I have a nail in one of my tires. I call Costco because you will not be taken advantage of there. At Costco, you are all tools together, with your big fruit platters and your this and that. There, you are duped into buying many things of relatively good quality at a fair price. It’s nothing personal.
“What size tire?” the guy in the tire department asks.
“You know, car-sized. For my car.” Well I don’t actually say that, but I’m thinking, there are different sizes?? I have fallen at the first hurdle. He tells me to look at the sticker inside the door and call back.
Spring clothing ordered online has arrived. The younger daughter is opening boxes and examining merchandise. She’s not sure about the fit of her sandals. “Can I put an extra hole in the strap?” she asks.
No, I shake my head at her. At what age do they comprehend the whole on the phone/can’t talk to you right now thing?
They don’t have my car-sized tires in stock and it will be 3-5 days before they would get them so clearly I will have to make calls. This, I think haughtily, is no way to treat a Member.
I call a tire place near our house and when the guy asks me what size, I’m like, I know that one. He can get it by tomorrow morning and it costs the same as Costco. Result.
My husband enters and I tell him about my tire problem and how I have sorted it all by myself. “What kind of tire is it?” he asks.
“What kind of tire is it?” I ask him. “It’s one that will fit my car.”
He confronts my ignorance with an analogy he knows I will grasp: shoes.
“You wouldn’t walk into a shoe store and just buy any pair of shoes because they were in your size.”
“No, but that describes how you buy shoes,” I point out. Buy them and get out. And get out fast.
Black, rubber tires, I am thinking. Yuck. Boring. Hassle. Actually, I’m not even thinking about the tire as a thing in its own right, but as the solution to a problem. All of those ads for tires where they show children snuggled up in the backseat in their pajamas have not served their purpose for me as a consumer because I remember the ad, but without brand affinity, and the message to me is Don’t have car trouble because it’s scary.
I call the tire place back and ask what kind of tires they are while he chortles. The brand is something neither of us have heard of. “But they are the same price as the ones at Costco.”
“Why do you think Consumer Reports rates tires?” he asks.
“Because there are people who like to read about that kind of thing?”
I want the problem to go away as fast as possible and for my children to be safe in the backseat. My husband is furiously typing away at the keyboard and calling around.
The younger daughter has the audacity at this point to mock the name of the tire I was about to buy. “Who’s ever heard of that?”
I wheel on her. “You are in no position to say anything. You are know even less about this than I do. Name three tire brands.”
She names the brand I was offered at Costco, the brand she mocked and then she’s stumped. “Oh, oh,” she cries, “the marshmallow man.”
“Michelin,” I say, “well done, but no more out of you.”
“No,” my husband says on the phone, “I don’t want to buy the cheapest tire you have.”
In less than 10 minutes he has located a name brand tire that I can have fitted the next morning.
The younger daughter’s spring sandals that we ordered online have arrived. She is not sure about the fit. “What is your gut feeling?” I ask her.
“That they’re cute,” she says.
I’m on my own with this one. The husband’s work is done.