Nob Hill and sister Raley's and Bel Air markets offer free knife sharpening. Drop off up to three knives per visit at the meat counter and they're ready for pick up within 24 hours. I inquired about the service in Salinas and learned that the butchers sharpen the knives in-house.
Sounded safe to me, so I decided to try it with one of my mom's paring knives, a 4" Henckels. The lady in the meat department said she could do it right away if I wanted to wait. I did a little shopping and returned to pick up the knife, swathed in a cardboard scabbard and a lot of plastic wrap.
When I got it home and unwrapped it, I could help but SCREAM with shock just to look at it. The blade had been ground down significantly losing the original honed cutting edge. Now it has a chiseled edge bevel and the blade is much narrower than before. Wish I'd measured it before taking it in as this difference was immediately noticeable to me and my mother, who said, "what happened? it's so skinny!" Also, the point has been blunted and there's an ugly gash in the knife's bolster from the crude grinding. This was a hack job all the way around.
This fine knife is ruined. I'm glad I did a test run with a less expensive blade first. Live and learn.
Edited to add: This all happened on Monday, and my words are far more measured today than if I had posted then. Here's the photo of the damage -