Bait and Switch

I thought that this marketing tactic had disappeared many moons ago, but yesterday I learned that it is alive and well. In fact, it lives about 5 miles down the road from me. Thing is, though, I can’t PROVE it. All I’ve got is the feeling (shudder) that I’ve been duped.
We’ve needed new tires for our car for a while now, and since it is due to be inspected before the end of October, we figured we’d get new ones this weekend. We’ve shopped around a little bit, had interesting and frustrating conversations with family members about it, and even made the appointment to get it done.
Our Toyota dealer is having a ‘buy 3 get 1 for a dollar’ tire sale, so I went there (their motto is “it’s all about the people”. they must mean the people on the money that you have to fork over to them for their parts and service) to get some prices on tires, installation, etc. While they weren’t fantastic by any stretch, at least I had a benchmark. Tracey had called some other places in the area as well, and though the tires were slightly different and some places didn’t include the actual MOUNTING of the tire in their cost (seriously, tire companies. WHY?? don’t tell me that your tire is 15 dollars cheaper then tag on a $14 fee. you’ve really only saved me ONE DOLLAR, not fifteen. I own a car. This means that i have PROBABLY already passed Algebra 1).
There is a new tire store in town and I figured that they would be having a sale, so I went there on Wednesday to do some price comparisons. I was pretty happy to find out that they had one of the tires from Toyota on sale for around $45 less. SAWWEEET! After checking with my wife I made an appointment for Saturday.
Yesterday T, B, and I went to our local TIRE FAIR to get the tires. At the counter, the sales man gathered our information, then went over the costs. BAHAHAHAHAH…..the cost he gave us was nearly ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS more than what he (the SAME GUY) told me three days earlier. WHAT THE WHAT?? I stopped him and explained to him that I was given a different price for the tires, and could he please explain to me why there was a difference? Dude got a bit defensive and whipped his monitor around so that I could see it. “Well, let’s take a look at the prices on our web site,” he said. I tried really hard to suppress my urge to smack him in the head with the keyboard get snippy with him, and allowed him to parade his ‘up to date’ tires sales information to me and my family. Sure enough, the tires that he had quoted me on Wednesday were $30 more, and some other tires were at the ‘sale price.’ He went on to say that he “even noted on your appointment that you would get the web price for the tires.” My hero.
HA. I see what they’re up to, do YOU? Yep. If you put “web sale price”, you can pretty much charge me whatever the heck you want to! Like I said earlier, I’ve passed Algebra 1. I’ve also passed “I CALL BS” class. With flying colors.
After making the sales guy hunt down the two tires for comparison, we ended up doing with the less expensive, lesser known brand. I hope we made the right choice. As a consolation, the salesman (shyster) gave me a deal on tire replacement. He said that he took off the $9.99 per tire for free replacement if it got damaged and couldn’t be repaired.
Thing is, the tires ALReADY come with a 50,000 mile warranty. If that is the case, dear tire store, then WHY WOULD YOU CHARGE US $9.99×4 FOR SOMETHING THAT IS ALREADY COVERED BY THE MANUFACTURER????

Buyers, beware.

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