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I bought a car battery and it was a bit of a shit show

Yeah I don’t think that is going to work...
Yeah I don’t think that is going to work...

I’d mentioned previously that the “new” battery for the Saab didn’t really fit well, and that is very true. The weekend I figured I’d hit up PepBoys (who are my default car battery place for some reason) for a new one and just keep the “old” one as like... a backup.

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Or, more likely, just sell it on Craigslist.

Note: This started as a story about souring an unusually sized battery during a pandemic, but ended as just being a ramble about my Sunday.

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Well I get on their website and they say they have zero batteries for me. This doesn’t immediately dissuade me, so I use the Walmart battery finder to determine I’m looking for a Size 26 battery, then google that.

Hey PepBoys has one!

Illustration for article titled I bought a car battery and it was a bit of a shit show
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Wait... why can’t I select a quantity?

Crap.

Ok I’ll call them and see if they’ve got one in.

No... all the options on the IVR menu lead back to the main menu. I guess picking up the phone during a pandemic is... bad? IDK, maybe their shit was just broken.

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Well damn.

A little more searching reveals that unless I want to go to one of the “big four” auto parts stores and pay $150+, I’m going to have to go grab the bottom-of-the-line Walmart battery for $55.

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Nice thing about Walmart is they have a side-door automotive entrance, so I can sneak in, grab the battery, pay in automotive, and sneak out!

Yeah... that sneaking thing didn’t happen.

After making my way to the automotive entrance, past the, now closed, COVID-19 testing trailers, I find it locked. Turns out they’ve closed the automotive services area entirely due to COVID.

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Well shit. There goes my grand plan to be safe and minimize contact.

I re-park near(ish) the main entrance, put on my mask, and enter the depths of hell.

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Ok I’m being dramatic. It really wasn’t that bad. Little bit of a traffic jam on the way in as the guy in front of me seemed flummoxed by how carts work, but otherwise I made it in quickly and made a bee line for-

Well while I’m here I might as well see if they have any plants....

See usually by this time of year I’ve been to at least one garden show thingy and 5-6 nurseries to build out my planters and such. That didn’t really happen this year. Last Monday I went out with a friend to stock up and found that apparently I was the only person in the world not wanting to go plant shopping during a pandemic. Furthermore, I guess because everyone is spending more time at home, we found the shelves pretty bare.

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The scene at my local Ace. At least they had hand sanitizer!
The scene at my local Ace. At least they had hand sanitizer!

We picked over the leftovers and got a decent number, but I was still lacking some staples.

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To my surprise I found Walmart’s plant section to be exceptionally well stocked. Maybe because with the garden entrance closed it is really hard to get to?

No matter, I picked up a smattering of plants then made a bee line to Automotive.

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As a social distancing thing Walmart had implemented a one-way system for shopping, which was cool. However, it seemed the only real effect of it was to make people my me angry when everyone else failed to follow the one-way system.

So not sure what the point of it is.

I will say mask usage was a little higher than expected, so that is good anyway.

After a short walk, I found the battery and was away.

Checkout was easy, a shock given past experiences with Walmart, and soon enough I was back in the safety of the parking lot loading my battery and plant haul into the Jag.

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Illustration for article titled I bought a car battery and it was a bit of a shit show

Then I got hit up by a panhandler.

Gotta give the guy good marks. Concise story to pull at the heart strings, no extraneous details, and a clear, if ambitious, monetary goal ($6) to extract from me.

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There is a special shame in saying “Sorry no cash” while loading up a (heavily depreciated) luxury car. I think Doug Demuro had a thing about it in one of his books. Basically a lot of people don’t see a $5,000 beater, they see a car that new cost like $90,000 in today’s money so... clearly you could spare the $6 for drugs a hotel room.

But, in the end I went with the “sorry, no cash” route. Partly because I don’t give to panhandlers and partly because I knew my wallet was bulging with cash because I haven’t been using it at all and that would be even more awkward for me.

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He moved on and I took the long way home, enjoying the rumble of the V8, whine of the supercharger, and puft puft puft of my exhaust leak.

Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.

Dog B being a weirdo, for your time.

Illustration for article titled I bought a car battery and it was a bit of a shit show

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