The Off Color Solution
The Off Color Solution
We have a nine-year old Toyota that is in excellent mechanical condition. In that is a second car, we only drive it a few thousand miles a summer. It will probably outlive us. Like most older cars, it has picked up a few scratches over the years. A nasty “key job” by some schmuck or other, a run in with a shopping cart and a few other brushes with hard objects had left several noticeable scratches on the cars exterior.
In that we would probably keep the car for a few more years, I thought I would look into having professionals “touch up” several of the scratches. We did our Internet research and then set out to five “collision shops” in the greater Buffalo area. In each location, a wizened professional critically examined the car’s exterior and then “put the figures into his computer.” What that meant was never explained to us. The car had no dents, just needed some retouching. The estimates made us gasp. At each location the formula called for a “touch up” cost of almost $850 (L 575). Jeepers, I don’t think the blue book value of the car is that much. What gives with this?
We mulled over the various estimates for a few days, remembering when we had purchased cars for less that this “touch up” estimate. Then we thought back to those days when money came hard and we made do with what we had.
I drove into a NAPA car parts store and purchased a can of metallic blue spray paint for $7.80.(L 5) It wasn’t an exact match to the car’s color nor was it meant for that model of vehicle. Still, it was close enough. Then, in a nearby, abandoned parking lot, I lightly applied the dark-blue, spray paint to the car’s scratches. Darned if it didn’t t cover most of the damages effectively. It wasn’t a perfect match on the color and up close you can still see that the paint job was blurry an uneven in spots. But, from five feet away, it looked pretty good to me. And I had achieved this effect for $7.80 (L5) not the $850 (L 575 )quoted me by professionals.
I am not sure what moral lies hidden here, but I do know that we will probably take a three-day cruise to the Bahamas on the money I didn’t hand over to these “professionals.” And I felt a lot better about that. Maybe we all have to start rethinking such similar appraisals in life in terms of how we managed like we did when money was tighter. If nothing else, it makes you feel pretty good to thumb your nose at the various highwaymen who ask you to fork over your hard earned cash without even the decency of wearing masks when they hold you up.
Joseph Xavier Martin