Can’t anybody do the job right?
I got a flat tire yesterday, which in itself sucks, but at the same time was really kind of strange, as Catherine got a flat exactly a week ago. I mean, I get flats pretty often on my bike, but not my car. It also sucks that these are Pirelli P-Zero tires, and having them patched means losing their speed rating of 150mph or whatever it is. Since I drive that fast all the time.
But whatever. I made plans to go in to work a bit late, and googled around for a good place in Oakland to have the patch done. Yelp tells me that Frank’s Tires, conveniently located just of Broadway in downtown Oakland, has an overall 5-star rating. Quick, cheap work done by a nice guy. Okay, sold.
So, encouraged by more than one review raving about Frank’s “sure, no problem, roll it on in here!” attitude, I take my car in without calling ahead. My spare is on the car and the flat is in the trunk. Frank hesitates when I ask if he can patch the tire today, but says “sure, okay” when I say that I’m happy to leave it and come back at lunchtime. I show him where the screw had penetrated the tire, and he tells me that the cardinal rule is never to take out the offending object, just bring it in to the tire shop! Yeah… but what if the screw had been .5 inch long, and not causing a flat, just stuck in my tread? Then I have no problem and don’t waste my time (or money?) taking it in.
But whatever. Here’s my tire, here’s where the patch will need to go. I ask him politely to not scratch my matte-black aftermarket rims. He says he’ll try…
I give him plenty of time, come back at around 1:30. “Did you hear the message I left for you?” Um, no, I didn’t get any message. “I can’t fix your tire. My equipment isn’t big enough/won’t work/some lame excuse like this.” Oh. And what is this? This gouge, no, two gouges, taken from the lip of the tire? “I didn’t do that. It was like that.” It absolutely, positively was not like that, but beyond stating emphatically that it was not, I don’t bother to argue. That one Yelp review is ringing in my ears. I am glad that it is only the tire, and my rim appears to be unscathed. Frank suggests taking it to Wheelworks on Harrison.
Why the hell didn’t I just come here to begin with? I had these guys put 4 new Bridgestones on my first Audi TT. They did good work then. When I stop by, I am helped by a nice guy named Francisco. It’ll take 2-3 hours if I want to wait. Can I drop it off and come back around 6:00 to have it mounted? Sure, no problem. I again politely request that they take care not to scratch my rims. Francisco tells me not to worry, they actually have a plastic dismounting blade that they use rather than the standard steel one on rims like this. It won’t scratch them at all…
6:00, I’m back. The wheel is ready. Can you mount it for me? “Sorry, we are swamped, it’ll be at least 2 hours before we can get you on a lift.” Fine, I’ll mount it myself at home, but if I stop by tomorrow can you guys torque it down for me? “No problem.”
It’s only when I get home and take it out of my truck to mount it that I notice the long scrape along the edge of the rim where the blade is slipped between rim and tire… WTF?!
I could tell you the rest of the story, of how I went back the next morning to have the bolts torqued down by Francisco, and pointing out to him the damage to my rim, and not getting angry or asking him for anything more than advice on where I might get them buffed and painted, and him telling me that he knows places I can go, or how to do it myself if so inclined, as the damage is minimal, and how he knows where I can get the necessary paint to match, and how he has my email so he will get me all the information…
But what’s the point? You can imagine that I never heard from Francisco again, and that in my opinion he now sucks too.