It never fails to amaze me how often people give unsolicited advice about things. It’s one thing if a person is asking for advice, but it’s another thing to have unsolicited advice freely given without a care for the person’s feelings or anything. Case in point was this week.
My car needed repair. Whenever we turned off the engine, there was a distinct odor of gasoline around the car. We lived with it for a few months, then I took it in to get it repaired. Of course, we knew there had been a fuel leak, but we didn’t know the extent of it. The fuel pump itself, plus the sending unit needed to be replaced. On most cars, I’m sure it’s no major task to drop the fuel tank and replace the pump. The problem is, neither I, nor my husband, are mechanically inclined. I used to be able to change the spark plugs on my very old Datsun B210, but that was many years BK (before kids). I have no need to repair the cars myself. They’re more sophisticated these days and I’d much rather pay someone else to get dirty.
Okay, so the car was going to cost $xx. I knew it wasn’t going to be inexpensive. Part of the problem was that we had to have the mechanics drain the tank–there was about a quarter tank of gas in it, but you’re talking about working with a combustible, flammable liquid. They are NOT stupid and aren’t going to work on it in that state, so they drained it. Then they had to drop the tank, remove the fuel filter and then replace it with a new fuel filter. The car had to be UP on the lift to do so. They couldn’t fix it on the ground. So yes, this to me, was a justifiable expense.
Next up, I asked them to check the coolant because my husband told me he’d been going through water at an alarming rate. The car had spent the night Wednesday at the shop because of the fuel pump replacement. I called the shop and told them about the water issue, so they added looking at the cooling system to the list. This brought my tab up a bit more. (Hooray!) The total wasn’t too outrageous. I knew we were looking at major repairs. The car IS 8 years old. What I wasn’t expecting was the way I was talked to by a few men I deal with on a daily basis.
When I first mentioned that the fuel pump was going to have to be replaced, I was immediately asked “How much is that going to cost?” I’m not shy, so I named the figure. One of the guys immediately told me, “You are paying too much! Call them and stop it. I can get it for you cheaper!!” This didn’t make me very happy as 1. I’ve already contracted to these guys to repair the car at the price and 2. I don’t know how he was going to have it done “cheaper”. I politely told him, “I appreciate the offer, but no. I’m leaving it with the mechanic.” This made me the subject of ridicule between Man 1 and Man 2. The next day, Man 2 came in and gave me three “bucks” to use against the cost of the repair. He told me to try to get them to let me use them all at the same time.
I appreciated the offer and said, “thanks”. I hadn’t gotten the quote on the cooling system, but I wasn’t going to panic over it. We didn’t realize that the cooling system was going to require another overnight stay. They called me back later in the afternoon, told me that the water pump needed replaced, which added significant price to the repair. Although I wasn’t happy, I went ahead and approved it. They needed to keep the car overnight again, so I had to find an alternative way home, which I did.
Fast forward to Friday morning. I griped to Man 2 that I didn’t like not having my car and that I hate being a passenger. He asked me why I didn’t get it on Thursday and I said, well, they had to replace the water pump too. He went ballistic and asked WHY?? Then he said, “And how much is that going to cost?” I told him and he freaked out, told me that I was spending too much, blah, blah, blah. The next thing, I heard him dialing a number as he called Man 1. He and Man 1 got together and talked in his office about how I was paying too much money for the repairs. I heard guffawing and laughter. I was furious! You do NOT make fun of someone just because they’re doing something YOU disagree with!! It aggravated me to the point where I sat in my cube and stewed over it. Then, when Man 1 came over to say something to me, I snarled and snapped at him. I told him I wasn’t going to talk about my car with him. He immediately backtracked and said that he had a technician he needed help with.
I gave him his help, then went back to my stewing. I was not pleased at all.
At the end of the day, another guy I work with gave me a ride to the shop to pick up my car. He was a real bright point in an otherwise sucky week because he didn’t pass judgment on my repairing the car. He said, “If you’ve budgeted for it and you can afford it, whose business is it, other than yours and your husband’s?” He is oh so smart, that one. That’s why I call him a dear friend. He’s good for bouncing ideas off of (even if he is annoying at times for being goofy).
I must have “sucker” stamped on my forehead or something if Man 1 and Man 2 think I need to have “protection” from people. I know I don’t always stand up for myself, but in this case, the unsolicited “you’re spending too much” was a bit much for me. It nearly put me over the top. There are some things that shouldn’t be given, and the biggest thing is unsolicited advice.
Oh, and the car? It doesn’t smell, has a full tank of gas in it for the first time in MONTHS and is staying cool, not blowing through a gallon of water and antifreeze. The menfolk in my family took it camping.