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The Argument Has Gone Flat

| Working | February 6, 2014

(A bike tire has two parts, an inflated tube inside a rubber tire. The tube inside my bike tire goes flat, as do the next two tubes I inflate in there. My tire is new, so I assume there must be something sharp sticking out of it. I bring it to the bike shop where I bought it.)

Me: “Excuse me. I bought this tire here, but all of the tubes I’ve used have gone flat. I’d like to exchange it for a different one.”

Employee: “Let me look at it.”

(The employee pulls the tube out and re-inflates it to examine the hole closely.)

Employee: “See? Here’s your problem. This is a pinch-flat. You pinched the tube when you put it inside the tire.”

(I know about pinch-flats, and I’m always very careful to avoid them. I haven’t had one in years, and it seems unlikely that I pinched three tubes in a row.)

Me: “I don’t think it’s a pinch-flat.”

Employee: *very condescending* “Yes, of course it is. See? See the way the holes are? That means that when you were putting the tube back in the tire, you got some of it PINCHED. That’s why it’s called a PINCH-FLAT. The tire itself is fine.”

Me: “Oh. Well, I don’t think that’s very likely, but I guess it’s possible.”

Employee: “Yeah. The tire is fine. Here, I’ll change your tire for you, and I’ll make sure—see what I’m doing?—that I don’t pinch it by mistake.”

Me: “Yes. Fine. I get it.”

(The employee puts the new tube in the tire and inflates it. He holds it up for me at the counter.)

Employee: “See? Nothing pinched, and it holds fine. You just need to learn to—”

(The tube inside the tire suddenly explodes in his hand, scaring half the shop. There is a moment of silence.)

Employee: “…all right. You can have a new tire.”

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