Rage and Spite Can Save You Money

That time of the year has come once again when I have to renew my car registration so I made an appointment with my local shop and got a safety inspection (which was discounted $10 due to my awesome coupon book that came with my Bulk Oil Changes) and renewed my registration at the same time. They even had the registration sticker there on the spot!

But they also told me that I needed a new engine air filter and cabin air filter. They had been telling me I needed the cabin air filter for over a year now but since it really doesn’t effect the performance of the vehicle, I never worried about it, but the engine air filter does decrease the performance. The total cost for the parts and labor would be about $45 + tax ($25 for the cabin and $20 for the engine) .

I had previously researched the price of the cabin air filter and found that at an auto part store nearby, it was only $15 and online I found a few for $10 (with free shipping) so I decided I would call the auto part store and see if they had the engine air filter there at a better price than the repair shop, and if so, I would buy them both locally. Again, I felt pressed to get them as soon as possible now because of the dirty engine air filter reducing my gas mileage. They told me they didn’t have one of the filters so I planned to check into another auto part store (same chain) that was closer to my house but was a newer store and the phone number was not listed online.

When I got there, I had trouble finding one of the filters (cabin air) so I went to ask the guy at the counter. He very rudely took my cars information and looked up the part. Then he told me they were out of that filter but the other store across town had one. I asked him if he could order one and he again told me the other store had one and I could go pick it up there. I informed him of my earlier call to that store and that they had none in stock. He then argued with me saying the computer said that had one so they had one and he asked if I had called this store by mistake.

That was enough for me. It was apparent the guy was unwilling to order the part for me and didn’t want my business if it was inconvenient for him. So in a bit of a rage,  I spitefully turned around, put down all the other things I was going to purchase and walked out.

This story reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry tries to return an item out of spite and is shot down:

Jerry: “Excuse me I’d like to return this jacket.”

Teller: “Certainly. May I ask why?”

Jerry: “……..For spite…”

Teller: “Spite?”

Jerry: “That’s right. I don’t care for the salesman that sold it to me.”

Teller: “I don’t think you can return an item for spite.”

Jerry: “What do you mean?”

Jerry Seinfeld may not be able to get away with it but since I hadn’t actually purchased the stuff, I was able to save money based on spite.

I say saved because since I would have had to wait for either of the stores to order in the part I needed, I decided just to order them online and save an additional $10 (on top of the $15 I would have saved if I had purchased them at the local shop versus the auto repair place) totaling a $25 savings.

Not a bad savings for a purchase so when treated badly, don’t take the abuse. You may just find the poor service was just the thing you needed to clear your head, make a better purchasing decision and save some money in the process.

If you liked this, please subscribe to my triweekly updates via RSS or Email. Thank you!

6 People have left comments on this post

» Debt NinjaNo Gravatar said: { Jul 7, 2009 - 06:07:39 }

Two words to describe salesguy… douche bag. Good job on trying to support the local business, but I guess sometimes it just isn’t meant to be.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Jul 8, 2009 - 08:07:24 }

Yea I dont really know what his problem was but I have lost all respect for that auto part chain. There are far too many options out there, cheaper, faster and more helpful for me to waste time with service like that.

» DavidNo Gravatar said: { Jul 9, 2009 - 01:07:01 }

Good for you for walking out. Too often, we forget that we can vote with our dollars when it comes to the businesses we support.

Also, it’s puzzling that so many businesses still have terrible customer service in a down economy. Improving CS is one of the few things that businesses can do for free that will help their profitability.

» DavidNo Gravatar said: { Jul 9, 2009 - 01:07:29 }

A great example of using spite to save money –

I was recently shopping for a car with the wife. We had done our research, and found the car we wanted at a reasonable price.

However, the salesman was pushy, obnoxious, and refused to give us the information we asked for. Instead of continuing to try to negotiate (we had already invested about 2 hours in this place), we walked, and went somewhere else.

At the next place we went, we were able to get the exact same car for more than $2000 cheaper than the best offer we could get at the previous place.

If that’s not a good example of how much spite can save, I don’t know what is.

» Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar said: { Jul 9, 2009 - 02:07:30 }

Thanks David, I appreciate the support. I have previously been too chicken and/or loyal to walk out when someone has taken any time to help me but I guess I have become more bold since I began actually tracking my money and I see that I could save in so many places if I apply myself.

I recently read an article about seeing through the snake oil salesmen tactics used by retailers and the most common way to combat the tactics was the walk out. We just have to remember there is almost always a better price/service/product so dont settle for what is right in front of you.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.