First of all, in case you hadn't figured it out yet, I am the type of woman who likes to do things myself if at all possible, especially in situations where a stereotypical woman would just give up and say, "I need a man." That's when I like to do it on my own (was it the four older brothers?...).
Recently, my car failed the safety inspection. But it was no problem, I only had two little lights out, and I could fix that myself. The man told me it was the front marker light and the front corner light. The lady suggested Pep Boys as a nice place to buy the parts and have them service my car. I'd never been to Pep Boys before, so I figured I'd try it out.
I entered the store and made my way to the bulb aisle. I was flipping through the catalogue to figure out what model bulbs I needed when I heard a man's voice say, "What kind of bulb you looking for?"
Now, I didn't want a salesperson's help, male or female, but he asked me a direct question rather than a yes or no question (which was a very good sales technique, I must admit), so I answered it. Maybe I shouldn't have. Oh, well. Anyway, I was annoyed he assumed I wanted help. I didn't.
"So you want the corner and turn signal," he said. No, I was pretty sure if the turn signal had been the problem the inspector would have just said "turn signal". But I didn't say anything.
"You'll find it faster here," the man said, indicating the electronic light bulb looker-upper he was using. "What year is your car?"
"I don't know," I said. And I didn't. It's not my car. I'm just borrowing it for a few months. I looked at the screen. It had only two options: before 1999, or after 2000.
"It's before 2000, for sure," I said.
"What year?" he asked again.
I decided to take a stab at it, and said, "Hmm. I would guess probably... '92?"
He said I had to know the exact year or I'd end up buying the wrong thing (of course he didn't offer to go look at my car and help me figure it out...). He asked for the make and model, and I told him. He plucked two packages from the pegs and handed them to me.
"If that's the right information," he said, "these'll be the ones you need." And he turned and walked away. God's gift to female auto-parts shoppers, I'm sure.
I walked to the checkout counter, bulbs in hand. The turn signal bulbs alone were $12. But I hadn't really enjoyed my visit to Pep Boys, and didn't really feel like giving them my business. I set both packages on the counter and left.
I drove to Checker Auto Parts. The guy asked me if I needed help. I said not yet. He said he'd be over here if I needed him. I looked in the catalogue. I had a question. I said okay now I need you. He helped me and didn't make me feel stupid. Neither of us could figure out the second bulb I needed so we went with the turn signal bulbs anyway (which were $4). I went home and replaced the bulbs myself.
Turns out I didn't need the turn signal bulbs, after all. Both dead bulbs were the same little kind.
Oh, and guess what? I looked at the owner's manual in the glove compartment. My car is a '92.