Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Monday, October 13, 2008

Something Rotten



"Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it."
-Emily Dickinson

Last week we took the car to an automotive centre, hoping to acquire just a little advice. Spouse has, for the last few months, been regularly checking the air pressure, and one wayward tyre seemed to routinely lose air after a week or so.
Our initial response- other than to cheerfully drive two thousand miles on a trip to Michigan- was to trundle weekly to a garage, pump some more air into the tyre, and hope for the best.
Fresh air, for reasons shrouded in the deepest mystery, is not free in our neighbourhood and quite apart from paying nearly a dollar every time it was not, anyhow, a long term solution.
So Spouse sought the suggestions of a professional mechanic, who examined our car tyres with an expression of supreme authority but one that, conversely, sheltered us from discerning his true thoughts.
We stood under a rain cloud and watched his hands trace their way over the tyres and we answered his various questions.
Then, mumbling something about wheel rot and tyre rot and changeable New England weather causing everything to rot, he made a daring attempt to sell us four brand new tyres right there and then. Under his breath he uttered the word "hundreds" as well, and that certainly sealed the deal.
Spouse was having none of it.
We refused the noble offer, took our rotting tyres, and went home completely deflated, in a manner of speaking.
We went this weekend to another garage where, we first ensured, they do not sell tyres and had nothing whatsoever to gain by claiming that ours ought to be put out to pasture.
"Look!" the mechanic called out after about thirty seconds of inspection had passed.
"You've got a nail!"
With all the delight of a doctor who has just discovered the evasive cure for an ailment, he extracted a long, rusted and vile looking strand of metal from the sorry wheel of our car; he sealed the gash with some magic solution, charged us ten dollars and bid us good day. Never a word he spoke about rot.
Novices we both might be when it comes to the intricate details of our well-worn car, but we were certain that something or other was rotting on that colourless, rain-drenched afternoon a week earlier.
Our impression had much to do, I suspect, with a mechanic who weighed, not the worth of the tyre, but the trust and naivety of his customers- and erred in judgement.

3 comments:

The Texican said...

There is rot in Washington, and in the business world as well. Everyone is willing to extend the limits of truth to make a buck. When you can actually see the air in your tires it is probably time for some new ones. Pappy

Barb said...

It is so unfortunate that there are many who seek to take advantage of others. Thank goodness you both sought another opinion and saved yourself hundreds of $'s. B

TheElementary said...

Texican, what true words you speak- "the limits of truth"- it's sad that the truth can be manipulated like that.

Barb, I couldn't run a business like that, I really couldn't. It might be more profitable but eventually, word would get around and I'd rather have a decent name. Once, in Ireland, Spouse and I had a flat tire and we took the car to a professional mechanic, a fellow who knows my mother, and just about knew me- he fixed the tire, and charged us nothing, wouldn't hear of it. I will remember him for a long time. I would also recommend him because he didn't try to cheat us.

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