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It all began when I received a coupon in the mail for an oil change at a chain. Seeing that I’d save about $12 on that desperately needed maintenance, I happily decided to use it. The fact that every oil change received a free car wash was just icing on the cake. Having left it at a teammate’s house in Orange County during the wildfires while we went to a swim meet, the car was covered in ash.


Even though there were locations closer to my home, I plotted a route from my job to one a little farther away to take advantage of the free car wash. Unfortunately, traffic was a nightmare as it sometimes is in Los Angeles and it took an hour and a half to get to the place.


I have no idea what it was or what I did, but from the moment I got out of the car, the service guy accused me of being a mystery shopper. Perhaps it was my dismay to learn that the car wash was closed. Or maybe it was the whole, “I have thirteen minutes before I have to leave.” I’m really not sure. But nothing I said could dissuade him from his conviction.


Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Mystery Shoppers. I have something against the guy who tried to lay a guilt trip on me for putting poor unsuspecting businesses out of business with my mystery shopping. By the grace of God, I was able to remain civil, but I was really annoyed that he insisted on telling me that Mystery Shopping doesn’t pay enough to warrant my hurting families by killing their income streams. Instead of beginning work on my car, he kept going even after I pointed out I needed to get somewhere in less than a half an hour.


Finally resolved to the fact that I wasn’t going to make it to my next thing, I sat in the waiting room and read the book I had. Except the guy wasn’t done with me. Perhaps I didn’t appear as interested in the book as I was because he came over and tried to chat me up. He told me all about his sister and no good brother in law. He told me how he likes different seasons of the year. I got an earful about how all the people in L.A. are stuck up and don’t speak. Excluding me, he was quick to point out. On and on and on.


At long last, I paid for my oil change, received a voucher for the free car wash and was on my way. Too late to make it to my friend’s thing, but nothing I could do about it at that point. A couple days later, I used the voucher and was pleasantly surprised that it was for a super speedy hand car wash. That nearly made up for everything.


Until I heard a rattling under my hood a few days after that. Fearing the worst, I popped it open to take a look. Silly really, since I can in no way be mistaken for a mechanic. I was relieved to find that the rattle had a simple solution. All I had to do was remove the screwdriver the guy had left in there.


Can you imagine the review that I would’ve given them if I had been a Mystery Shopper? I suppose it’s fortunate for him that I’m not, despite his staunch belief to the contrary.

I’m Not a Mystery Shopper