One more thing, Dad. Thanks for bailing me out all those times I locked my keys in my car in high school. Especially that time I was clear out at piano lessons.
I've been really good the past few years about not locking my keys in my car. Until today. And I happened to be about 20 minutes from home. Steve drives a scooter to school and doesn't take it on the freeway (although he could if he was in a pinch). Our house was locked, so I couldn't call anyone to bring me a key. I'd feel bad doing that anyway because I was so far from home. Steve and I decided that I should probably call a locksmith.
For the first time in my unlucky-with-car-keys life, I had to pay someone to open my car. I hate paying for stupid things. (like interest, shipping, whatever fees people like tacking on to things) I especially hate paying a lot of money for stupid things because I feel like I'm getting ripped off. Locksmithing has now been added to my "stupid things" list.
It seemed, from searching a phone book inside a store I was stuck at, that one locksmithing place pretty much dominated the entire area. I would have been calling forever trying to find another place that serviced the area I was in, would get here quickly, and wouldn't require my first born child as payment.
The lady on the phone told me it would be $39 just for the guy to come out to my car and depending on what kind of locks I had and what tools he had to use, it was another fee, starting around $15, to open the car. I figured my car wouldn't be much more than $15. It's a 10-year-old Accord with no alarm system and no keyless entry. It's not like he'd be cracking open the Batmobile.
The guy arrived about 15 minutes later and inspected the car for a minute. After writing up a quote on his pad of paper, he pushed it over to me for my signature. This is what he wrote:
Service fee 39
My first thought was, "Oh, the 1 and the 3 are lined up, but he must have forgotten the decimal. Uh, and the other zero, because there's no way that could be $110."
Here's how our conversation went:
Me: "Is that $110?"
Locksmith Guy: "Ya."
Me: "So is that the total?"
LG: "No. They're added together."
Me: "It's $110 just to open my car?"
LG: "Yes. With the service fee it's about $150"
Me: "Are you serious?"
LG: "It's our company policy."
Me: "The lady on the phone said that the lockout fees start at $15. I don't even have a nice car."
LG: "They range from $15 to $150."
Me: "Do you have some kind of military discount or pregnant lady discount or something? Because that is RIDICULOUS."
LG: "Well, I could knock off the service fee, so it would be $110."
Since I had almost no other option at that point, I signed the paper. Wow, what a deal. How does that guy sleep at night?
What I really want to know is what kind of car do they charge $15 to open? A scooter? A rusted out car with the window knocked out? Accords are one of the most stolen cars in America. If any bozo off the street can rip off my car, then why is it so hard for Mr. Locksmith Guy to get it open with his fancy tools?
I'd have gladly given you the $110 instead, Dad.