Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Cha-Chingo Dance

Awhile back, I took my car to a service station for an oil change.

Because I’m thrifty (my wife calls me the “Ch” word) oil changes are a task that I always handle myself. But since my son’s post-accident car replacement sits really close to the ground (and I don’t) I decided to take it to the local garage and have them change the oil. I thought, “It’s just an oil change. How much can it cost, fifteen... twenty bucks?”

I walked into the place just as a customer with an angry scowl was walking out. Nobody was at the counter but I heard a strange sound coming from the service area in the back. As I had stood, contemplating this sound, a garage employee burst from the door that was just behind the counter. He was winded, his face was flushed, and he seemed nervous as he apologized for my wait.

I told him what I needed; not bothering to ask how much it would be because, like I said, it’s just an oil change. He took my keys and directed me to their waiting area.

I didn’t have to wait long. Only eight minutes had passed when another employee (I’ll call him Sparky) breezed through the door from the service area with a big smile on his face and my keys dangling from one finger.

“All done!” Sparky brightly announced.

“That’ll be $53.00!” Chirped Sparky.

“Oh no,” I chuckled, “I had the oil change… the Bonneville?”

“Yep, that’s the one! That’ll be $33.00!” (He was beginning to annoy me) “Oh, wait! I forgot the E.P.A. disposal fee! That’ll be $36.31!”

Now I was the one with a scowl on my face.

I grudgingly paid my ransom and was just out the door when I remembered I had left my receipt on the counter. I stepped back inside and was surprised to see that Sparky had already disappeared. There was that sound again!

Rather than wait to be rediscovered, I decided that I would just poke my head through the doorway to the service area to let them know I was back.

I pushed the door open a little, and that’s when I saw it… the strangest thing.

Both Sparky and the other guy were dancing around the floor of the shop. Occasionally they would lock arms at the elbows and swing around square-dance style. Sparky was waving the copy of my bill over his head as subdued giggles squeaked out of him. The other guy was chanting in hushed tones to the rhythm of their shuffling feet, “Cha-ching…Cha-ching… Cha-chingo… Cha-ching!”

I quietly closed the door and slipped out.

My advice to all of you is this: If you ever enter a service station and hear an unfamiliar sound coming from the back, turn around and run.

Let the sound of the Cha-chingo dance be your warning.

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