Corporate Greed and Lies
Fascism to Freedom
When I was at UT I took a marketing class from a very popular professor who used Discount Tire as a model for how to do good business. For years I respected them and went to them to buy new tires as needed. I have sent many of my friends there and told them what I learned at UT about how they do business. I told people how they always greet you the moment you walk in the door and make you feel important. No matter how many people are ahead of you, you don’t mind waiting because you can tell they value each person’s time and presence. I told people how quick and efficient their service is. I told people how they give sound recommendations that meet your needs adequately and appropriately. I told people how they will change a flat tire for free in order to generate good will and customer loyalty. I have bought many a tire at Discount Tire. But not any more.
Friday morning a light on my dash board told me that the air in one of my tires was low. I pulled over and sure enough there was a dry wall nail in the center of my tire causing a slow leak. Within ten miles of noticing there was a problem a very nice gentleman noticed I was having a problem and offered to help me change the flat. The tire wasn’t even completely out of air yet. I then drove to Discount Tire on my funky little spare to let them fix my flat. Much to my surprise they said it couldn't be repaired and proceeded to bombard me with a high pressure sales pitch and tell me how bad all of my tires were! The recommended that I buy an entire set of new tires! They even offered to finance and let me make payments.
First of all, I did not believe that the flat tire could not be repaired and I am not going to buy a bag of beans from a liar. Second of all, my tires don't even have 28K miles on them yet. And they are Michelins. The remaining tires on my car should be good for quite a while longer, even if Discount Tire was right about the flat not being repairable. To me it made a lot more sense to buy a used tire with the same amount of tread on them as the other three. But I finally got fed up with the high pressure sales tactics and had to have a stomping yelling hissy fit to make the guy back off. He kept coming after me over and over until I yelled at him. “What is it about NO that you can’t understand? I am NOT going to buy a set of new tires from you! I don't even believe the flat I brought in can't be fixed! Now give me my tire back so I can leave!” I said it in front of the other customers. He finally realized he wasn't going to get anywhere with me, stopped hounding me, and gave me my flat tire back. The intense high pressure sales tactic reminded me of the way some men bulldoze women for sex. It was disgusting.
I put my flat tire and rim back in the trunk and drove to a used tire store. I told them I had a flat and Discount Tire told me it couldn't be fixed and I'd like to have a second opinion. The used tire technician took a look at the tire and told me he could definitely fix it. I asked him if he thought it might be dangerous, and whether I could possibly have a blow out. He didn't think there was any reason for me to be concerned about that. He ran his fingers inside the tire and we both had a good look at it. He said he didn’t think I needed to worry about a blow out, so I decided to take my chances and got the flat fixed for $15. I tipped him $5. I drove very slowly at first and had no problems. After driving for a few miles, I finally had the courage to go 65 MPH. Still no blow out. If I ever do have a blow out on this tire, you all will be the first to know, and I will owe an apology to Discount Tire. But as it stands, I am inclined to think corporate greed has infiltrated and they are scamming to sell people new tires when they don’t really need them.
Even if my flat tire had rally been ruined and unfixable, Discount Tire should have let me make my own fully-informed legitimate choice instead of trying to cram their opinion of what I should do down my throat. They could have said there are two ways to handle a situation like that. I could either go buy a used tired with about the same amount of tread on it as the other three. Or I buy one tire, but it would have a lot more tread that the other three, causing a balance/rotation problem. Or I could invest in a new set of tires and save myself the time and trouble of having to come in and replace the other three when they are finally worn out. But to claim that a tire cannot be fixed, that I also need three more, and put high pressure on me to go into debt to pay for them, seems a little unethical to me.
Gone are the days when you could count on companies like Discount Tire to let you know all of your options and make your own decision whether saving money or time is the most important to you. Gone are the days when you can just get a tire fixed at a place that sells new tires. Gone are the days when the customers had a choice and the right to know the truth. These days people have to fight for fairness, fight for justice, and fight to make sure the people charging you money are not scamming you. Corporate America doesn't even remember how to deal with someone who isn't a willing member of the walking talking tell me what to do zombie tribe. If you think for yourself, they are shocked and offended. And the lower echelons will resent you because the boss will whip them for failing to respect the wishes of supply side economics.