Tue, 08 Oct 2002

My car’s in the shop. Today will be my day of the escalating cost estimate phone calls:

“Mr. Charles, we found the problem. Gonna have to replace your starter switch. Cost you eighty-eight dollars plus labour.”

“Mr. Charles, while we were replacing your starter switch, we noticed your ignition ring bearing case was worn out. Have to put in a new one. That’ll be forty-seven fifty plus labour.”

“Mr. Charles, while we were working on the ring bearing we noticed your gazoinker valve was in need of lubrication. Gazoinker lubrication fluid is twelve eighty a bottle.”

“Mr. Charles, I’m afraid we dripped some gazoinker fluid on your driver-side floormat. No, no, we’ll pay for the new floormat. But while we were replacing the floormat we noticed that the ashtray was in need of alignment. Now, I can’t let you drive out of here with a misaligned ashtray. That’ll be seventy-six dollars for labour.”

“Mr. Charles, we had to change all your radio presets to country music stations. Can’t let you drive out of here with faulty radio settings, that’d be a fire hazard. So that’ll be another seven dollars for the labour, plus the ten dollar instruction manual interpretation fee, five dollar gazoinker fluid enviro tax, four ninety-five for the copy of Stuff Magazine that the technician was reading on his coffee break, and parts and labour…now, Mr. Charles, would you like me to give you the total all at once, or would you like me to read it to you slowly, one decimal place at a time, with a drumroll in the background? The drumroll will cost you fourteen thirty-five…”

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