Drama At The Dealership

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I usually get lunch while heading to work.

That is, I park in order to eat my drive-thru food so I don’t have to risk another French fry mishap while navigating around Aunt Sally’s Thunderbird. While I’m parked I take in any number of interactions occurring at a local auto dealership. Dealership drama can round off an interesting morning while en route to work.

Take last week; having gone through the drive-thru with part of my daily allotment of protein and fat, I found a good parking place across a busy street from a nearby car dealership. While I sat and ate, I witnessed several fascinating interactions between customers and sales reps. For convenience I’ve affixed fictitious names to the aforementioned. Harold (a sales rep) sees Madge peering through the window of a new SUV. Sensing opportunity, Harold swaggers outside, conveying self-assurance doubtlessly perfected from hours spent in front of a full length mirror. “I see you have your eye on one of our most popular models”, intones the rep who’s vying for the dealership’s Hawaiian vacation award. “Making this little truckster yours is only a piece of paper and a couple of phone calls away!”, intones the award-winning hopeful who smells just a little too strong of Aqua Velva. Madge, temporarily mesmerized by his fake Rolex, wavers for a moment before deciding to “ask my husband what he thinks.” Now deflateing just a hair slower than the Hindenburg, Harold slips his business card into her hand before slinking off in search of other prey.

Harvey, another sales rep with aspirations for spending a week in that tropical paradise, spots a fiftyish-appearing man. Deciding to celebrate his midlife crisis by window shopping for a Challenger, the one-time high school track star (now carrying his tummy over his belt buckle – I empathize) is approached by the contender for the Hawaiian crown. “Boy, I tell ya what. With these new retro babies you have yourself a car for folks of all ages”, plies the savvy salesman. Midlife Crisis chats for awhile about how he’d like to buy “such a great car,” but that he’s afraid to liquidate “certain assets” to get the ball rolling. He, too, is issued a business card. Harvey looks forlorn as Mr. Crisis sneaks out the far end of the lot in his prize asset – a badly rusting, smoke-belching 1986 Toyota pickup.

A third rep, whom I hadn’t seen due to focusing on the first two, strolls outside after espying her bonus-in-waiting. Betty, seeing that a young couple is interested in a new minivan, chats amiably for a moment with two young adults who look as young as they do poor. “Let’s see what our options are”, suggests the pert professional in all of her mascara-and-pantssuit glory. “I’m sure we can find several payment options. After all, we have something for almost everyone”, shares Betty with a now-fidgeting couple who have zerod-in on the word “almost”. Betty, smug in knowing that the word “unfortunately” can always be used to gently break bad news to prospective buyers with low income, strides off to her cubicle with Jason and Amber in tow. Moments later, the air is broken with “you must think you’re all that” followed by “and your coffee stinks!” Though I turned my ears every way I could to pick up on the conflict, all I could hear was “FICO score” issued from Betty as the couple followed the sidewalk back to their home.

I can’t afford a new car myself, but I always have a buck for a burger.

I can deal with that.