Friday, October 17, 2008

I Should Have Been a Locksmith

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
Lockout 110

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.


Brynn said...

THAT IS SO COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!!! SEriously, that is robbery.

Chelsea said...

Yes, that sucks. Guess who's had to pay for it twice?

Although, it was NEVER that much. In fact, I think it was $60 each time and I thought that was robbery. Now that I think about it, one of them wasn't even $60.

Stupid-California-expensive living.

Stephanie said...

Wow! That's a lot of money. Have you considered getting AAA? It's about $50 a person per year for the regular road side service. AAA+ will tow your car 100 miles and will open your car if need be at no additional charge. It's about $75.00 a person per year.

Kathryn said...

Aaaargh! I feel your pain. I can't stand paying for stuff like this. It feels like such a waste.

I'm sorry you had to call a locksmith!

The Rogers said...

Nat next time call a tow truck company most of the time its $15 to have them slim-jim your door. Also check your car insurance most have a free road side service thing that covers having your doors opend.

carol said...

That supersucks. i hate it when people take advantage of the situation to make a buck. GRRR.

Cassia said...

I second the "check with your car insurance" idea. We have USAA and now pay just a tiny bit extra for "road side assistance." We can only do that, though, because we now have comp and collision coverage on the van--we didn't with the car. I also really wished we had that when I locked myself out a few months ago--also about 20 minutes away, no other vehicle (so Bryan couldn't have come if he'd wanted to). I despised paying the $60 for just a few minutes of work (moving the door slightly open and pulling the lock up). I think a lot of us can feel your pain. :)

I'm also curious about what kind of car would only be $15, though. :)

Here's another stupid thing to add to your list: paying about $300 for rodent control after being told the urine smell that had suddenly appeared was rats in our attic, only to have NOTHING caught (the workers then intimated that we'd somehow poisoned whatever had been there) and later have another specialist say that, while it appeared there was once a rat or two up there, they hadn't been around for a while (dust on their tracks, etc). Grrr... :)

Natalie said...

I agree. I didn't even think about my insurance. I don't think we have roadside assistance as part of our policy, but now I really want to know in case I flake out again.

Tyler said...

Flaking can't be blamed. You're a mom. Mom's have the universe to hold together. It happens. The other day Suzanne was praying in family prayer - the elements were blowing around outside something awful - snow and all. She said, "We are so grateful for a nice warm house to protect us from the elephants." Reverence left the building. Eh, mothers are wonderful.