This Behavior Is Almost Mechanical

, , , , | Working | August 23, 2018

(I’m out running errands when I notice my car is making a strange noise, and I feel a scraping when I turn the wheel. I’m pretty sure I know what’s wrong, but I swing into a local chain auto shop just to make sure it’s not something more serious and that I can get home safely. I plan to get the issue fixed a couple days later when my usual mechanic shop is open. To note, I’m a woman, and the experience of being a woman at the mechanic can be pretty unpleasant, ranging from patronization to upselling unnecessary parts and procedures. They take my car into the back to be looked at while I describe the problem to the guy behind the front counter.)

Me: “I’m pretty sure it’s the wheel bearing. I spend most of my day driving the car for work, so they need to be replaced frequently. It sounds and feels just like it did the last time.”

Worker: “Well, we’ve got in the back now. But to me, it sounds like your brakes are going.”

Me: “No, the brakes are fine. I just had the car in to be inspected a couple months ago.”

Worker: “Listen, I’ve worked here for years, and I know a thing or two about cars. Now, we’ll have to charge you [amount] for just looking at the car.”

Me: “I’m aware.”

Worker: “But then, to check the brakes, we’ll have to take the whole tire off and that will be an extra [amount that is more than double]. It’s a more complicated procedure and requires more manpower. And then, to replace the brakes, it’s [amount much more than the last time I replaced them].”

Me: “Let’s see what [Mechanic] says before we do anything.”

Worker: “Fine. But I’m telling you, it’s your brakes.”

(A few minutes later, the mechanic comes in from the garage and hands me my keys.)

Mechanic: “Your right wheel bearing needs to be replaced. You’re good to drive home, but you should get it fixed as soon as you can.”

(I thanked him and suppressed the urge to stick my tongue out at his colleague behind the desk. I paid the consulting fee and had my own mechanic fix it a couple days later. The victory was sweet and one I shared with my female officemates, who also wear out their cars for work and also hate going to the mechanic for this very reason!)

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