It’s the lady with the dog in her purse’s fault

All the excuses you need to know so you can feel better about yourself while paying outrageous prices to fix your car.

Viable Excuse number six, it’s the fault of the rivers that caught on fire.

In our last Article we discussed the expense tradeoff between dealer ambiance, and paying for skilled mechanics who have to maintain $30 – $40,000 worth of tools. You may remember we blamed high labor costs on the lady with the dog in her purse. This time we deal with the cost of hazardous waste removal.

Of all the charges people think are made up just to pad the bill, hazardous waste removal has got to top the list. Now that I’m officially in the old man category I’m going to tell you something you won’t believe (insert story about walking to school and back, in the snow, uphill, both ways, here). No this story will be true, I promise. When I was a kid back in the 1960s rivers used to catch on fire. You read that right, the rivers would catch on fire. Not only would they catch on fire, it happened often enough to not make the news unless the flaming river managed to spread to nearby homes or businesses (river front home had a whole different connotation back then). This was before the EPA, before green peace, before the term “tree hugger”. We all like to think of our childhood as a better time. Well… not so much… this was the time of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” if you haven’t read it, find it and read it. We were killing ourselves and the environment, really, if you wanted to go fishing you had to go deep sea fishing because the fish in the rivers and ponds had boils and holes in and on them. Rivers had oil slicks on them and a whole concoction of chemicals in them. It was perfectly ok for a company to dump anything they wanted in the rivers. And they did.

So the next time you see a line item for hazardous waste removal, remember, there was a time in this nation when rivers so regularly caught on fire it didn’t even make the news. Blame that hazardous waste removal fee on the burning rivers of my childhood and be comforted to know… that portion of the bill is not your fault!

Nick Rowe has over 20 years experience in the automotive industry, he has worked at Volvo, Dodge and Jeep dealerships and is currently one of the mechanics at Horseless Carriage in Milford, NH.