This is Not a Story about a Car Dealer

The following story is fiction, it did not happen. It is possible for this series of events to happen to a car dealer but highly unlikely. I know that in the country things just happen differently. The sense of urgency is gone, because they are aware that tomorrow will come independent of anything we accomplish today. Because the market is smaller, the professionals are not really competing as aggressively as those in the city, because small towns sometimes have difficulty attracting enough professionals to fit the need.

I decided to buy a new SUV. I found one I like and a part-time salesman drew up the paperwork and emailed it to me.  I don’t buy a car enough to totally understand the paperwork but over the years I have bought a dozen cars without seeing a lawyer to make sure I didn’t get totally taken advantage of. I had ordered a red SUV because I wanted to climb in it and pretend it was a fire truck. I’m pretty sure this is why any guy orders a red truck. My salesman called to tell me that the factory was out of red paint, would I take a black one. I did not want a black SUV because every time I saw one I thought it might be a police car so I would slow down. People who drive black SUVs annoy me. I did not want a white SUV for the same reason, and silver was too close to white. Gold, I want a gold SUV. Then I could pretend to be rich. Imagine driving an SUV made out of Gold! The salesman sent me forms to sign acknowledging I had been offered a black SUV. On part of the form I was to list my colour choice. I signed the forms, scanned them to my computer and sent them back to my salesman. The salesman sent the forms back telling me that I should sign the forms again because I had signed in the “Person requesting change” section when I should have signed in the “Person accepting change section.” I wondered why it made a difference but signed the forms properly and sent them back via email, apologizing and confirming that I would still receive the SUV on the date promised which was still 3 months away. The response back was puzzling: September is a busy month for car deliveries, the dealer is really busy but they’ll do their best. It has been a busy year for car sales and a lot are being delivered late. I asked the salesperson why they had suggested I ask for a September delivery. He replied that 4 months was the industry standard so he was just doing what he always did.

A month later I saw the salesman and asked how things were going. He replied that he was going to call me. The factory had forgotten to put a VIN tag on the car. The Dealer was working with them on it but the dealer was swamped and it would take some time but there was no way the car would come early. I phoned my sales guy two weeks later and asked if any progress was made on the VIN, he checked with the dealer and said that they needed to have factory executives sign some documents to VIN the SUV. Two weeks later I called again. I was told the dealer was having a hard time getting a hold of executives. The deal might not close on time. I spoke to my car broker about this. He cc’d me on an email he sent to the dealer. While we were sympathetic to their plight, our vehicle was old and would not be safe much longer, we would be incurring extra expense maintaining our car which we may try to recover from the dealer even if we did not take delivery of the gold SUV. Dreamgirl knew the factory’s Chief Financial Officer. They saw each other at a planning session for a Women in Business event they were both on the committee for. The CFO knew we had ordered a new SUV and asked if we had it yet. Dreamgirl delicately told her story. The CFO had trouble believing the dealer was having difficulty contacting the executives. She called Dreamgirl the next day and told her that the CFO, VP and CEO were on their way to the dealer’s office to sign the required documents.

Our sales guy called the next day. Have you noticed I have changed from writing first person singular “I” to first person plural “We”? I can be very accommodating, while Dreamgirl is definitely not a pushover. There comes a time when I unleash my secret weapon. We balance each other well. The VIN was ready but before it could be properly affixed to the car, it would have to be appraised by a bank for the Ministry of Transportation. The dealer has called in someone to appraise the car. Two weeks later, the dealer told he was still waiting on the appraisal. A week before the scheduled delivery date, I drove by the car lot and saw a guy standing beside my SUV with a clipboard. I stopped and asked if he was from the bank. He said he was, the appraiser had sent him out to make some notes about the SUV. The report should be ready by the end of the week. It looked I’d be getting my SUV on time after all.

Two days before delivery date I phoned my car broker. He told me he would have some papers to sign but he was still waiting for the dealer to send them.  The dealer still had to go to the Ministry of Transportation and register the car. I wouldn’t be getting my Gold SUV for 2 weeks. Two weeks later there was another delay. This time my broker just sent me and the dealer an email saying that I wouldn’t be able to take delivery for another 2 weeks.  I suspected that the broker was just making the point that we can delay delivery too.

A month after the original delivery date we were told we could pick up the keys to the SUV. Because it was the end of the business day, they would leave a key under the welcome mat. We drove to the dealer, I peered under the mat. There was an envelope with my name on it and, to avoid confusion “Golden Lincoln Navigator” with our license plate number listed. I laughed and drove my SUV home. I knew I was living in a small town.

Just to be clear: I do not drive a Lincoln Navigator. This is a fictional story, inspired by real events

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