lug nuts

As soon as I saw the hickey, I should have known how the rest of the transaction would go. I needed to replace a tire on my car. I bought the tire on tire rack and had it shipped to an NTB five miles from my house. Even with $18 shipping, the tire was still $50 less than what NTB wanted for it. All they had to do was put the thing on.

The guy who initially waited on me had a hickey on his neck. It has been so long since I’ve seen one of those things, I’d literally forgotten that they existed (much like the time I was reading plays at the Alley that were submitted by teens for a summer program, and one of the plays mentioned “fingering,” which is a concept that you sort of forget about once you start having the sex) (not that fingers are never used again, just that they are part of a larger piece of work rather than the destination, so to speak).

So the hickey guy asked me – in front of other customers – “Why did you buy your tire from Tire Rack instead of directly from us?” I told him about the whole price thing. In other words, I gave Tire Rack a free commercial in front of tire customers because hickey guy asked a dumb question he should have known the answer to. You know, since he works at a tire place. Maybe a better response would have been, “Because I have access to a computer, the internet and a debit card.”

It takes a good hour and a half for them to finally get to my car, though they pulled it into a bay right away. I like to keep an eye on things, so I made phone calls and stood in the parking lot (and 100 degree heat) to watch my car. For an hour and a half. Lucky I did because a) I got to see the lovely bird at the top of this post in the field next to the parking lot and b) they jacked up the wrong side of my car as if to replace the wrong tire. I had to go up to the guy to let him know it was the other fucking side. Sigh.

So I stood out there, talking to Tohner and then James and then my dad. Then I noticed one of the guys screwing a lug nut onto my car (without the tire having been put back on) and then taking the lug nut over to another guy. Obviously there’s a problem. I get off the phone, and they tell me that one of my lug nuts got stuck in the…lug nut remover (I don’t know what it’s called). When the guy beat on the machine with a hammer, the lug nut went flying.

Yeah? So what? So what that means is, they lost the lug nut. Oh, but they have another one. Sure, it’s longer than the rest of my lug nuts, but it’s pretty much the same otherwise. I suggest to the guy who lost my nut that we take a gander at the floor of the garage to see if we can find it. My car is only two years old, so I’m still sort of into it having matching parts. The duct tape and praying comes later. This search turns into me crawling on hands and knees around a dirty garage with my ass crack showing, and then standing up and hitting my head on a car that is jacked up to head-hitting level while sweat is pouring down my back and pooling in my bra. For fuck’s sake. Still no lug nut.

Two hours have passed at this point, and I just want to get out of there. So they go to put the mismatched lug nut on my car with promises to buy me a new one after I (gently) demanded they repalce the one they lost. The guy who lost the lug nut said, “Okay, I’ll pay for it. But I didn’t have to be honest with you.” I suggested to him that honesty should be a given in a business transaction and should not be something that you get a cookie for. Then I remembered where I was in time/history/location, we had a good laugh and moved on. At this point the lug nut replacer realizes that, hey, there’s already a mis-matched lug nut on this same fucking tire! So they’re getting all smug like ha ha, you already have one lug nut that doesn’t match, you can’t get mad at us. Uh, yeah I can. Because since I bought this car, I’ve only taken it to NTB to have the tires rotated and replaced. So that means one of those fuckers replaced one of my lug nuts at some point in the past two years but didn’t tell me.

They’re buying me two new lug nuts, but until they can be replaced I’ll have to drive with mismatched nuts.

I think if you added up every single time I’ve uttered/written the words “lug nut” prior to today, it would not equal the number of times I’ve used them in this post.

Lug nut.

9 thoughts on “lug nuts

  1. There would have been even more uses of the phrase “lug nut” if you had accurately described the NTB employees you encountered as what they were: Lug Nuts. Try Discount Tire next time. I’ve been there countless times over the past 15 years I’ve been here in Houston – good, timely service and reasonable prices on the tires they have on site. I am not on retainer for them, nor do I own stock.

  2. Mary

    I’m with Phil on Discount Tire. Print out this post (and, if you don’t mind, our comments) and bring it in to DT when you go. They are great. And — bonus — they will realize the power that your favor will procure.

  3. Obviously we should have had this conversation before I replaced all the tires on my car. Of course, there will be more tires. And when there are, I shall try Discount Tire. I didn’t know there was a difference – for the past decade plus I’ve been going to a Goodyear guy my dad uses in Bellaire – I was just being lazy and going some place nearby. Lesson learned.

    I mean, how can someone who removes and retightens lug nuts all day not know how to take off a fucking lug nut?

    1. “I mean, how can someone who removes and retightens lug nuts all day not know how to take off a fucking lug nut?”

      You have just come face to face with the bleak reality of our undereducated and undermotivated youth – the future of America.

      I’m going to go do a few shots and pass out now before I slit my wrists (not really, but you get my drift, no?)

      1. That’s really scary. Their classmates put my bread and eggs at the bottom of the bag at the grocery store each week, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

        Damn, I sound like a crotchety old bitch.

  4. Conn

    “Because I have access to a computer, the internet and a debit card.”

    You forgot the 4th (and most crucial) part of the equation: a properly functioning brain. As you know, we both have encountered plenty of people out there that have the first three items, without the fourth.

    As for the how do you screw up tightening/untightening lugnuts (yes, I’m starting a campaign to turn it into a compound word): It usually comes from mis-use of the pneumatic (power) wrench. You’re supposed to start the lugnut on the threads THEN place the power wrench on and tighten the nut. But most lazy-ass, low-wage tire/mechanic shop employees will pop the lugnut into the wrench then just blast it onto your tirebolt (viva compound words! death to unnecessary spaces!); and the wrench is powerful enough to force it onto the bolt, no matter if it’s properly threaded or not.

    I once had a brake job done at the Firestone in Deer Park, and the mindless drone that put my wheel back on, cross-threaded ALL of my lugnuts on TWO wheels! Of course, I got a flat about two months later and was literally jumping up & down on the tire tool, trying to get the lugnuts off, until the bolt snapped off. I made sure they replaced all of my bolts for free, of course.

    “This search turns into me crawling on hands and knees around a dirty garage with my ass crack showing……..while sweat is pouring down my back and pooling in my bra.”

    You’re just trying to see how hot & bothered you can get us, aren’t you? It’s really shameless Crystal.

    “I’ll have to drive with mismatched nuts.”

    Don’t EVEN try to act like you didn’t purposely throw this line out there, just waiting to see who would rise to the bait. I’m surprised no one in your reader base has been tempted so far.

    Ok, I’ll get it over with……Mismatched nuts? Join the club, sister, I’ve been driving around with those for most of my life. (It helps if you’re hearing Rodney Dangerfield or Jackie Mason in your head when you read it)

    1. Jesus Buddha, that’s a long comment Conn. I like a space between my lug and my nuts, so I can’t join you in your space-free crusade. But good luck with that.

      I can promise you that me crawling around, sweaty, on the floor of a dirty garage was far from erotic. Plumber’s butt isn’t attractive on anyone, and sweat stains on one’s shirt (especially when “one” is a girl) ain’t too pretty. But thanks for the ego boost just the same.

      Hell yes “mismatched nuts” was put in there on purpose. Perhaps everyone has grown accustomed to my little jokes at this point.

  5. Conn

    Oh, as if my original comment wasn’t enough…..

    I wholeheartedly agree with the suggestions that you try Discount Tire next time. I’ve been going to them for my tire needs for over 25 years now. Make sure you get the extended road warranty, with it, they will both repair/replace and rotate your tires for free, for their useable lifetime.

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