- I went out for lunch since I hadn't eaten all day and had 2-3 hours to kill. The waiter was adequate but had an unsettling posture that made me feel like I was being stalked or he was plotting a way to kill me in the parking lot.
- The service guy was supposed to call if I also needed a four-wheel alignment ($69.95 -- ouch, I can remember getting 2-wheel alignments on my first car for only $25). I had my cell phone out on the table in case he called while I was eating. Afterward, I decided I might as well use the bathroom before I went out to run errands. Sure enough, I stepped up to the urinal, unzipped my pants, and the phone rang! Oh well, at least he didn't catch me mid-stream, so to speak.
- I did need an alignment, which was not surprising. He said I also needed a new battery, which I already knew. I asked what he would charge out of curiosity... $132! Not only wouldn't I put a $90 battery in a car with 110,000+ miles on it, but I wouldn't pay $42 labor for something I've done myself. Indeed, seven winters ago I installed the current battery on a brutally cold night.
- I did some Christmas and grocery shopping, and then I went back to the repair shop. I had a book to read, of course, so the next hour passed quickly.
- Along with my bill, they gave me a list of recommended service that I had "declined." Actually, the battery was the only thing they had mentioned on the phone, but the list included a fuel filter, front struts (though ours are only 2-3 years old), and, to my amazement, windshield wiper blades for $26. We put new wipers on the car just 94 hours before I took it in for service! And they weren't cheap wipers, either, about $15 for the pair (since I change them only every few years, I figured I might as well spring for the best).
- Best of all, I asked for and received the police discount! After all, it is my wife's car. The funny thing is that usually she doesn't ask. I don't know if she thinks it's nervy or presumptuous or whatever, but as far as I'm concerned, a deal is a deal! It saved us about $25.
Now all I have left to do is replace the battery and we should be ready for another winter, knock on wood (with an old car you can't take anything for granted).