Today’s find: Buyer beware

My ‘Tuesday’ didn’t exactly go according to plan. A dead car battery threw the day’s schedule into a bit of a tailspin…and threatened to take my good humor right along with it.

In retrospect, I realize that my own lofty expectations and assumptions played a significant role in how the whole scenario played out. I mean, really: A simple car repair didn’t need to push my ‘drama needle’ all the way into the red zone: AGGRIEVED!

And yet, it did – at least for a time. Specifically, the time I spent feeling cheated by the promises that I thought had been made. My car, you see, is still well within the limits of its 3-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. So I figure, even if I wind up burning a few hours at the dealership, at least the repair will be covered. I won’t be spending anything out-of-pocket.

'Abandon all who enter here!'

‘Abandon all hope…ye who enter here!’

Alas, there’s a bit of fine print in what my dear wife has since dubbed the ‘bummer-to-bummer’ warranty: As the dealership’s Service Writer explained, the coverage on batteries is 2 years/24,000 miles.

‘No problem,’ sez I. ‘We’ve only got 22,000 miles on the car.’

‘Ah…but you bought it 29 months ago,’ he parried. And in a flash, I realized I’d been cornered. There was no getting around it: I was about to pay hard-earned cash for an overpriced battery that I believed in my heart-of-hearts was STILL under warranty. Not only that, but the money would be going to the very dealer and manufacturer who had (at least on some level) broken their promise to me.

As I waited for the job to be completed, I spent some time mulling over options for escalating the conflict: Should I demand to see a manager? Flame the dealer and/or manufacturer on Twitter? Retrieve the car and purchase the battery elsewhere? Before long, though, I realized there might be a reason why ‘indignation’ and ‘righteousness’ are not numbered among the cardinal virtues.

And in time, something very much like a spiritual lesson began to dawn on me as well. When we put our faith in things like rubber, plastic, metal – and manufacturer’s warranties – we inevitably wind up disappointed.

And then we have a choice: We can nurse the grudge…escalate the conflict…see to it that justice is served.

Or we can ask to be released from the grip of the disappointment. We can move on with our lives…reclaim what remains of our Tuesday…and contemplate precisely where it is that our treasure lies.



Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy One.


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2 thoughts on “Today’s find: Buyer beware

  1. Lisa Simmons

    Totally!! Well said, John!!

    • Thanks, Lisa…and isn’t it amazing to consider the ‘mental messes’ we sometimes get ourselves into?

      (And by the way, since we’ve both blogged about car repairs recently, do you think maybe the auto industry is out to get our family? Or could it be that Grandpa George — that great mechanic now enjoying his heavenly reward — is just trying to teach some of his grandkids a lesson about patience and providence?)

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