Although I try to be as self-reliant as I can, oil changes are not something I enjoy doing, and it is often now cheaper to have someone else do it. So I took my car in to get the oil changed last week. After waiting for nearly two hours, one of the sales reps came out to tell me everything looks great. But with a somber face, he noted that the “cabin air filter” needs to be changed. As though passing me a note that my parents died in a war, he quietly presented me with this statement:
This looks very official! He must know what he’s talking about! But… $57 for an air filter? That seemed pretty steep. So I googled “how to replace cabin air filter” and found a video showing me exactly how to do that in about 4 minutes. The cost of the air filter? $20. I declined on the spot and opted to do it myself—saving $37 for 4 minutes of my time. (Hourly rate translation: $555/hour.) Being self-reliant pays well.
Then a few days later, I waited with a friend in our backyard for the air conditioning service company to arrive and tell me how much money it would cost to keep my 12-year-old units alive through another scorching Phoenix summer. We did some yard work, played with the kids, sat and had coffee. And then the
financial reaper repairman came. He poked around. He tested wires. He threw out jargon that was difficult to follow. And then he presented the below bill, suggesting that I pay $1,085.63 to perform the maintenance work he was recommending. But the brightly colored STOP sign on the invoice caught my eye:Why pay more?