If I read his comments correctly, my brother was commiserating with me for my misjudged hubristic choice of not one but two BMWs (consecutive not concurrent), as against a VW, Peugot or Daiwoo. The following anecdote will I’m sure further boost his self-esteem. Bear with me, this could take some time.
The car, a BMW 335i coupé, was only a few days old when I went the wrong way down a hill in Bradwell, Derbyshire, and heard a crunch ahead of me. The bend was too tight and there was an invisible raised kerb. As is my wont, I took it on board, made sure it was still driveable and carried on back home to Reading. My usual approach to such situations can be summed up as a simultaneous ‘oh shit’ and ‘oh well’.
Over the next few years, the beemer’s front bumper acquired a few more scratches and scrapes, until about eighteen months ago I decided it was becoming embarrassing and took it in to the garage. I was directed to the Body Shop, where I discovered that they didn’t use Tea Tree Blackhead Exfoliating Wash but instead simply scraped the skin off and repainted it, at a cost of £450. I made my excuses and left.
So, one day last week, I’m parking up at Waitrose when I accidentally pull six inches too far over what proves to be my second, fatal, high kerb nemesis. I have no choice but to reverse off, knowing what’s coming. Sure enough, a familiar crunch sound. The man parking two slots along shakes his head. “That’s why I always reverse in.” But then I wouldn’t be able to get the trolley to the boot; and what’s a kerb doing there anyway? and several other thoughts flash across my mind, before I splutter “Why do they make the kerbs so high?” He shakes his head again. “They’ll just say BMW make the cars too low.”
So it’s back to the Body Shop. It’s the same man as eighteen months ago. “You again?” he doesn’t say, though I can hear him think it. We take a look. By now I’m getting used to people shaking their heads at my car. “The bumper has to be replaced.” He doesn’t say ‘this time’. He doesn’t need to say how cheap it’s going to be. As we walk away, the £ meter ticking up by the step, he does a double take. “Oh dear. It’s cracked the wing too.”
So here’s the awfully big number, which will make my brother glad he chose a VW.
£1,637.64, plus VAT. I really like the .64.
It went in this morning, and will be ready Tuesday. I have a nice little Citroen loan car, which I shall hammer the guts out of over the next few days. And I had a polite call at lunchtime, advising me that they’d found a wee dent in a door sill and a scratch somewhere else, and would I like them to fix those too, for another £500.01?