Paint the Sky with Cars

Story Sent in by Margaret:

All of the photos on Donald's profile were of him standing next to muscle cars with captions that claimed that he had done the paint jobs and detailing/restoration work himself. I was really impressed with his work and he was a gregarious guy, so we went out a few times. I drove an old blue Pontiac that was in need of some TLC. He offered to take it for a weekend and work on it for free. I thanked him and took him up on it.

On Sunday evening my doorbell rang. It was Donald. He brought me outside to where my car sat under a tarp. He grabbed the tarp and pulled it away to reveal his work.

He had spray-painted my car black. And oh my god, was it ugly.

"I painted your car!" he said with a wide grin.

"With spray-paint?"

"It's all I had. But I covered up all the scratches and fixed a bunch of the cracks."

Ugh. If only I could have easily undone his "work." It was awful and hideous. I guess that reaction was plain on my face because he said, "You don't like it? Do you know how long it took me to work on it? To get it done? And for free?"

I retorted, "You used spray-paint on a car. Are you out of your mind?"

"It needed a paint job! You know how much auto paint costs? I was doing this for free as a favor!"

"You could've told me you were using spray-paint! I wouldn't have let you do it!"

He said, "Fine! Be a stupid, ungrateful bitch," and then he left, leaving me with my once shiny car, now dull and quite possibly not street legal.

I ended up having to contact a body shop to undo Donald's paint job and I had to have my attorney draft him a letter threatening to sue in order to make him pay for it. The whole thing was a complete debacle and eventually worked out just fine. But ugh.


  1. Really? It worked out just fine? You got what you deserved giving your car to someone you didn't even know for the weekend to "work on for free". Threatening to sue so you could still get your free paint job....just.....wow. Guess is did all work out for you just fine.

  2. On the one hand....

    ...and on the other hand....

    I think it really comes down to the last part of this advice column. If something's irreplaceable, critical, does irreversible harm to life, then yeah, that person is an ass. If something was supposed to save you time or money, and it wasn't exactly what you wanted, then effing deal with it you little hothouse orchid. I'm Team Archie, here. A quick google doesn't show why an ugly paint job would cause your car to not be street legal. This was a large favor and a lot of work, and having it done by an admittedly inept person doesn't make it less work. Caveat emptor doesn't mean add to the pile of needlessly filed lawsuits.

  3. If he didn't mask the lights properly (not out of the question for someone spray-painting a car), he could have covered the lights/windows/plates enough to make the car not street legal.

  4. Plus, since she mentions that he did detailing/restoration work, and that her car needed some TLC, she may have only been expecting that he would detail her car when he took it, not attempt a new "paint job."

    1. When you give your car to a stranger and say "please do stuff to my car for free" I think you are lucky to get your car back at all.

    2. Obviously, that goes without saying, but you would hope that after going out a few times with someone, you might be able to get a better read on them. (Hope being the operative word...)

  5. One, she'd gone out with him several times already. Two, she didn't ASK for a paint job.. it was for "TLC", which does not have a "P" for "paint" in it. And three, he offered, she didn't ask. She has a right to be upset, as she would if he'd broken all her windows or something. Nobody uses spray paint on cars.


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