Happy Lube strikes again
The coolest things happen to me down at the Hinky Lube.
I wrote about this at some length before.
Well, let me tell you.
I go into the Hobby Lube, to get my son's car (1995 Mustang) inspected. My son being a teenager, didn't notice that his inspection had expired in MAY (that's the one nearly three months ago, not the one 9.5 months from now in the future).
So, since I would be the one paying the higher insurance bill if he gets a ticket for an exspired inspection, I took it down to Horny Lube at 4 in the afternoon, when they are not busy.
After five minutes, the guy motions for me to come out. He points out that the tag light is out, and that the cover on the driver's side front turn signal is smashed, exposing the bulb to the elements.
I point out that Honky Lube has passed this twice before, the last two years in fact. (It's true, the light has been broken for three years).
He points out that he didn't inspect it those other times, and that the law is clear about broken light covers. He can show me the standards, if I want, or if I have any questions.
This seems like a win for him. I'm sure he is right about the law, and in fact when I look at the cover I can see that the bulb is starting to corrode and there is a lot of junk up in there. Not safe, and if it is not fixed soon I can see that I am going to have to replace the whole unit.
I apologize for being a jerk, he agrees that I was a jerk but that it is not a big deal, and I go back into the waiting room. Jackie Dickinson, dominatrix model madame, is on Oxygen, and I don't want to miss too much. (UPDATE: I got this wrong. Her name is Janice, not Jackie. I was just too excited to notice).
30 seconds later, just as Jackie is ripping some poor girl a new one for not having enough energy for the camera, another guy comes in.
"Can you come out, sir? We want to show you something."
DAMN! I am going to miss Jackie, and they must have found something else wrong.
The new guy gestures to the other guy, and to the Mustang. "Now, just like he told you: we canNOT pass this car with that broken light cover. It's the law."
I nod. We already worked this out. The guy is right. I'm not sure why I had to miss Jackie for this.
But then, the guy blurts out, almost angrily: "But we can pass it if you give us fifteen dollars."
I am undone. I burst out laughing. $15? They will openly break the law, and endanger their own jobs, for $15? Split that two ways, and you can barely buy lunch at Mickey D's. What the hell?
I just go back inside. I can't watch TV anymore, though; I'm too stunned. This is like Mexico City, where fines are negotiable and the law is simply a starting point for the negotiations. (neither Harpy Lube worker was Latino, for the record. One blonde kid and one dark-haired frat boy type).
They finish the car, and only charge $8.50 (I had them replace the tag light). No charge for the inspection. Makes no sense.
1. If $15 is the value of the infraction, why not just wave it through to begin with? It's not worth endangering your job for that.
2. There is not really a safety problem here. THe turn signal worked fine. But what if there had been? Would our boys have just charged a higher "fee"? Would they fake an emissions test?
3. This is only the second time I have ever had someone solicit a bribe, openly or otherwise. Am I naive? Does this happen more often than I think? 'Cause I don't think it happens very often.