Back when I was driving a lot to college during my undergrad tenure, I probably experienced more flat tires in those three and a half years than I did in my entire life outside of it.
And strangely enough, they almost always seemed to happen in close proximity to a tire shop. How fortunate, right?
I remember after getting out of my car and inspecting my fourth or fifth nail, a person walking on the street saw me looking at my wheel while shaking his head.
"Got another one."
'What's that?' I asked.
"I see them outside, tossing nails into the street. And he gestured to the tire shop about a hundred feet down the road.
I suspected that this man was telling me the absolute truth, even if I didn't have any proof of this skullduggery. But it makes total sense, kind of like that scene in American Hustle where Christian Bale was breaking windows as a kid to help his dad's business.
And now all of that distrust is coming back in full force after watching this viral TikTok where someone discovered a ton of rusty old screws and nails just chilling on the road outside of a local tire shop.
TikToker @louieiv uploaded a clip where he's cleaning up garbage on the side of the road. And what does he notice? An abnormal amount of tire puncturing materials is conveniently located near a Tires Plus store.
He writes in a text overlay: "Recently I've noticed a disturbing trend. Every morning I walk this road and pick up any debris. Lately, I found an abnormal amount of nails and screws."
He continues, "At first, I really didn’t think much of it. But, every day, there are more and more of them. They almost seem to be spread around evenly with most kicked to the curb by traffic. I only find them on one section of the road behind one store."
Near the end of the video, Louie then sets his camera on the Tires Plus shop, and there were throngs of commenters who weren't just quick to believe in the "nail and screw conspiracy" but supported it with their own anecdotes.
"About three different tire shops in my town were busted doing this and were shut down," one commenter wrote.
Another said, "I live near a tire shop and they used to spread them around the area knowing everyone comes to them first since we are rural," one commenter wrote.
Other people said that the only time they ever experienced flat or popped tires were almost directly outside of a tire repair shop store or when they're driving past them.
Different states and counties have different laws and fines for folks who are found guilty of throwing nails, screws, glass particles, or any sharp objects that could damage vehicle tires in a street. It's not just the economic implications for drivers that are harmful, but if someone experiences a blowout at high speeds, it could cause a crash and possibly result in fatalities.
So if you're a tire shop that does this, please don't.