Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shooting the Messenger

If there is an irritant that is common to the civilized world, it must be car trouble. Since there is never a convenient time for it, and there is seldom a convenient cost for it, it continues to cover the "hate" part of our love-hate relationship with the automobile like a well-worn blanket.

I am in the unenviable position of owning two cars that are high mileage vehicles (one over 200k miles, one just under) that are both in need of some high dollar repairs.  I suppose I could suck it up and assume a car payment and buy a new or newer car rather than pour more money into one of these older vehicles, but finding the fine line where no car payment no longer balances with the cost and aggravation of repairing an older vehicle can be tricky.

This morning I returned to the auto shop to pick up my car after receiving the bad news of what it would cost me to get one of the cars back into shape.  I jokingly asked the service attendant what it was like having a job where you always get to be the bearer of bad news.  He wasn't laughing as he told me that it sucked.  He told me that most people treat him as if it were his fault that their car is in need of repair.  He said many of them get really angry at him.  He also said that very few of them are as nice about it or as understanding as I was.

I felt kind of bad for the guy...and a little ashamed of my fellowman for treating him (and others like him) that way.  I did admit to him that there was a day (fortunately, it's a day long past) that I might have been one of those people.  I know that it is not natural for us to roll over and be submissive when it comes to shelling out the big bucks for auto repairs. I know that we would rather bare our teeth and assume a defensive (or even offensive) posture.  Unfortunately, I find myself completely helpless in these situations and getting mad at the people that can help me never seems to be a good idea.

So tonight I'm sitting here with a cup of hot green tea to soothe my sore throat (from coughing from the crazy allergies in the Midwest air) and trying to figure out my options.  I've had lousy sleep for the past couple of days and my abs are sore from the coughing -- not the best frame of mind for contemplating my current conundrum.  In a way, it's too bad that an outburst at the shop couldn't have solved my problems. I suppose that treating people well is generally a good practice and the best option.  For a humorous look at anger management, you could go back and read my initial post from years ago.

Spread the JOY!

John <><

1 comment:

Mike said...

It's cheaper to keep an old car going than to buy a new car (also insurance is cheaper). BUT, if your in an accident the value of all your repairs is zero.