Welcome to the Fearless Innovator Podcast, my name is Mechiel Kopaska and I am your host.
Today’s episode is entitled… I have you by the balls…
Ladies, you may want to listen to this story because you’re gonna learn how sometimes as women we get taken advantage of but more importantly I’ll give you some tips on what I did to make sure this won’t happen to you!
I was very fortunate to have grown up with a dad that taught me things that most girls didn’t get to learn. By that I mean, I was treated like I was a boy. It makes sense today, but it didn’t back when I was growing up. You already know that by the age of 9 I was riding a motorcycle, by 14 I was in a grain truck and hauling corn to the elevator. Somewhere sprinkled throughout those years, dad taught me how to jack up a car, change tires, change the oil in my car and I know all the parts under the hood. I never tore apart an engine or anything like that but I knew the mechanics of how things worked. Shoot, I even remember my car breaking down when I was in college and I called dad and we did phone support before that was even a mainstream word – he walked me through rigging the gear linkage until I could get home and he could fix it!
I remember dad saying to me one day, “Shell, I want you to be able to stand on your own two feet and not need the support of man in your life”. Well, I must have listened because he accomplished his goal!
So fast forward to the day, I decided to buy my first truck. I was buying a truck because I was tired of seeing little cars and dead people as I trekked over the Howard Franklin bridge every day for work. And then one day it happened to me! I was in my Nissan 240 SX and the guy in front of me rubber necked and I slammed into the back of his car. That was it! The next day, I went on the hunt for my first truck. In 1997 when women in trucks were not cool, I landed at the Dodge Ram dealership.
Richard and I looked at several trucks that day. I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, just something where when I’m driving I could see over all those little cars – it was my own sense of false security.
As Richard and I searched for my perfect vehicle, I told him cloth seats were good. He asked if I needed a towing package, I told him no. I have nothing to tow and don’t foresee me towing anything. He went back inside to check his inventory and then came out with 3 sets of keys. One by one we looked through each of the vehicles. I was partial to the black one and spent more time looking over this truck. Richard did point out that all trucks on the lot did come with the towing package and I said, that’s ok. No problem.
He said how about this, let me go get a license plate and we’ll go for test ride? I said, Ok and while he was gone, I continued pressing buttons and looking around the inside of truck. He returned and off we went. We probably drove like 3 miles, it was a nice ride..for a truck. I liked it and began asking more questions. Can I add a different stereo, add tinting and a bug deflector? He said of course he would just need a couple of days. I said, well I’m going to be gone for 2 weeks to Alaska so when I get back, I’d like to pick it up then. Is that ok? He said, Absolutely, we will have everything done for you. I said Perfect. We then went inside for the daunting 4-hour haggle struggle with the ever so important “sales manager”. I said to myself, I really hate this process, they really need to make it much more pleasant for their customers!
Anyway, I survived and left with my paperwork and went to Alaska with my dad for 2 weeks.
As soon as I got back, I went right to the dealership to pick up my truck. Richard had everything lined up, he reviewed all the upgrades with me and out the door I went. I was a new proud owner of a Dodge Ram.
Weeks later back at the office, my friend Eric wanted to see my truck because I had told everyone that I was buying a new truck.
We go out into the parking lot and he’s walking around my truck admiring it and asking me questions. He then stopped and said, Mechiel didn’t you tell me that this truck had the towing package even though you didn’t want it? I said, yeah, why? Eric said, well I don’t see the towing package. I said what? I went to the back of the truck and he was right no ball, no hitch and no sleeve. I said, well let me look in the glove box, there’s supposed to be a lighting package in there. I got to the box, no lighting package.
My heart went from 0 to 100 in 2 seconds and I immediately felt defeated.
But then I remembered something!!! I remembered that when Richard went to get the license plate, I had written down the VIN number! Now I’m frantically searching through my purse and it seemed like forever, but there it was on a crumbled-up piece of paper. Eric and I quickly compared my VIN number to MY truck. Guess what? NOT MY TRUCK! Now, I was pissed but I was locked and loaded with the information I needed!
I called up Richard, I said, Richard, you have an issue. What issue is that Mechiel? I said Richard, this isn’t MY truck. He said, well sure it is! Richard what you don’t know is that I wrote down the VIN number that day and this is NOT my Truck. Dead silence on the other end of phone. Richard, I have you by the balls! And I want my truck. More silence and finally he said, Mechiel I’ll call you back in a few minutes.
A few minutes later he called me back and explained that MY truck was no longer there and wanted to know what they could do to make this right.
I said lucky for you I’m not a sue happy person because my best friend Cindy’s – dad is a lawyer and he is chomping at the bit to sue you!
I’m bringing this truck back to you and you all are going to add an after market towing package to my truck. I took the truck back and they added the towing and lighting package – after all I had paid for it the first time!
Now months go by and it’s time to change the oil and rotate the tires. Since I had never owned a truck before I called home and asked dad to explain how the tires should be rotated. He told me to get out the truck operators manual and look it up to see what Dodge recommended. I found it and I understood that the front left wheel would go to the back right, the right front wheel would go the back left and the two rear wheels would just move forward.
When I went to Firestone that day, I explained that my wheels needed to be rotated a specific way according to the operator’s manual. She had me draw a picture of exactly how I wanted it done. She said, Ok, I’ll call you when it’s finished.
Several hours later, I came by to pick up my truck. I paid and then went to get in my truck – first thing I did was inspect the wheels and tires. Hmm, Oh, they did not! They were not rotated as I had asked them to do so I carried my happy ass back into the store and told her that my wheels were not rotated the way I asked you to do. She hollered at the guy that did the work and he was trying every trick in the book to get me to believe it was done correctly. I said, get your manager and come with me. So now the dude is walking through the parking lot, smoking a cigarette and his manager is in tow.
They get to my truck and I said, I want to show you something. You see these numbers on my wheels and my tires? (I had numbered each tire and wheel with the numbers 1 thru 4, starting at the left front 1, right front 2, left back 3, right back 4. This #1 should be in the right back and that #4 should be in the right front, clearly you did NOT rotate my wheels correctly. You should have seen their faces when they realized what had just happened! Priceless!
OH, and let me show you this….I opened up my front door and there was a cigarette burn on the inside of my door. I don’t smoke and then I glanced over at the dude smoking….
The manager was less than happy and told the guy to go rotate the tires the right way and then he walked me back inside and he apologized to me and gave me my money back. Nothing could be done with a cigarette burn – but hopefully he wasn’t allowed to smoke in another person’s vehicle!
Now, I’m not sure if this truck just had some bad ju ju or what but things like this happen all the time! My dad taught me growing up that people will take advantage of you, you just need to be one step in front of them.
Thank you for listening, I hope you were inspired, entertained or you learned something new!
Hey! My bike has been serviced and it’s ready for Laconia – now, I just need to pack! If you happen to go to Laconia look for our T-shirts we call ourselves The Insane Wanderers!
While I’m gone to Laconia my real estate business is on auto pilot and I’m producing income while I’m out riding around the countryside! If you want to know how, reach me at www.fearlessinnovator.com!
Catch me later…