Free Scares Me (or “The Complimentary Car Wash”)

Posted: April 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

by Paul Gaszak, English Faculty

I recently took my car to Midas for an oil change, and I’d like to note three things:

1. No, I don’t know how to change my own oil. I barely know how to pump my own gas, and I feel like a licensed auto mechanic when I put in my own windshield wiper fluid.

2. It was my first oil change in nearly 20,000 miles. Take THAT 3,000 mile recommendation!

3. After writing me up for an oil change, the guy at the counter asked, “Would you like the complimentary car wash?”

  • The question caught me off guard. I’d never been asked this question before when getting an oil change. Not at Pep Boys. Not at Tuffy. Nowhere.
  • My car was in desperate need of a wash. The once sleek black exterior of my Hyundai Sonata now looked like a dustball dug out from behind a dresser.
  • My immediate response was, “No thanks.”
    • The guy looked up from the paperwork with an eyebrow raised. Clearly, no one dares to reject the complimentary car wash.
      • He asked, “Are you sure?”
        • “Yeah, no thanks.”
          • “Allllrighttt….” he said, nearly following with, “But may God have mercy on your soul.”
  • My dad was parked outside next to my car, waiting to drive us to our weekly bowling outing while my car was worked on. As soon as I got in his truck, he said, “Your car really needs a wash.”
    • “Yeah. They offered me a complimentary wash.”
      • “Well that’s nice!”
        • “I said no.”
          • “Huh? Why?”
            • “Because, I assume that complimentary is never TRULY complimentary.”
              • My dad paused to consider this, then said, “Yeah, you should have taken the car wash.”
  • The bowling alley was only a few hundred yards away, but my inner monologue spent that time trying to convince myself that I had made the right decision:
    • “I bet they increase the price of the oil change if you accept the complimentary car wash.”
    • “I bet they use dirty water.”
    • “I bet one of the dudes goes all Tawny Kitaen on the hood while they wash it.”
  • Bowling lasted about ninety minutes, during which time Midas left a voicemail saying my car was ready.
    • When I returned, I went inside and paid.
      • Amazingly, they just let me pay and said nothing else.
        • When getting an oil change at Tuffy, their complimentary offer is usually a list of 30 falsified recommended fixes:
          • “We changed your oil, but you’re going to need two or three new tires, a hubcap, maybe a muffler or two, a windshield, a couple steering wheels, an airbag for your review mirror, and probably a new engine.”
    • I took my keys and went out to my car.
      • They washed it.
        • It looked really nice.

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