As mentioned previously, America's roads are in shambles. My front tires were already low on tread and after I left Virginia Beach that morning, I knew something was up. I pulled over and I had fresh nails in the driver side and a strange circular cut out in the other one. I mean it looked like someone cut this thing with a circular saw.
I sat in the parking lot of a McDonald's, using their WiFi and searching for reputable tire shops. The local PepBoys had some horrible reviews and an equally how 2.2 star rating.
But I figured let me give them a shot. Not everything you read on the internet is true. So I walk in and I'm immediately greeted with anger and disdain. The dude at the counter said he's got nothing available until much later that day or the next day. Then, tries to tell me the tires I need on my car have to be ordered because he doesn't have them in stock and it'll take about a day. THEN he quotes me a price so comical, I decided I had to be pranked. $149 per tire, plus mounting and balancing.
As I walked out, he said "you won't find another shop 'round here with the tires you need" and I just smiled and laughed. If I was driving a rare 60's Ferrari, he might have been right. But 235-65-17 tires are insanely common amongst SUVs. Every shop had them in stock.
The internet was right this time.
So, I whipped (and nae nae'd) into the Merchant Tire around the corner. What a good decision that was. They had much better reviews so I headed over there the kid at the counter was awesome. He came outside, said he had some tires that would work perfect and gave me a decent deal on price. Not to mention a 2 hour turn around - which I was ok with.
There was a girl by the name of Leah working there, traveling from corporate, and she happened to be from South Florida so we had a lot to talk about travel, life, and this crazy one-way trip I decided to take. Meanwhile, the manager, Robert Price, was cool enough to let me go in the back of the bay and take some shots of the car being worked after I explained what I was doing. We talked about marketing, sales tactics, and plain old customer service. Earlier, I heard employees saying he was a tough guy to understand but he meant well.
My impression was that he really cared about the customer and building relationships. After one of the employees quoted a price to a customer that had just walked in, the customer declined the service and walked out. Robert jogged outside to grab the guy before he took off and make him an offer. After a minute, the both came back in and he handed them the keys. I like that. It's better to shave a couple of bucks off a price and keep the customer, than lose them over a and damage your reputation. Sales like that increase revenue directly and via reputation management.
Anyway, so I had plans to go meet up with my friends Jay & Charlene and I didn't want to be too late. so I took off from the tire shop around 1 PM. Colonial Williamsburg as certainly worth the detour.
I wasn't sure how that whole tour thing worked. I just parked and took a stroll. What a perfect day it was. Chilly and sunny.
After harassing some of the actors and joining a large group for the canon firing, I figured it was time to hit the 'ol dusty trail.