A Two-Peso Weather Report

Jul 28th, 2003 by Tony in The Wizard of Ads

I am standing in the front yard of my close friend Loren Lewis when a blue Cadillac pulls into his driveway. Loren is known as a mechanical genius who has a weird, psychic bond with Cadillacs. Loren shouts to the driver, “Pop the hood and leave it running!” and then begins messing with things in the engine compartment before the man has even gotten out of his car.

While Loren is twisting bolts and pulling wires, the driver introduces himself and begins telling his sad story over Loren’s shoulder. “I’ve had it every place in town and you’re my last hope. This car has been in and out of the shop for the past two months, and I’ve spent more than five hundred dollars to fix the air conditioner, but it still won’t blow cold. No one can figure it out. One of the guys at the dealership suggested I bring it to you, but I don’t want to leave it here unless you’re certain you can fix it.”

Just then, Loren closes the hood and says, “I heard the problem as you were pulling into the drive. Now reach through the window, and stick your hand in front of the vent.”

The man’s eyes widen. He shouts, “It’s ice cold! It’s ice cold!”

“That’ll be fifty dollars,” says Loren.

“What?” exclaims the man. “I’ve only been here three minutes. You can’t charge me fifty dollars for three minutes!”

Loren nods. “You’ve got a point,” he says. He reaches inside the Cadillac, takes the keys out of the ignition, and stuffs them into his pocket. “Follow me,” he says. Inside the house, Loren hands the man the telephone and says, “Call your wife to come pick you up. Your car will be ready in a week.”

David Weisz, a friend of mine with a reputation for artful negotiation, tells his children, “Always negotiate the price of products. Never negotiate the price of services. The services you get for half price are not the same services you get for full price.”

–Roy H. Williams, The Wizard of Ads, #61

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