My dad is semi-retired. He stopped selling a few years back after spending about 35 years on the road. Nowadays, he has a part-time job at a local rental car agency. He gets paid for things he likes to do: wash cars, drive with people and talk to them, and it keeps him out of my stepmother’s hair at home.
Considering my dad is a pretty conservative guy, he’s always had it in for “The Man”. Those petty people with power just stick in his otherwise non-communist-leaning craw. I came out to visit the other week and he had to tell me all about his latest run in with The Man. This time – though – The Man was a woman. He got a call from his boss. They had a client who was difficult to please. He needed to do an extra-good job on the car. My dad cleaned everything and had his boss check it out. Perfect. My dad drove it out to the house… or so he thought. He thought the place looked kind of odd and there was no one answering the door. It turned out he was at the pool house. The main house was aways down the road. So he dropped off the car and headed back to the office.
“Not an hour later, she was calling my boss, saying the car was filthy!” He shook his head. “Filthy! Can you believe that?” He said his boss ended up stuck on the phone for half an hour and finally had to give her a free weekend rental to make up for her “trouble”. He was incensed that anyone would think a car that he cleaned would be filthy. She was lucky there was no available firing squad. I told him not to take it personally.
“Think about it, Dad.” I asked, “What’s she worth an hour?” I know lawyers who bill $400 an hour. So I estimated her to be in that range. It took about 15 minutes to drive back, a half an hour to complain and then another hour before she got another car.
“She got a free rental worth – what, $100?” I explained. “She gave up $700 to get a $100 in free rentals.” My dad thought that over, but it didn’t seem to help. Then something else occurred to him.
“The car she got in return was less clean than that first one!” he said gleefully, thinking of how he had really stuck it to The Man this time. What else could I do? I raised my clenched fist high in salute.