If only I had not made that turn.
If only I had paid attention.
If only I had asked the right questions.
I was driving home from Abby's school this past Friday when I decided to make a random turn. I actually thought out loud, "Should I turn here or the next road? Oh, I'll go here since the bank is closer this way." You see, I needed to get smaller bills for our cul-de-sac yard sale. This was the biggest thing on my mind at that point.
So, I slowed down to make my left turn when I suddenly saw a truck come flying up over the hill in front of me. He turned on his right blinker for the same road causing me to slam on my brakes so as not to turn into him. Everything on my front seat went flying forward, including my purse, which of course fell upside down, spilling its contents all over the floor.
After I made my turn and was straightening out, I reached down for one second for my phone, which was in the chaos on the floor. I heard a scraping sound and suddenly the van felt crooked.
I should probably point out that the first part of the road I turned onto was a bridge.
Once I realized Caleb was fine (he sits on the passenger side), I got out, expecting to see the siding of the van scratched. Instead, to my initial relief, it was just a flat tire. And when I say flat, I mean really, really flat. Like, completely gone with the rim missing pieces. (Well, the pieces were not really missing-one can still see them hanging on the side of the bridge railing.)
Knowing my limited experience in changing tires (like learning when I was 16 years old and have never done it since), I called the tow guy and a mere 30 minutes later, he arrived. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day and the kids saw they needed to behave when Mommy was in tears. Considering he had a tough time changing it (he actually had to use WD40 to get the spare out), I did not feel so bad and knew I made the right decision.
During my lovely wait, I talked with our dealership where I had just purchased my new tires in November. Considering the lifetime warranty on these expensive items and my pleasant conversation with the representative, I was thrilled to know I could get to their building, get a new tire, and be home at a reasonable time.
One can understand my confusion two hours later when I was still in the waiting room, smelling the remains of my children's McDonalds lunch, hearing the same rep tell me the cost would be over $700 (plus tax). Excuse me? Oh, but then I was informed that if I wanted a rim that did not match, it could get down to $443 (plus tax). Oh really? Could you do that for me, please?
Apparently, my lifetime warranty only covers if the tire just brakes on its on for manufactory reasons. I never purchased the Road Hazard extended warranty at only $20 a tire. Also, if I wanted to set up my order for this, it would not be ready until Tuesday. And of course, since Caleb sits in a built-in carseat, I would have to drive home, pick up his old carseat, drive back and then rent a car from them.
As fun as all that sounded, I went home (slowly of course, on my little spare tire) and started calling used auto places. With the help of my father-in-law and the internet, I learned that finding a 17 inch tire is not easy. Most places kind of laughed at me and some just said, "Huh?" So, I did the only thing I could think of-complain and blame someone else.
In the privacy of my kitchen while the kids were napping, I called the manager at the dealership and went off. I asked why I was not given an option to purchase the hazard warranty and his answer was (I am not kidding) that people tended not to buy the tires when they heard it was more money. Really. When asked why that is my fault he agreed it was not and finally told me I could get my tire for half of what I paid for it. That was, "the best he could do for me."
Since I have heard that line before (like when we bought our van from them years ago and they kept saying that with each additional offer, especially when we started to walk away), I decided to keep looking around.
Lots of details later, they now have my van, I am driving a very nice, brand new Chevy Impala (it's white, which really cracks me up when they know I have two messy kids) and I keep getting calls on what it might cost. What is amazing to me is even after they broke down the prices, they are still telling me a higher price than what that adds up to be-do they think I cannot do math?
So, here I sit, waiting for yet another phone call where we can negotiate some more numbers. If only I had not made that turn. If only I had paid attention. If only I had asked the right questions on the first phone call.
But, if I didn't-I would not have such a fun story to share! Ah, lessons learned.