointment, the salesman should have said, “Did you make arrangements to leave your car? I’m sorry you have an appointment, but it looks like it’s going to be a couple of hours before we can get to it.” Instead, he was too eager to ring the sale and let me know afterward how long it would be.

And so there I was, in the rain, not having made arrangements, not able to reach my parents, wondering what to do. I was overwhelmed and upset and all I could do was cry.

Flash forward about 4 hours, after my sister Mary saved me and took me home to dry while my car stayed behind waiting for tires and an alignment, after I’ve been sitting home for 3 hours. I call my father to pick me up and take me back there, no longer crying but using language I never use with my father, because after 3 1/2 hours I decided to call and check on the status of my car and found out it’s done. At 1:15.

Car care sucks. Town Fair Tire sucks more.

I should have called my dad to begin with.

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