The Diary of the Phantom Tire Buyer #58:

A Web Log about free alignment from A Phantom Tire Buyer with a Secret Identity

I still remember, as though it were, oh, yesterday – that fateful day in 1997 when my good friend Chip gave me a fateful piece of news:  

“Phantom, I’m going to start offering a free alignment to anyone who buys 4 tires”.

“But, but Chip” I stammered.

“I know, I know.  It’s gonna be really expensive for us to buy the equipment and train everyone.  Not to mention the money we’ll give up by not charging those customers for their alignments.”

I was still too overcome to gather my wits.

“Excuse my French, but darn it, alignment is just so important!  You should never ever, ever put new tires on a misaligned vehicle!  It’s diabolical what happens then…the treads begin to wear unevenly…and once that starts, it can’t be undone and just continues to get worse!  BUT!  Do people know that?  Do they know that misalignment can void the manufacturer’s warranty?  Of course not!  Sometimes I think that all my competitors care about is selling the tires and slapping them on as fast as they can.”

By this point I was starting to get choked up.  Then, Chip uttered the words that would alter the course of my professional life.  

“People need to know, Phantom.  So I’m counting on you to spread the word.  From now on, every Tire Discounters customer who buys 4 tires with standard installation will GET that needed alignment!  And it shall be free.  Phantom, do you think you can do that for me?  No, I take that back.  Not for me.  Can you do it for unsuspecting tire buyers everywhere?”

Again, I wish I’d been more articulate at the time.  The best I could do was blurt out: “Alignment – so CRUCIAL!”