Dear Sketchy Greaseball

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Dear Sketchy Greaseball who approaches me in the parking lot/pulls up next to me when I’m driving, honking and waving wildly to get my attention:

I get it. I have a dent in my bumper. And you want to fix it. Cheap.

No.

Not going to happen. Not even after you berate me and tell me I’m stupid if I go anywhere else.

Good tactic, though. Smart thinking. You had me on the fence with that one. After all, I wouldn’t want to lose the admiration of someone who wanders the streets and parking lots of Los Angeles, looking for cars that need bodywork and then offering their owners to fix them for a substantially discounted price from which you would pay at any reputable auto body repair shop.

You know, the kind that offer you some sort of recourse, should their work not be up to satisfaction. Also, the kind that would do said in work in a garage, not a parking lot.

Today’s encounter was interesting. After having 2 guys in a Nissan Titan pull over to let me pass, then come up alongside me in the rapidly disappearing yield lane, I tried to wave them off, but luckily for me, we ended up at a light together.

“No, you don’t understand, I want to fix your bumper!” says Sketchy Greaseball #1.

Actually, I totally understand. After emphatically telling this man that I was not interested, I made the mistake of appealing to his sense of reason.

“I don’t have any cash on me, dude.” There, that should do it, right?

“Well, you tell me what you have, we’ll see what we can do,” he countered.

“I literally have one dollar in my pocket,” I replied, truthfully. There, that should really get the message across to this guy that I’m not interested. He will understand, apologize for bothering me and be on his way back to Glendale.

“I tell you what I can do for you, for one dollar: nothing. That’s an insult!”

Then he drove off. For a second, I got the feeling he was mulling over throwing his lit cigarette at me.

This is the part I don’t get. He was genuinely pissed that not only had I insulted him, I had wasted his time.

Actually, that’s not true, I do get it. To be one of these guys, you actually have to be of the mindset that anybody who doesn’t accept your offer and use your “service” is an asshole.

Without fully adopting this way of thinking, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning; so consumed you would be, with how worthless you are.

In case you think I’m being too hard on these fellas, let me let you in on a little secret: this is not a legitimate business. These aren’t real autobody guys on their lunch break, looking to help you out, while making a quick buck their employer won’t be taking a cut for. I know that’s what they told you, but it’s not true.

These are scam artists. They are going to put a hole in your bumper, insert a hook into the hole and then yank on it, til the dent pops out.

And it will look as good as it sounds.

So, if you too have a dent in your bumper and have gotten an estimate that seems steep and one of these guys approaches you on the street or in the parking lot at Ralph’s, endure their taunting and threats, but stay firm in your refusal, because you really do get what you pay for.

And yes, that’s a picture of my actual car and the actual damage to my front bumper, that has been there for six years now, taken from my car’s recent appearance on Google Street View.

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8 comments

  1. 1. Ask for their name (they will probably tell an untruth)
    2. Ask for their License or Permit # (they’ll probably say they don’t have it on them)
    3. Then, to seal the deal, get their license plate number and report them.

    They’ll take off faster than I can say BUSTED!!!!

    OK; I’m a licensing gestapo. What can I tell you.

    Happy Motoring! xo

  2. When I lived there (not that long ago) , those guys used to offer to fix my 1976 Chrysler Cordoba, which had dents on all FOUR sides.
    I’d say, “Seriously? DO I LOOK LIKE I CARE?” Cuh-reepy guys for sure. (wish I had a Google street view of that old car).

  3. Well said, Phony. I had a run-in with one of those dudes in an actual Ralph’s parking lot. Another one left a sketchy note on my car. Yeah, I drive a shitty car ’cause i got money to fix it. Dream on, greasers!

  4. Long back I too had a car with dent in my bumper. Same Ralph’s parking lot experience, later I had to spent a lot to fix it well . Now I own a new car,its quit good without any marks in it.

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