Monday, October 29, 2018

The Medical Model of Auto Repair

Your car is running rough so you take it to the repair shop. They won't tell you in advance what it will cost to fix it but you really need the car, so you tell them to go ahead. You come back when it's done and they charge you $11,834.75, which is disconcerting because that's more than you paid for the car.

They look you up on their customer list and tell you that you are a "preferred customer" and are entitled to a discount, and that you only need to pay $632.84, which you fork over happily because it sounds like a bargain even though you see on the receipt that it only took two hours and the parts consisted of two popsicle sticks and a packet of bubble gum.

Then two weeks later you get an additional bill for $385.62 from the "diagnostician" who examined the car to be able to tell the mechanic what needed fixing. Your lawyer friend tells you it is a legitimate bill, so you pay it.

Three weeks after that, you get a bill for "space utilization" from the building in which the repair was done. Turns out the mechanic does not own his own space. Apparently he doesn't pay rent either.

Then you get a bill from the mechanic for $487.54 because the repair was not on the list of "Level 1 Discounts" to "preferred customers." They are sincerely sorry for the misunderstanding.

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