Fancy showrooms and nervous customers
Keith bought his newest car to date. Even so it was three years removed from the present. He admitted that everything was different about the newer models, so much so that he couldn’t change any of the fluids and many of the parts himself without a mechanical lift and specialized tools. Most of the common parts he knew how to change were buried three or four parts deep within the engine.
In the newest models, there was no such thing as an easy fix.
Changing brake pads and the oil were no longer a breeze, although tires were still simple.
Without the tools and lift, Keith was forced to take it to an authorized dealer for repairs, which made a $30 oil change over $80.
Harold pulled his car into the service lanes. Four cars were ahead of him in his lane, and three other lanes had just as many cars lined up. Already his blood pressure was rising to meet the higher prices for the services he would be asking for.
“Mr. Steuben, how are you this morning?” the service representative, Allen, asked.
Keith shook his head and smiled.
“What can we do for you today?”
“I need an oil change and a tire rotation, possibly a transmission fluid change and maybe new brake pads on the front.”
Allen jotted down the information and ushered Keith into the showroom lobby and made arrangements for the work to be done.
Keith gazed up at the 40 foot ceilings and saw his reflection in the waxed marble floor.
Kaching for the overhead, just add it to the bill.
He helped himself to coffee, real cream, and sat himself down in an untorn, clean chair. The lobby was full of comfortable furniture, all designed to make the customer feel at home.
Seven works of car art were hung on the balcony façade for the lobby visitors to enjoy. Each art piece was 10 feet tall and 20 feet wide each.
“This bill is gonna well over a grand,” Keith thought. “Probably closer to $1500. How else could they afford to pay for all this? Nine valets to shuttle the cars to the garage and back, six service reps, and I have no idea how many are actually working on my car. Might as well add these people to my will.”
Steuben closed his eyes and envisioned what would happen next. Allen would come out and show him a part that needed replaced for a cool $399 for the part and $149 for labor. He might even mention that the replacements were an investment for safe and prosperous travels, peace-of-mind kind of thing. Allen would repeat the process two or three times before he concluded his official service call to the dealership.
“Mr. Steuben,” Allen said, tapping Keith on the shoulder. “Follow me, please.”
“Oh boy. Here we go,” thought Keith.
After they arrived at Allen’s office, he said, “Great news, Mr. Steuben. The maintenance schedule said nothing about needing to replace transmission fluid for another 20,000 miles. Brake pads are fine and are good for another 10,000 miles at least. Unless there was a compelling reason to do so, we didn’t feel you needed anything else. Was that okay?”
“Uh yeah, sure.”
“Just a synthetic oil change and tire rotation today. Total comes to $97.22.”
“That is good news, Allen. Good news indeed. Just happy I don’t have to give up my first born.”
Allen laughed nervously.
“No sir. That’s next visit.”