I got up enjoyably late today, and so decided to make some calls to salvage what was left of the morning. I cracked open the Entertainment Book and called about two specials I had seen.
First, a free month of storage. Tim and I are a little paranoid that, if we box everything up and leave it here, roaches will find their way in, and we’ll just transport the lil buggers to our new place. So Tim suggested we just box up items and take them directly to the car. Once the car was full, take it over to the house.
Except the house is 14 miles away and our car gets an atrocious 19 miles to the gallon. We could actually fit a respectable number of boxes in it — especially the trunk, which I swear was made for active members of La Cosa Nostra — but that still seems like an expensive proposition.
So when I saw a free month of storage, with no apparent restrictions, I thought it might be the answer to our dilemma. I called and found out that there is a $20 admin fee to set up a new storage locker plus $16 for a newly rekeyed lock. So free is now $36.
A tad disappointing, if not exactly unexpected. Companies wouldn’t make much money if they had tons of coupons for actual free, no-strings-attached items. Still, it gets aggravating to never know exactly what a quoted price means.
Which brings me to the next issue: A/C service. Our car’s system is running pretty warm with occasional gusts of cool when we actually have some speed going. We’re making do, mainly by using the windows and just sucking it up. But with Tim’s mom having a heart condition, we’ll need to have working A/C before she gets here.
So I called a place advertising a $19.95 A/C service. At least this place had the decency to state “Freon extra” on the back of the coupon. So you know ahead of time that you’ll be paying more than $19.95.
I looked online and found that a ballpark estimate for freon is $50/lb. Ouch. When I called the place, I asked what, exactly, an A/C service involved. From what I understood, it basically came down to hooking your car up to their machine to find out exactly how much pricey gas you’ll be paying for. Which seems like it should be included in the ridiculously high freon charge. Then again, I’m a stingy gal.
I was happy to hear, though, that they “only” charge $39.95 a pound for their freon. Which is a start, I suppose. Unfortunately, looking online again, I found that the average car holds about three pounds of freon. While ours isn’t completely empty, I prefer to assume the worst. Which would be $153 for the inspection, freon and sales tax.
Again, I’m not dumb. I knew that the quoted prices were too good to be true. Still, it’s disheartening to never be able to trust an advertised price. And it can be tiring to constantly have to probe to find out what kind of fees they have in store for you, rather than their just being upfront about it.
I understand why they do it. It’s advertising. You have to make things sound as good as possible to draw customers to you. No one is going to check out a place that advertises A/C services from $19.95-153. It just doesn’t sound as good.
But how much money do some of these places lose when customers like me start to get jaded? There are times I don’t even bother checking out an advertised rate because I know that it’s deceptively cheap. As in, they’re just not mentioning the host of fees that will be tacked on once you’ve agreed to their “low, low price.”
Anyone else burned out on price skepticism?