While in the Muffler Shop

While in the Muffler Shop

While in the Muffler Shop – Jimmy Shear

The following is a situation that happened to me about fifteen years ago. I took my car to a nationally known muffler shop to get an estimate on a new muffler. While waiting, there was a young woman also waiting for an estimate on her car. Finally, the young mechanic who inspected her car came into the waiting room and went over the estimate with her.

He said that the cost of new muffler, tail pipe, etc. would be $121.50.

The young lady look a bit perplexed as she only had $110.00 in cash with her. She said that she could go home and get the rest, and promised that she would return with the $11.50 if they went ahead and fixed the muffler. The manager of the store was also there and he said to her, “In order to insure that you will return, we will need for you to leave us some collateral such as a lock of your hair.”

The young lady, who was average looking, had blonde hair several inches below her shoulder. The young lady’s response got my attention.

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Apparently, she did not realize that the manager was kidding as she responded seriously, “That would be OK with me.” The manager laughed and said that he could not do that but wanted her to leave something of value such as a ring or watch until she returned with the $11.50. The young girl hesitated but before she could respond, the mechanic who examined her car returned and said that he had made a mistake and that the repairs were only going to be $105.00. Since she had enough money, no more was said about collateral.

My interest in this matter was not over. I was excited that this woman seemed so willing to part with a lock of her hair for such little in return. As we sat in the waiting room for our cars, I decided to strike up a conversation with her. After exchanging some small talk, I found out that she, like myself, was single and lived in the area. I then said to her, “You realized, of course, that the manager was kidding about you giving up a lock of your hair as collateral.”

“No, I didn’t,” she replied.

“You mean that you would have let him cut a lock of your hair as a show of faith that you would have returned with the $10 you owed him?” I asked

“Absolutely,” she said firmly. “In fact, for the cost of the muffler, he could have shaved my head.”

“You are kidding!” I stated emphatically.

“Indeed not,” was her reply. “I am real short on cash at the moment. My hair is not that important to me. Long, short, or bald, what is the difference? Hell, with a sheared head, I would save a lot of money on hairspray and the like.”

“I think you are pulling my leg,” was my retort.

“Yeah, well then try me,” she challenged.

“What do you mean,” I asked.

“You foot the $105 for my muffler job and you can shave my head,” was her offer.

I can honestly say that my heart never beat this fast in my life. Here I was faced with a proposition that seemed like a dream come true. I would get to shave this young woman’s head in exchange for only $105. But was it the right thing to do? Would I be unfairly taking advantage of a desperate young woman? Was there a jealous boyfriend? There seemed to be so many questions.

“Well? Are you interested?” she asked teasingly, as she ran her fingers through the long blonde tresses.

More silence ensued. I never really gave her an answer to her offer. When her car was ready, she got up and paid the bill and left.

In the last fifteen years, I since have gotten married and have two kids. And in those the years, although I am happy with my family, I don’t think there has been a day in my life that I have not thought about what if I had taken the young lady with the blonde hair up on her offer. I have replayed in my head over and over again what I should have done. At the least, I should have gotten her name and address and pursued the offer at a later date.

I have never been close to such an opportunity since, and I probably never will. Don’t know how it would have turned out, but I regret I did not fork up the 105 bucks to find out.


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