Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Square Peg - U Need a Nu Car

The Square Peg - U Need a Nu Car
© S. Bradley Stoner

I own my vehicle. Own it outright. Don’t owe a dime on it and haven’t for several years. For some reason, the car dealers think this is appalling. At first, they bombarded me with sales and trade-in values. I ignored them. I got letters. I got slick advertising cards... big ones with pretty pictures of the latest models on them. I got them from Ford. I got them from Chevrolet. I got them from Toyota and Mazda. I even got them from Kia and Nissan. All of them offering a “higher trade-in value” than its competitors. I recycled the letters. I recycled the advertising cards. I didn’t answer the robocalls. I am perfectly happy with my SUV. It’s a 2005 and, after ten years it still looks good and runs like a top. Besides, at a little over 100K miles, I figure it’s just broken in.

The dealerships have taken a new tack... now they “need” my car. It’s “in demand” and worth more than ever. Now the ads offer cash money if I’ll only drop by. They’ll knock $10,000.00 off my purchase of any new vehicle or they’ll buy my baby outright for “above Blue Book value.” Apparently they keep better records than the government. They even know the make, the year, and when I bought it... even the dealerships I never visited. Wow, that’s impressive. I’ll bet they figure the cost of that database into the price of every new car. They should list that along with the “dealer prep” (you know, unloading the vehicles from the truck and running them through a car-wash). They could call it “Dealer Tracking.” They could sell the info to the NSA. It’s pretty obvious they already sell it to their competitors.

Of course, I have come to realize that the car dealer business is pretty incestuous. One family here in San Antonio owns half or more of the dealerships. Another family owns close to the other half. The whole fam damily gets involved. They’re empires. Dad, Mom, Uncle Joe, Aunt Dianna, and all the kids. There’s three generations of them... and they’re using the fourth generation in the ads. I mean, who can resist an attractive young woman with a small child in her arms hawking the family business, right? It seems to be a trend... even the plumbing and heating companies are doing it, but having a couple of snot nosed boys telling you to call the Bongo Boys when you pipes are clogged or your AC is on the fritz falls just a little flat. Give ‘em an A for effort, though. I digress.

Just for the heck of it, I went on the Internet to see what these new vehicles are fetching cash-wise. As soon as the site comes up, so does a pop up... “Hi - I’m Shirley... Can I help you with anything?” It’s a damn chat box. Now, there’s a very attractive picture of Shirl in the upper left corner with a cute little headset and microphone, but I don’t do chat. I hit the little X in the right hand corner and send it to oblivion... I thought.

Anyway, I’m taking in the new models and choking on the prices before I go to the menu and choose “Quality Pre-owned Vehicles.” Now there’s a crap piece of double speak. Everything is “pre-owned;”  manufacturers owned it first, which is why they want to sell it to you. If the vehicle has more than 20 miles on it, it’s either a “demo” or it’s USED. If it has more than 140,000 miles... it’s really used and probably not worth the $22,500.00 they’re asking for it. I mean, they sure aren’t going to offer you anywhere near that when you trade your baby in. Sorry, got sidetracked. What I was aiming to say was, as soon as the “pre-owned” vehicle page popped up, another chat box appeared. This time Sheila... yep, another attractive female. “Can I help you?” Hit the X in the right hand corner again. They probably think I’m rude.

I got to thinking about those little chat boxes with the pretty, young women. I mean, I’ve been to a lot of car dealerships over the years and I don’t recall seeing more than one or two pretty, young saleswomen on the floor or the lot. Mostly the new car salespeople are young men in fake Italian suits with imitation leather shoes, trying to look urbane and cultured. Wolves in sheep’s clothing... just look at their eyes... the “lean and hungry look.” My apologies to Wil Shakespeare, but that just seemed to fit.

So where to they hide the pretty, young chattresses... whoa, I think I invented a new word. Book ripoff idea... Lady Chattress’ Lover, a modern romance filled with busty, lusty... oh never mind. Somebody probably did that already. Sigh... I don’t think I got enough sleep last night. Back to it. Maybe they hide them in a back room someplace to protect them... or is it us? I have visions of those naughty chat lines where the girls are all grandmothers just trying to make a buck in a bad economy... shudder. Hey, I saw that in a movie a while back. It could be true. How would you know?

After the fourth chat box appearance on the second web site, I gave it up. It’s probably a good thing, I was about to get obnoxious, and I’m really not that kind of person. I like to think of myself as a gentleman and I was about to do something very ungentlemanly simply because they wouldn’t quit bugging me. I mean, if I really wanted to talk to somebody, I’d give them a call or pay them a visit. I’m not much for disembodied chat boxes. Well, I guess that’s enough of a rant for today.

I’ll see ya... wait... my cell just buzzed. I got a text. Might be something important since I only text with my boys. Give me a sec... “U Need a Nu Car.” Are you freaking kidding me?!