Thursday, June 7, 2012

Truth In Advertising

There I was, barreling down the freeway, late as usual, doing . . . uh, the speed limit, like I always do, when I nearly sideswiped two cars in the lane right next to me. 
Rent A Tire:  Rent To Own Tire And Wheels”
There’s just no getting around a double-take for a sign like that.  Who rents a tire? A unicyclist?  A wheelbarrowist?  (Is that a word?) 
Now, I know the economy is bad.  People have lost jobs everywhere.  And the silver lining to that cloud is this—entrepreneurs now have a guilt-free opportunity to launch the million dollar idea their wives never believed in.
But come on.  What is the demographic who’ll buy into this? Prom dates trying to impress their girlfriends?  Robbery victims who come back to the parking lot after a movie and notice a wheel missing? I guess if you get a flat tire it might come in handy.  But honestly, that's what AAA is for - and they make house calls. 
And can you rent only one wheel at a time?  Or will you be forced to rent wheels in pairs just so they wear evenly?  Do wheels wear?
Curiosity got the best of me, so finally I went to the internet for answers.  I’m not saying the internet is any source of truth, but I figured it might look more legitimate if they had a website.  Then again, is every website legit?
I googled Rent A Tire.  That was enlightening.  A multi-colored wall of graffiti appeared with a tireless wheel rolling off all by itself.  But it was artsy fartsy.  And applying for a loan is so easy—just complete the online application and then bring it in with me to the dealership. . . wait. . . . bring in my laptop to the dealership?  For collateral??  That’s unclear. I’ll need to check on that.
They also want my driver’s license, my social security card, my current paycheck stub, my vehicle registration, and a utility bill.    That way they can clean out my bank account and take over my life in exchange for one to four questionable spheres of rubber.  It was beginning to look less and less desirable . . .
But the ad said my life will be so enriched if I ditch the wheels that came on my Tahoe and support this company.  If I have no credit, it’s no problem!  I can ‘live large’!  There’s even an enhanced on-line credit feature!  Double wow!  Wait til I tell my husband!
Imagine how that conversation would go.
“Hey, honey!  You know how we spent a thousand bucks on those overpriced Michelins last summer and then drove six thousand miles of tread off of them the same month?”
“Um hmm.”
“Well,” I continue, “we could have rented them instead.”
“Is that right. So, what happens if we miss a payment while we’re on vacation?” he wants to know. “Do they hunt us down with satellites and repossess our wheels during the night from the Motel 6 parking lot?”
“Oh, you’re always so negative,” I’ll say.
“What do they do with those repossessed tires?  Re-rent them as new with paperwork to match?  Is there an odometer setting somewhere to prove there are still 45,000 miles of tread left on them before I start shelling out my hard-earned cash to  . . who?”
“Just look at this testimonial!” I gush.  “Josie in Lugnut, Texas, said Rent A Tire hooked her up with some awesome wheels and tires!”
“I  don’t think we want wheels or tires from a place that advertises hookers,” he says.

“No, you misunderstood,” I continue.  “Look, here’s a guy named Vinny who said he comes to ‘rent a wheel because they hook me up and nice to me.”

“Yeah, well that’s not even a complete sentence,” he mutters, and changes the channel.

I still think there’s genius in this idea.  Maybe we could store our Michelins in the garage for the summer and rent four stand-ins from these guys.  That way, when those weird little groundhogs on the backroads I drive lose their suicidal game of dodgeball under my wheels, I won’t care about the gooey mess. 

I’ll just let Vinny take ‘em off my hands.  In broad daylight. With a lot of witnesses. 


  1. Eula,

    So, I'm up early -- before the rest of the tribe has even thought of opening their beautiful eyes. And I run across this wonderful little post.

    Then, I'm trying to keep from laughing my overly loud and bothersome laugh as I read. The whole time I'm wondering, "How did Eula know what I was thinking as I went zipping by the rent a tire place?"

    You've found your voice, and it is lovely! Keep up the good work.

    1. Well, thank you, Yvonne! It's lovely to meet you. And what a delightful comment to come home to this afternoon. It makes my day to know you were laughing out loud - come back anytime!