A tale of towing terror
Last time we left off (April 20, 1988), our hero (me) and his mother were walking off into the rain after droping the hero's car off to be repaired by two bungling idiots who were arguing about the rotor being located in the brakes.
And now, Part II of “Buying a car can lead to expensive surprises.”
The next day, mom got the bad news. It would cost $300 for repairs, and the car would be in the shop for two weeks. Mom was worried about the $300, but I was worried about the two weeks, since my job is in Boca (and without my car, I have to work two shifts in a row because of the strange hours I work, but that's a story for another column). So, mom insisted on a second opinion.
The Second Opinion
Bill's father, Bill (Bill being my friend) recomended another garage that he goes to, which meant towing the car from one garage to another.
But first, we had to get a tow truck out to the first garage. Mom has AAA, so she gave me her membership card and told me to call AAA towing.
“Yeas,” said the nasal voice at the other end of the phone.
“Yes, I would like a tow truck to tow my car,” I said.
“Is the particular car listed?”
“Yes, it is.” Mom had just phoned in my car the other day. Luckily.
“Are you a member?”
That was a trick question. Technically, I wasn't. But mom was, and I had her card. My car was listed, but I wasn't. Should I outright lie, or tell the truth?
“I'm not, but my mom is. I have her membership number,” I said.
“Sorry, I am not allowed to authorize such a transaction without proper authorization. Is the person to whom you have the membership number present to give me authorization there with you?”
“Uhh … no.” All right, so I should have lied.
“I can have a tow truck tow your car, but at the regular rate of $1.25 per mile with a flat $25 charge.”
“Uhh … forget it,” I said, and hung up. I then called mom, told her what happened. She said she would straighten it out.
An hour later, she had it straitened out.
My friend, Bill, drove me to where my car was, and we both waited for the tow truck to arrive. We only waited ten minutes for it.
The tow truck pulled up, the driver sprang out, and pushed a few buttons. That darn truck started doing things you only see Transformers do. The only thing it didn't do was sprout a head and fly off into the sunset (because one, it didn't have a head to sprout, and two, there was no sunset to fly off into, but I'm sure that if it had a head, and there was a sunset, it would have). Within two minutes, my car was hoisted into the air, the driver sprang back into the truck, and drove off like he was driving in the Indianapolis 500.
By the time we arrived at the second garage, my car was off the truck, and the driver long gone, last seen racing a Porche down State Road 7.
The second opinion was better and worse. This time, it would take only one week, but cost $500. What could mom and I do? Keep calling tow trucks and having third, fourth, fifth opinions?
One week later, I had my car back. It runs fine, except that it never starts up on the first try, and there's this blue smoke that keeps pouring out the tail pipe …