I walk into an auto parts & repair shop.
I’m here to check out the range of supplies and to ask for advice. So I go up to the counter where the owner is happy to help although I’m equally happy for him to finish off with the burly motor mechanic picking up parts.
I ask where I might go to get a second-hand item serviced.
No, he says, you can’t get that sort of thing second-hand anymore, anywhere.
I don’t ask further, but he volunteers: It’s all the government’s fault. It’s that national credit act nonsense. At least, that’s what I think I hear, although later on I guess that even if he had referred to this law, he might really have meant the National Consumer Protection Act.
I say, but it’s not always government’s fault. That kind of law is absolutely essential because there are so many crooks doing business and taking advantage of consumers. Look at how much motor repair shops charge these days, I add, given that we’re having an auto discussion and there’s a burly motor mech standing right next to me and, well, right now I’m being purposefully provocative to see exactly where this will go.
So he says: But that’s because of the minimum wage.
I say, no, it’s not the minimum wage. Companies charge a labour rate that is way above the low wages they might be paying to a big chunk of the people who produce or fix or sell stuff. It’s a classic case of blaming the victim, the underpaid worker on the lowest rung, or at least that’s what I think, I add.
Oh, he says, my policy is never to discuss religion or politics so I’m not going to get into this discussion. And he turns back to the burly motor mech.
But you opened the door, Meneer, you should think before you speak, you can’t bale out in mid-stream, I shout over my shoulder as I walk from his shop. Still oblivious to where I might get my repair done. But, apparently, we all know who to blame.
‘A Guy Walks Into An Auto Shop’