Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's A Racket, I Tell Ya

One of my life's little philosophies has been that the more money you have, the harder people will try to take it away from you.

Not that I have a lot. Of money, that is. But in my campaign to retire before I expire, I've been frugal to a fault stashing away the extra dollar. And it hasn't been easy.

Our local car dealership sent us a flyer with a coupon that advertised for a discount oil change. Also included was a coupon that advertised ten per cent off any major service. Since we just had our oil changed, we didn't need that done, but I decided to replace the ball joints on the front end. Expensive at over $400, but I'd get $40 off with the coupon.

Except that when I dropped our car off in the early morning at the dealership with the note and the coupon, I didn't see that my wife had given me the wrong coupon--for the oil change instead of the ten per cent discount. Since I wasn't wearing my reading glasses, I didn't notice. It could have been a pizza coupon I attached to my note and car key and I would have been none the wiser.

The dealership obviously knew I didn't mean for them to do another oil change since I just had one done. So they didn't. Do you think they would have given us ten per cent off knowing we must have made a mistake and given them the wrong coupon? Not a chance. No discount on our bill. Argggghhhh!

Fast forward to another oil change for our second car which came with a free 27-point inspection from the dealership. We also asked for them to rotate the tires, which would cost us an extra $25. I received a phone call from them while they were working on the car. They said we needed two new tires and an all-wheel alignment. OK, I said, I would take it to a tire place. Cheaper than having the dealership do it, I figured.

After I hung up, I thought to myself, now they're not going to rotate the tires knowing that I'm going to replace two of them anyway, right? Wrong. They did and charged me for it. I argued with them at the dealership to no avail.

Another of my philosophies is that everything's a racket nowadays. My first electric razor lasted years and years. Now my new one had been grinding to a halt, despite my regularly emptying the whisker deposits. Probably need to replace the rotary heads, I thought. So I went shopping. It costs $30 to replace the three rotary heads that hold the razors! NEARLY HALF AS MUCH AS A WHOLE NEW RAZOR COSTS! What a racket. Now I know why so many older men are bewhiskered. They can't afford to shave!

Taking matters into my own hand, I sprayed my razor with WD-40 lubricant, figuring that would loosen and free whatever was gumming up the heads. Uhhhh, no. Seemed to make it worse, in fact.

But then I managed to pry off the old rotary razor heads and found a stiff brush with which I meticulously cleaned each one. It took me a while and was messy as heck. But it worked. My razor is good as new. Not only that, but now I save on cologne as well since my clean shaven face also carries the manly aroma of WD-40 oil. What woman can resist that.

One tiny step closer to retirement.


Anonymous cassie-b said...

It's true. Everyone wants whatever money they can get from you. At least, almost everyone. We get requests for donations at about 50 a month. I used to donate to several charities, but it seems they have sold my address to many more who think they may have a fish on the hook.


10:33 AM  
Anonymous squirrel said...

Good job Dave! You could make a few extra bucks opening your own rotary cleaning shop!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

They are all shysters cept thee and me Dave and I'm not too sure about thee.

2:37 AM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, I'm so cheap that I would have gone home for the correct coupon and would not have paid them till they took the 10% off. It sounds like you need to change dealerships to me....

Glad you were able to fix the razor yourself. Maybe you should advertise your new skill and make a few bucks yourself.

Keep saving for your retirement, it's worth it. How's your basketball pool going?

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Che Guevara said...

And burn all Fitness USA's to the ground! Viva La Revolucion!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

Shouldn't a fellow who fixes his own electric razor be able to fix his own vehicle?

FYI: My driveway is presently supporting 6 old Mercedes-Benzes in sundry stages of (dis)repair. There
is still room for 13 bicycles, so no worries!

10:41 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

Dave, being frugal is so wise, but then you already know you're smart! Hope you get a few more "baby-faces" out of the razor!

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

My father who was quite bald on top was always upset at having to pay full price for a hair cut. You two would have gotten along just fine.

There is definitely a conspiracy going on and I no longer try to get small items (less than a hundred dollars repaired). It just isn't worth it. Oh yes, nothing lasts very long anymore and there is always a shinier, more technically advanced whatever, just around the corner calling for us to buy it.

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Oh God...I'm flat out laughing over this one! LOL
I love your sense of humor. WD-40 oil? Oh, be still, my heart....lol
BUT...you've got the right idea, Dave! Frugal now....good retirement later. Smart man you are!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Lee said...

Yummy! A man wearing WD-40...how can I resist! ;)

7:59 PM  
Anonymous vicki said...

I can't believe you sprayed WD-40 in there. Well, okay, I can. Men use WD-40 the way women use Windex.
I detest car repairs. I figure you should be able to buy a good car for 16,480.00 every 9 years and never put another cent into it. Doesn't that sound like a better system?

So- who are you cheering for now, Big D? We're at the finals, sitting about two feet from Greg Gumble and his teleprompter. It's B-Ball heaven/hell around here. Sort of the way Babette's driveway is to Mercedes.

10:38 AM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

Our jobs (yours and mine) is to keep as much money as we can and everyone else's jobs is to take it away from us. It's as simple as that. I feel your pain.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

Laughing out loud here! Hubby was the general manager for a large Ford dealership, so I know that people get frustrated when it comes to car repairs. You should have let the Mrs. handle the coupon thing. Women can hang on and haggle until they get what was advertised and threaten to call the Better Business Bureau if not satisfied. You have to act like a dog with a bone and never give up!!! And by the way, you really are going to need those extra dollars for retirement, because you don't find out until is is a done deal that retirement will be about one third more than you had planned for. Things keep going up and up, but your income stays pretty much the same. I realized the other day at the grocery check-out that nothing was less than a dollar. When we were young, I counted items in the basket at three or four for a dollar to estimate my bill as I shopped. Not any more! By the time you retire, groceries will be $5.00 an item!

8:26 PM  
Blogger BeverlyM said...

I dropped by to see who you were since you posted a comment on the blog of a friend of mine (Carine). I truly enjoyed reading this. I'll be sure to stop back by and even though you're not a Baby Boomer Diva, hopefully, you'll visit my blog sometime or tell your female friends.

Have a wonderful day!

Peace & Blessings,

8:37 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

The real way to save money is to not spend any, ever. This also leads to weight loss.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Deb said...

Hehe. I feel your pain about taking money from you. There's been several times I've been tempted to throw my checkbook at the mechanic, yell, "Here, take it all!" while running off, laughing insanely.

Hang on to those dollars!

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:54 PM  

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