Steven’s been calling and texting me for days. He wants to know when I’m coming back to trade in my car and buy a new car from him. Trouble is, I don’t yet have a car to trade it. Remember? It’s broken…
I spent Monday and part of Tuesday scrambling to get my car fixed. My mechanic (Sam) sent it to the dealership because the part Sam needed to replace was warrantied and he didn’t want to charge me for it. While my car was at the dealership, the dealership manager was unceremoniously fired. This meant there was no one in charge at the dealership anymore. Hence, I became the manager for two days. And it took me one of those two days to get someone to answer the damn telephone.
When I got someone on the phone I immediately announced, “PLEASE DO NOT PUT ME ON HOLD AND PLEASE DO NOT HANG UP. I NEED TO KNOW WHERE MY CAR IS AND WHEN IT WILL BE FINISHED. PLEASE DO NOT HANG UP.”
The gentleman explained that my car needed a new fuel pump (covered under warranty) and a new fuel pump hose (not covered). “Why does it need a hose?” I asked.
“Because the last people to replace it broke it and it could cause a fire.”
“You were the last people to replace it.”
“Oh. Oh, well…no. No the other guy, uhh…Sam…probably removed it when he was trying to diagnose the problem last week. He used the wrong tool. So it’s broken. Fire hazard.”
“Then why wouldn’t Sam replace it? Why would I pay you to replace it?”
“I don’t even know if you can drive it back to Sam’s like this after I replace the fuel pump. Could catch on fire.”
“Yeah, no, I’ll take my chances. Replace the warrantied part and call me when it’s done.”
I called Sam. By this point it was late Monday afternoon and I had until Tuesday to buy my car, as Tuesday was the last day of the month and I was guarenteed the best deal.
“They said the fuel pump hose was busted?!” Sam asked me.
“Yeah. That you broke it.”
“Ok. I’ll go pick it up in the morning and take a look, but I’m guessing the dealership needed to make a little money off your warranty work.”
Sure enough, Sam picked up my car Tuesday morning and brought it into his shop Tuesday at lunch to ensure the hose was safe.
“Safe,” he called me and said.
“No fires,” he assured me.
So I called the babysitter, picked up Abe, and came home in my fixed up car to make dinner and clean my kitchen because I would NOT let Abe’s babysitter see the way we actually live…
On our way to the dealership, Bear and I talked about our approach. We want a white car. But they only have a gray car. We’ll settle for a gray car but only under the terms we set. And we won’t be swayed into something else. We are firmly planted in our decision.
We walked into the dealership like we owned the place, expecting Steven to be THRILLED to see us. After all, I’d texted him a few hours before to let him know when we’d be in. He texted back he was “excited to have us back.” But when we saw Steven, he seemed surprised. And not excited. Nervous. Shorter than he was before.
“Oh, hey guys,” he said. His eyes were darting around.
“Hey man,” Bear said and shook his hand.
“Hey, um, Alan is going to take care of you today, ok?”
Alan is also a car salesman. Alan is 18 feet tall and has been smoking since he was born. (Or he just shouted really loudly throughout the entirety of his 20s and 30s.) He started asking us questions; questions we’ve already answered a lot of times. Finally, I said, “Did you get a white car in?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Alan said.
“Then we want to see the gray one.”
Alan started telling me how these cars sell so fast and they’re the most popular trim package and this and that and I was like whatever Alan. I don’t even know you. I know Steven. And Steven wanted to make me a deal and you want to tell me how I’m trying to buy the most popular car hence I can’t be choosy or pay what I want to pay. You’re an asshole, Alan. I can tell.
Alan walked us all the way upstairs to the roof where we’d first been introduced to the car I intended to buy. And guess what?
It was gone. Sold.
“Well I told you this is the most popular trim package on these cars…”
See, Alan? You’re an asshole.
He walked us back downstairs where I explained to him that I never would have gotten a babysitter if I’d known the car we wanted wasn’t even here. First Alan said that Steven doesn’t really know the inventory that well because he “doesn’t go upstairs a lot” so that’s probably why he didn’t mention it when he told me he was “excited to have us back.” Then he said Steven needs to learn to “listen better.” Then he told us he had several of the exact car I want “in freight”, which means someday they’ll have more of them. What day? Oh. Some day. Maybe a few days or a week or late March.
We both nodded and left and got margaritas.
Steven called Bear today and told him that it wasn’t his fault because no one told him the gray one sold. He also said we never told him we wanted to buy the gray one. He also said it wasn’t his fault again.
So I have the same car. I have no idea when I’ll be replacing it. But I do know that I’m probably not going to invite Steven and Alan to my birthday party.