Being a staunch traditionalist, I shall begin my tale in that most time-honored fashion…
Once upon a time, in the sleepy little County of *****, there lived a cranky old buzzard with a new truck.
One night, his truck sent him an email. Trucks can do that now. We must be living in the 21st century.
The email said “my rear tires are quite low in pressure, do something!”. Now these tires were not just filled with any old run-of-the-mill air. No sir. These tires had special air, which went by the name of Nitrogen. Nitrogen was quite proud of being nitrogen, and didn’t much care when common folk mentioned that regular old run-of-the-mill air was 78% nitrogen to begin with. This nitrogen liked to remind people that it was pure, unadulterated nitrogen, and that messy old oxygen was neither needed nor wanted.
So anyway, Mr Old Buzzard shook his head at the idea of a truck emailing him, and the following morning he rose out of bed, threw on his go-to-town clothes and went to get some nitrogen for his poor tires. Imagine Mr Old Buzzard’s surprise when the first tire service business he stopped at responded with “What? Niter Gen? Is that a Japanese tire? We don’t carry them, but maybe I can order some.” Mr Old Buzzard thanked them and then drove to another tire business. The response was different but not exactly better. They didn’t have nitrogen either, but they knew about how a lot of new vehicles were coming with nitrogen filled tires, but they were…. unconvinced of the benefits of this highfalutin’ special air and offered to top Mr Old Buzzard off with regular old run-of-the-mill air, but Mr Old Buzzard had read somewhere on the internets that it was best practice not to add regular old run-of-the-mill air to a tire full of nitrogen because REASONS.
So Mr Old Buzzard drove to the local GMC Honda dealership, which just happened to be owned by the brother of the man that Mr Old Buzzard had bought his truck from. Mr Old Buzzard walked into the service department, removed his hat and asked the young lady at the service desk (lady at the service desk? We MUST be living in the 21st century) if they could fill up a low tire with nitrogen. She smiled and said they had no nitrogen and before she could continue, an old service geezer from across the way cackled “Nitrogen? Ha! Some dealers are putting that stuff in new tires, and they will be happy to fill them up for you. Be sure you have your wallet when you go.” Mr Old Buzzard turned to old service geezer and said “Yes, they do”. Mr Old Buzzard pointed at his truck that was parked out front and continued “That truck right there has nitrogen in the tires, and it came from the brother of the fellow that owns this place”.
Old service geezer suddenly got very busy at his desk while loudly stating for all to hear “Different business all together, they got nothing to do with us!”. Mr Old Buzzard watched old service geezer for a few moments to see if he had anything else to add, then turned back to the young lady at the service desk. “Do you know of anyone in ***** County that would have nitrogen available to pump up a low tire?”, he asked. The young lady at the service desk named both tire stores that Mr Old Buzzard had already visited, so Mr Old Buzzard thanked the young lady at the service desk for her time. She did tell Mr Old Buzzard that regular old run-of-the-mill air could be used to fill the tires up. Mr Old Buzzard thanked the young lady at the service desk again and walked out to his truck.
Mr Old Buzzard really did not want to drive to the next village over to pump up a tire, but at this point he figured maybe a phone call to the place he had bought the truck from was in order. So Mr Old Buzzard pulled into a large convenience store/gas station parking lot and told his truck to call *** Chevrolet (wait a minute… you can tell a truck to make a phone call?!?) and he ended up talking to Heather in the service department (woman in the service depart…, ah, you’ve heard this before). Mr Old Buzzard asked Heather if she knew of any place in ***** County that could fill up a low tire with nitrogen. Heather did not know of any place in ***** County that could do that. Mr Old Buzzard then asked Heather if *** Chevrolet had nitrogen (here comes the good part of the story, so pay attention) and Heather said “Yes, we have it, it’s $20 per tire to fill.”
There was a long silence wherein Mr Old Buzzard had many thoughts, none of which shall be discussed here. Twenty dollars. Per tire.
Mr Old Buzzard finally told Heather he thought that was just a bit out of line, he wasn’t holding Heather responsible for that bit of (here, the reader may choose between words such as “robbery”, “larceny”, “greed”, “scam”, etc) customer service policy, but Mr Old Buzzard did add that he sure did wish he had known about the Nitrogen Charge and its total lack of availability ANYWHERE other than *** Chevrolet. From Heather’s quiet response that one could use regular old run-of-the-mill air to inflate the tire, Mr Old Buzzard formed an idea that possibly Heather may well have had this conversation before.
So Mr Old Buzzard thanked Heather for her time and ended the call. He saw a coin operated regular old run-of-the-mill air machine in the same parking lot he was already in, so he drove over to it and got out of his truck. A hand-lettered sign was taped to the face of the regular old run-of-the-mill air machine. It stated that the people that worked inside the convenience store had no connection with, no responsibility for, or anything else under the sun to do with the regular old run-of-the-mill air machine. If it didn’t work at all, if it worked wrong, if it made your crops wither and die, you needed to call the 800 number on the machine, all sales final, no refunds. It also said $1.50 in quarters, do not run over hose.
Mr Old Buzzard drove right down to the local Ace Hardware and bought an air compressor, which will be fully paid for the 5th time he puts air into one of those tires.