I finally decided to bite the bullet this past weekend and purchase some new tires for my car. I had decided to go with Michelin’s HydroEdge tire, mostly because I’ve been very pleased with Michelins in the past, and it seemed to be a better tire than what I already had (the X Radial). I did a little research at the Web site of my preferred tire retailer, and discovered that my chosen tire is a special-order item, so I went ahead and placed an order. Since the order was being shipped to a store for me to pick up, I didn’t have to provide any payment info, just my login/membership details. This felt weird to me, but it really makes sense, since I hadn’t yet committed to actually receiving the tires. Delivery time was estimated at 5 to 10 business days - reasonable enough, and I was in no big hurry.

Tuesday, I received an e-mail informing me that my tires were ready for pickup at the store I had specified, and it seems I had specified the wrong location; they were actually sitting in a store about 10 miles south of where I had wanted them to go. Nothing too major, really, just slightly inconvenient.

Wednesday afternoon, I jetted from work about 10 minutes early to try to beat the rush hour and make it down to the club to get my tires installed. I got down there around 6, but unfortunately, there was only one guy working and another gentleman had just come in before me and also purchased four new tires. I figured it was no huge deal to wait, so I gave the guy my info and keys, and set about wasting time walking around the rest of the store. (On a side note, I happened to notice that my tires had been shipped in via UPS; that can’t have been cheap.)

After about an hour of milling, I started to get a little bored, as I had already eaten and walked through the entire store, so I headed back to the tire area. The employee had finished up with the other guy and was just starting to work on my tires. Yay! I sat down to watch him, since I figured it was more interesting than staring at stacks of tires. I have to say I was very impressed with the care he took in his work; I could tell he was working quickly, but also taking his time.

With the tires installed (two hours after my arrival), he came back out of the mounting area to get all of my paperwork settled up. He told me, though, that the computer system wouldn’t let him log back in until someone else did, so he paged for a manager to come over. Fifteen minutes passed, no manager. He finally got fed up with waiting, and it was pretty obvious he wanted to get home, so he gave me the option of taking the interim paperwork and coming back in the morning to get the real deal. Since they open at 7, I figured that wasn’t a problem, and agreed.

The next morning, I went on in for my paperwork, but there were no signs of life in the tire area, even though it was already 7:30. A very nice member services lady tried paging tire employees, but no one responded. I finally asked her if it was possible to get a manager to help me, since all I needed was the paperwork. She wasn’t sure, but called someone, and he said he would look into it. A few minutes later he came up with the papers to talk to me. He asked me if I had been given receipt, and I showed him what the guy had given me the night before, and explained that he had said it didn’t have mileage on it, and I needed one with the mileage for my warranty. He handed me the new paper with the mileage and apologized for the inconvenience.

I was happy to be on my way, only slightly put off by the inconvenience, and rolling with laughter. Did you notice what it missing from this transaction?

They never asked me to pay. $455.28+tax in tires and services, and they never asked for my money. I am one happy camper!