A ten-fold increase in luck!

This is sort of an update on this post of a couple of days ago.

No matter how bad your day is, if you get the news we got today, it will always get better.

As I wrote a few days back, our campervan died, and needed some repairs with a hefty price tag. Now, I wasn’t there to speak to the mechanic, and my wife – being German – intuitively is the better person to make technical calls in Germany. My German is alright, but I sometimes get lost, especially on the phone. In short, our car was not watertight, and because of it, water entered the electric circuitry.

The mechanic explained to her that the process of finding the leak would be long and tedious, and replacing the electronics would probably also cost the same as the work hours. He then quoted a price, and apparently presented it in an extremely apologetic way. The quote my wife heard him say was 13.000 euros. He added that this was a wors-case scenario.

Now I don’t know shit about cars, but I immediately thought: WOW. That’s a lot of money. I knew that whether we would make the repair or not, we would have lost the money, as the valuable campervan would lose exactly that amount in value if we’d sell it in its current condition, or otherwise we’d lose it if we’d repair it. There was no win. I was pretty devastated. We agreed that whatever it would cost, it would be worth it, as we love this home on wheels.

The mechanic also said that there was a staff shortage and the repair would take at least until mid next week, as he had only 30 percent of his usual staff and could not spend full days on it. Covid? Not sure.

Then, yesterday evening, I was doing some back of an envelope calculations. I figured that even if the mechanic would cost 100 euro per hour, a full week would not cost 6.500 euro (half the quote). For the sake of the argument, I hypothesized that this dude that had lots of work and little time would perhaps spend a quarter of his hours on our car. Given forty hours of, say, 100 euros, that would be 4000 euro. I also deemed it very unrealistic that all the wiring in the car combined would be worth more than one thousand euro. Especially considering that it only concerned the dashboard wiring. So, I pretty quickly convinced myself that this 13.000 must have been a mistake. I asked Heike whether it was possible that she misheard, maybe? Heike agreed with my thinking process.

Today she called the dealership again and asked about the status, and weather they could give a more precise estimate of the price tag. The phone lady mentioned that the car was almost ready, and that the final quote contained one zero less. In fact, it was even slightly cheaper than that. So indeed, there must have been a miscommunication of the quote.

I blame the Bavarian language. Bavarians are absolutely incomprehensible, and the phone doesn’t make it any better. Needless to say, this repair was still expensive, but a whole lot more affordable. And definitely, totally, absolutely worth it. It feels like someone just gave us a 10K present, and that makes the day feelba whole lot better (and it already was a pleasant day).

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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