When did the "Car Wash" turn into the goddamn "Mall of America"?
The other day I took my car in to get it washed (I usually take it to the "Do-It-Yourself" drive thru but decided it needed a good inside/outside wash). As I pulled up I was met with the pushy "upgrade guy" (you know the one who always tries to upsell you to the $39 "Super Detail" with Armor All tire treatment and undercarriage scrub?). I instead settled (i.e. 'insisted' after haggling for 10 minutes) on the $16.99 "Regular Wash" and was tempted to tell him to "make it snappy," but I knew that would never happen.
So I took my receipt into the shiny "main building" to pay, and my first thought was "Holy shit, did a Checker Auto Parts, Claire's Boutique, Best Buy, Hallmark, Starbucks and Forever 21 explode in here?" The endless parade of crap was unbelievable. Some of the products for sale at the "Car Wash" were:
- The aisle of tank tops, including a black tank (made of the finest cotton) with the words "I Heart Michael Jackson" written in Rhinestones. Clearly a 'must have' for any contemporary closet
- A collection of vinylesque handbags and belts. Because everyone knows that when you need a belt, the local Car Wash is THE place to go.
- An assortment of greeting cards that could rival any Hallmark store. They also had a beautiful assortment of mini porcelain figurines - a virtual gift-giver's paradise.
- No less than three separate sitting areas - complete with leather sofas and 50-inch plasma tvs. Not only could one relax and catch up on "All My Children" while getting their Lexus washed -but there was an actual on site person prepared to sell you said 50-inch TV.
- An "Internet" station - in order to check your email or find you soul mate on Match.com while waiting for your tires to be Armor All-ed.
- An automotive section (this part actually did make sense). The pink/black zebra striped floor mats caught my eye, but they were snagged up by a 95 lb woman wearing Pink Juicy's and black tank top - obviously in an attempt to snazz up her BMW SUV.
I made my way through the maze o' junk somehow managing to resist all the top notch products and paid my $16.99 to the Cashier/Barrista/Soda Jerk. As I sat outside waiting 45 minutes for them to pat down my car with a shammy (the management has CLEARLY told the towel boys to take their sweet time so that the patrons will be tempted to go on a mad shopping spree while they wait upwards of an hour for their car to be dried) I remembered the good ol' days when a Car Wash consisted of nothing more than a trailer sized room with cash register (and a few candy bars) surrounded by plastic, coffee-stained patio furniture and a few Auto Trader magazines. I was also tempted to yell out "Enough already! Just wash my god damned Prius!"