Piper cub like airplane and huge Tundra truck tires.

Learning How To Get Ripped Off

I've allowed myself to become too dependent on my husband Bob. So last week I decided to be in charge of buying new tires for our truck. A bit anxious, we went to a tire place. I said, "Stay behind me. And don't say anything unless I ask."

A man came over who reminded me of a slime ball attorney I see on TV who advertises that no matter what, he'll get you all the money you deserve whether your doctor did anything wrong or not.

"My name is Jim. Can I help you?"

A panic attack was beginning. I froze. Bob whispered, "Tell him what you want."

"Um, yes." He was a nice looking guy who was bald. I pointed out the window toward our truck, then looked at our tires, looked back at him and blurted out, "You're bald. NO! They're bald! You're not. I mean, you are, but that's not what why I'm here . . . of course." I started giggling uncontrollably. "Why would I come here just because you're bald?"

Bob, shuffling his feet in embarrassment said, "She doesn't get out much." Then he motioned for me to speak.

"I'd like 4 tires please."

"What kind?" he said. I turned to Bob. He mouthed the words, "You can do this."

"Black." Oh I was so proud of myself.

Jim showed us a set of his most expensive tires plus a set that was hundreds of dollars cheaper.

"We'd like those." I pointed to the cheaper ones.

"You seem like nice people. Can I tell you something about those tires you picked?"

"Of course." I was so honored that he thought we were nice.

"I would never let anyone in my family drive a vehicle with those tires."

"Thank you so much for sharing." I was incredibly touched by his concern.

He put his arm around my shoulders and spoke softly so only Bob and I could hear. "I'll sell you the better ones with a discount of $75."

"You'd do that for us?" I couldn't believe it.

Bob was shaking his head as he walked off to the men's room.

I heard my cell phone ring. "Hello?"

"Don't say it's me," Bob said from his own cell phone. "Just thank the guy and walk out. I'll meet you at the truck." He hung up.

"Thank you, Jim. Bob wants to meet at our truck."

"Great. I'll give you a free evaluation of the tires you're currently driving on."

"Oh man, you have got to be kidding me! You are amazing!" Jim and I saw Bob sitting in the driver's seat. When Bob saw us, it appeared that he was smashing his head on the steering wheel.

Jim took out a small metal gauge and measured the tread on our tires. Bob got out of the truck.

"My good friends," Jim said. "Your truck wouldn't pass inspection with tires like this."

"It just did this morning," Bob pointed to the sticker.

"Tell you what. I'm going to sell you those top-of-the-line tires at my cost."

My mouth dropped. He said, "I'll just write up the slip. You don't like what you see? We'll tear it up. Got a deal?" He reached his hand out to both of us. I took his hand with both of mine and shook wholeheartedly, "You've got a deal!"

Bob groaned.

Jim looked at me. "Want 'em mounted?"


"Yes, ma'am. We'll mount them on the rims and put those babies right on your truck for you."


"Is that extra?" Bob said.

"Only fifty dollars."

I said, "You don't have to put them on. Could you just wrap them up? We'll have them to go."

By the time Jim was through typing, he had added $350 in charges.

Bob looked at one of the charges. "Your ad says 'Free Alignment.'"

"Actually it says 'Free Front Wheel Alignment.' This charge is for rear wheel alignment."

He quickly moved on. "With just a $75 deposit, I'll hold this deal just for you for one month."

By now I had finally caught on. I took Bob's arm. "Sorry, Jim. You've lost a sale." We walked out.

On our ride home Bob said, "I'm proud of you."

"Thanks sweets. I'd rather not be as dependent as I've become. In fact, I've been keeping a surprise from you for a while."

With a huge grin and an expression showing appreciation and respect, he asked what I had done.

"Well, this charming investment guy called me and I gave him all of our savings. His name's Bernie something."

Oddly, he started smashing his head on the steering wheel again.

~ Saralee Perel ~

Saralee Perel is an award-winning columnist, novelest, and retired psychotherapist. Also, she is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul, Family Circle Magazine, the Dallas News and many other publications. Her novel, "Raw Nerves" - A Cape Cod Comedic Thriller, enjoys very favorable reviews, and can be purchased at Amazon.com. You can visit her website at: www.saraleeperel.com. Take a minute to let Saralee know what you think of this story: sperel@saraleeperel.com.
[ by: Saralee Perel Copyright © 2008 (sperel@saraleeperel.com) -- {used with permission} ]

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