Big Red Car here and for the first time I’ve gotten a little of the Christmas spirit. Hard to do when it’s 75F but that’s the ATX. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!
So The Boss had an interesting experience the other day that drove home a good lesson in . . . . . frugality. Frugal. Let it roll off your tongue. Frugal.
Huh, Big Red Car?
In the world of startups, it is not only advisable to be frugal but it is a necessity. Put whatever word you like on it — “lean” is a good one but it still all gets down to extracting value from every financial transaction, every purchase.
So, The Boss has an oldish Lexus SUV — 2002 LX470 big black heap of love. It has squired he and the loveliness to numerous social events, driven the cubs (now 26 and 29) to numerous trysts with destiny, and made many a road trip. It has been a damn good car. Maybe the best road trip car ever.
As you may have gleaned (hint, the BRC is 49 years old, y’all) The Boss likes a car that likes him back and Big Blackie has been a very good car — 230,000 miles worth thus far. [Blackie gets the old guy, high mileage oil changes these days because he’s headed skiing today. Son of a bitch gets all the good gigs. I get the house sitter. Not to worry, we’re going to be screaming through the Hill Country top down. Hey, it’s winter in the ATX, haha!]
So, The Boss intends to do right by Blackie.
The sunroof died. It died hard and it was a cold corpse. Big Blackie is not as cool without the sunroof.
Cutting to the chase — Lexus dealer wanted $3,500 to replace it.
Now, The Boss loves Big Blackie but when you throw out numbers like $3,500 you are putting undue strain on the depth of that love. Truth — you are testing the limits of love and that can get ugly quick. You get that, right?
The Boss worked the Lexus dealership pretty hard — they have a coffee bar at the Lexus dealership so you can usually get The Boss to take Blackie for some work there without too much prodding. He says the latte is very good and it is free. Buy an $85,000 car and they give you free coffee? Wow!
No budge — $3,500.
Enter Texas Auto Tops
Texas Auto Tops was the result of some investigatory work by the Big Red Car.
I sent The Boss that direction where he met a lovely young lady who apparently had cataloged and safeguarded the world’s accumulated knowledge in all of Christendom about sun roofs and convertible tops (hint, Boss, convertible tops) and anything else that happens on top of, underneath, or part of an auto top.
Think of her like the keeper of the flame of knowledge on all things auto top. Sort of like a Dark Ages repository of knowledge and, apparently, the only such place in all of Austin.
Her name is Becca and she will surprise the crap out of you as she knows more about the subject than anyone else in Austin by God Texas.
She orders up an exploded view of the 2002 Lexus LX470 sunroof from — the Lexus dealer. She identifies the offending parts. She orders them.
She and Texas Auto Tops fix the thing as good as new for $1,400, half of which is the parts. Lexus parts are not cheap, y’all.
Good. As. New. $1,400 v $3,500.
Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.
The teaching point is simple — take your auto top problems to Texas Auto Tops.
Texas Auto Tops (ask for Becca)
818 N Meadows Drive
Austin, Texas 78758
No, that is not the point. Sorry.
The point is that there is a great big world out there and if you are willing to do a little research and scramble around a bit, you don’t have to pay the Lexus dealership price for shit. You can go to a place where you can mine value.
You will not be overwhelmed with the showroom at Texas Auto Tops (they do not have a coffee bar or a barista). They have a perfectly lovely leather couch which likely came with the building.
You will be appreciative of the bespoke service, the expertise, and the price. They give you a firm quote. They work on the car as soon as you get there. They finish the same day. When they are done, they call you. If you’re late, they wait on you.
No coffee bar, no barista. Becca.
Be frugal. Be cheap. Get value.