Talk about unnecessary aggravation. On my way home from work yesterday my car started wobbling and shaking a little bit. I was in the fast lane on Route 195 about one mile from exit 16 (right near Six Flags Great Adventure for all of you non-New Jerseyans out there). I pulled into the right lane and since the car’s wobbling was getting a bit unwieldy I pulled onto the shoulder, stepped out of the car, and noticed that my rear driver’s side tire was in shreds. Awesome.
The car I drive is a 2000 Honda Civic which my Mom bought brand new and kept in really good shape. Then, in his last few years, my father started to drive the car and my younger brother started to drive the car around the same time, too. Somehow, the jack system that I would be using to fix this flat tire wasn’t totally intact. This is good news to find out on the side of 195 when it’s pitch black and freezing out and I only have a thin sweatshirt! Damn it!
So, I’m on the side of the road with cars whizzing by at 65 to 80 miles per hour with a jack that doesn’t quite get the job done while freezing my ass off. Like any good man, though, I figured that I can make this work. So I pull a pen out of my glove box and start turning the jack (which I put in the wrong place) to raise the car. As you may imagine, the plastic pen doesn’t last too long before it’s busted. So, I start searching my car for something that might be able to turn the knob on the jack and raise up this car. Lucky for me, I still have some of the tools from my visits to the organic farm in my car. While digging through the equipment, I found some hand tools – specifically a garden cultivator. For those of you that don’t know, a garden cultivator is that three pronged thing that looks like a claw.
At 5:30pm last night I was on the side of 195 with a garden cultivator turning a jack that was in the wrong place freezing my ass off. Wonderful. Did I mention that the tires were also held in place by lugnuts that were put in place via air-compressed hand guns? Yeah – those things weren’t moving for my tire iron…
The story takes a great turn at this point. After about ten minutes of essentially doing nothing on the side of the road, a Department of Transportation worker pulls over behind me and pretty much changes the tire in a matter of 5 minutes with ridiculously high powered tools. His jack has the leverage of a 4 foot pole that picks up the car with no problem at all. Plus, this guy has an air-compression powered hand gun and blows out the lug nuts in seconds. I tossed my tire iron deep into my trunk so I can forget about it.
The Department of Transportation worker placed the donut on my car and had me heading back home in no time. Actually, I wasn’t heading back home because I clearly needed a new tire. My destination from 195 was to the Sears in Ocean Township. The kid at Sears was nice enough and showed me different types of tires. Then he asks, “Do you just want the one tire?” Now, I now that you’re supposed to buy these things in pairs so I said, “No, give me two. Actually, can you see if I need to get four tires?”
To this kid’s great credit, he went out and checked my car and did not take the obvious bait. In other words, you would expect any salesman to say, “Yep! You definitely need four tires!” without thinking twice. This kid told me that I only needed two new tires, but that due to my extended commute (about 100 miles per day) the other two would have to be replaced in about a month or two. The kid was honest enough and he made enough sense, so I bought four brand new tires as well as the Sears roadside assistance or some such stuff. Whatever service I purchased yesterday, it allows me to have my tires replaced by Sears for free. And since I bought a set of Sumitomo tires that have a guaranteed 75,000 mile lifespan, the warranty should come in handy.
At this point, though, the story takes a bit more of an aggravating twist. No, it’s not the fact that it took these guys two hours to change my four tires (because what I really felt like doing from 6:30pm to 8:30pm was walk around the local Target and Sears while my tires were changed). The aggravation comes in the price. I think, overall, I received a good price on the total package – it came to $402. That’s not a really bad price given the product and services that I purchased. However, getting smacked with such a large expense the week before Christmas pretty much ends my Christmas shopping. Luckily, I purchased a few items for the people on my list last weekend so I do have some gifts to give out. Overall, it’s pretty aggravating, though.
And there you have the story of my night last night.