The Washington Post

Editor’s Query: Tell us about a time when turnabout was fair play

My daughter and I went out to purchase a car for her. With her own money. After hours of looking at cars, we find one that’s just over $5,000, right in her range. We go into the sales office to sign the deal, and on the sales sheet is a $100 processing fee.

My dad radar goes crazy. I throw a fit! A $100 fee on a $5,000 car — that’s like a 2 percent tax. That’s outrageous. We won’t pay it!

The guy says: “It’s a $100 non-negotiable fee. Everyone pays it.”

I demand he take the fee off. He refuses. My daughter, exhausted and crying, begs me to just let it go. So we pay it. But every time I looked at her car, all I could see was that fee.

A week later, the salesman calls and says that they forgot to get me to sign an important paper, and that if I would come down to the dealership, they’d give me a tank of gas for my trouble.

That dealership is an hour each way from my house. I told the guy, “I’m not driving two hours to sign a piece of paper.”

He says, “Can we mail it to you?”

“Sure, mail me the form. There’s only one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“There’s a $100 processing fee for that form.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Everyone pays it.”

Sweetest moment ever.

Robert Hahn,


NEW QUERY: Tell us about a time when you realized age was just a number.

The Washington Post is partnering with the Public Insight Network (PIN) to hear more of your 100 percent true stories taken from your own experience. Submit your answer to the query above online at­query. By sharing your story, you become part of PIN — a network of more than 130,000 people who contribute to high-quality journalism. Editors will choose an entry to run in the Magazine, but we will also share more of your stories online. You can also submit to The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your daytime phone number. Recount your story in 250 words or fewer.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.