Today I went to get an oil change at one of those chain places that does it in 10 minutes. When the kid doing it popped the hood, he showed me that my oil was pretty dirty and that he'd recommend flushing the oil. I asked how much it cost and he said $11.95. He then paused a moment and suggested quietly that he'd give it to me for $10.00 but he wasn't going to put it on the invoice. I was a little confused about the invoice part as it wasn't immediately clear what was up. He explained a few minutes later that I should give him $10.00 cash and leave it on the front seat - the flush wouldn't be on my bill when I paid at the register.
He also showed me that I badly needed a new air filter but when he went to go get one, he had to ask someone a question about the filter. He offered that he would have given me $7.00 off that and done the same thing, but because his manager saw him he would have to bill me normally. He pointed out which guy was the manager so I didn't accidentally blow his scam. While the two employees finished up with my car I opened my wallet and found that I, of course, did not have a ten dollar bill to leave on the seat and the kid couldn't break a twenty. So this put me in the awkward situation of paying at the register and then using the change I got from that transaction to pay this kid - which I now had to be careful to do without his manager seeing.
Seeing no good opportunity to give this guy a stack of bills (the cashier gave me ten singles for my change) I asked him if I could go downstairs to look under my car one more time to see the oil leak that his co-worker showed me earlier. So I went down the stairs out of the gaze of the manager and handed off the ten dollars to his co-worker who understood it was for the flush as they seemed to be running the scam together. When I left I made it clear to the kid that his friend had the money. It was the most elaborate and awkward thing I have probably ever done to save two dollars and to help an underpaid kid scam his job.
- Marc Fischer