June 19, 2014 - 7:05 AM
I hate it when cars nag. They bleep at you to turn off your lights or put your seat belt on or take your keys with you. Nowadays they even nag you when they need a service, as mine did this week. So of course I obediently drove to the dealer like a lamb to the slaughter.
There is no such thing as a simple oil change any more is there? The dealer will always, without fail, find additional ways to squeeze your hard-earned cash out of your already skinny pocket book.
“Your brake callipers are dirty,” said the service manager.
Of course they are, you idiot, they’re underneath the car where all the dirt is. Behind him was a board advertising “specials." Guess what one of them was? “Brake Calliper Cleaning." Well, slap my thighs! What a coincidence! Do I look like I was born yesterday? He tried again.
“Your tires need rotating,” he said. Nonsense, they rotate every time I drive it. “It’s a safety issue” he said. There it was, his final weapon: Fear.
Fear is the greatest sales tool ever. Insurance salesmen have known this for years: if you don’t buy their expensive life insurance you will be under a bus by Wednesday and your children will be left with nothing but your massive debts and some old neck ties.
Dentists use the same approach to keep themselves in BMWs and yachts. If you fail to spend a month’s wages having your teeth tortured every few weeks, they will all turn brown and fall out and you will look like Mike Ricci or an Englishman. Balderdash. I haven’t been to a dentist for fifteen years and I still have plenty of teeth left. Some white ones too. Well, off-white anyway.
Television is rife with fear-mongering advertisements such as those for house alarms which show a terrified home-owner scaring off shady intruders by talking to them through some sort of intercom thing. It’s all rather cartoonish; they stopped just short of giving the would-be burglars striped shirts, racoon masks and bags marked “swag.” But the implication is clear: Buy this system or ne’er-do-wells will sneak into your house and make off with your flatscreen.
By far the most bizarre are those irritating high-speed American pharmaceutical advertisements which spend the first twenty seconds telling you that if you don’t drink their particular poison you will suffer from life-threatening and irreversible acne / halitosis / anxiety / piles, and the next forty explaining that side effects can include nausea, incontinence, throat singing and death. So now you’re equally afraid to take the drug and not to take it. Brilliant.
But of course the Americans are completely paranoid. Up here in the rational part of the continent we are impervious to such blatant scare tactics. This thought filled me with a warm glow of nationalistic pride as I drove home with my new oil, freshly rotated tires and nice shiny brake callipers.
— The Grumpy Old Git says read his column every Thursday or BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU! (Is that how this works?)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014