I know a guy …

Published 10:00 pm Friday, September 30, 2016

Convenience comes with a cost.

Let me give you a little background, which may be helpful as you read further.

I’m a terrible customer. I may check four different prices before deciding where to do business. The shear time spent alone is worth me going with the first option no matter how much more expensive it is.

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One afternoon, I’m driving down Trade Street in our 10-year -old mini-van with more than 100,000 miles on it and a strange noise starts coming from the engine. I pull right into Stott’s Ford and Taco immediately pulls someone off another car to do a quick diagnostic.

Appears I need some work done that’s going to cost almost $1,000. Ouch! I ask the technician if it’s drivable. He says, “I wouldn’t let anyone I love ride in that van.” That’s all I needed to know. I drive it back to my office and start the over-analysis process. Remember, he just told me the car isn’t drivable. That’s an important point for normal people.

Next, I ask a friend for some additional mechanics just to compare prices. He sends me the name of “a guy” out in Green Creek. I immediately call and after explaining the problem, I am given a pretty firm estimate over the phone and it’s significantly lower than my first bid. Jackpot!

We arrange a time for me to drop the un-drivable van off at their shop for some further investigation. At this point, I’ve just committed to driving an un-drivable van 30 minutes towards the middle of nowhere just to get another price estimate. Here’s where the fun begins.

On my way out into the country, I lose cell service and thus my ability to navigate, take pictures, text, eat and breathe. After driving around aimlessly for another 15 to 20 minutes I find the road I’m supposed to turn onto. It’s gravel, and looks like a driveway. My phone starts working again but says I’m 1.2 miles away still. Hmmm.

So, I drive past five homes, two of which appear to be abandoned. I stop to let a group of ducks and chickens cross the road and finally make it to what appears to be “the shop.” It’s basically in someone’s back yard. It’s official, I live in Mayberry.

I get out and meet the proprietor and his wife who run the shop and live in the house next door. This does not happen in the big city. Or any city for that matter.

Fast forward a few weeks: I agreed to let them do the work and I realize I actually have a spare part that may be helpful (read: save me money) and they tell me to just drop the part off sometime. So, I make the trip out again only to find the gate at the end of the driveway locked and I’m still 1.2 miles away. The part is in a black garbage bag, and I decide to leave it just inside the gate with a note that says, “please give to Daniel.” It’s 9:30 p.m., pitch black dark, and I’m leaving a mysterious black bag just inside the gate on someone’s private property. I’m really hoping a sheriff or neighbor doesn’t drive by because none of this looks good.

A few days later, I get the call that the van is ready and when I ask if they “got the part,” she tells me, “Oh yeah, it worked great.” Like that kind of thing happens all the time.

Convenience comes with a cost. Living in Tryon, isn’t always convenient but it’s always an adventure.