By Anne McKee / guest columnist
The Meridian Star
Down-at-the-car- lot are five innocent words that can deliver a mighty punch.
The words, car lot, conjure up illusions, for some, of beauty and the beast. Of course, the beauty is the fine shinny ride and the beast is, well, you know, most people would say the car salesman.
I must stop here to announce -- folks working the business of selling cars, in my opinion and by my experience, are really fine people. They have children and grandchildren, pets, homes, friends, and worries, like everyone else. They are taxpayers. They support their churches, and most of them would give you the shirt off of their back, if you were in need.
However, their attributes do not stop all of the hype about their profession. How many times have you tuned into late night television and heard the prolific “used car salesman jokes?” Yes, there are too many of these zingers -- only thrown around for a laugh.
With all of that said, I would like to present some humor on the car lot, humor that really happened along the way during my never-a-dull-moment career, as I progressed from the side of finance to the dealership.
The Lost Teeth
A few years ago, as I sat in my business manager’s office located in the car dealership, there came along the most delightful, southern gentlemen. He chit/chatted, in the most charming manner, as he recalled many events of his life, seemingly, in order to entertain the staff and me with his big eyes, grins and smiles. When we had completed the sales documents and the customer (Fred, not his real name) had signed all required spaces, he invited me out to see his new car. He was so excited to show it off. His salesman was helping him unload the stuff out of the trunk of his trade when suddenly Fred yelped with glee, “Hey, loooook-a-there. It’s my teeth. I’ve been a-looking for them suckers for a couple of years!”
All I could say was “Yes sir, Mr. Fred. That’s a mighty lucky find for you!”
Mr. Fred left the dealership car lot with a grin the size of Texas and proudly displaying a toothy smile. We always loved a happy customer!
The Knife Toting Sister
With my position as the only woman in sales finance/management, and as part of a sales department team, I found that there were times of unusual duties assigned to me.
You will see this situation as I expound on the sisters who came a-car-shopping one day and with six children in tow.
For some reason this group beamed toward the most expensive vehicle in inventory. I’m not exactly sure what brought this confrontation, but before we knew it, one sister, plus the six wild kids, had locked them inside the high-dollar ride with the other sister, knife in hand, running all around the car.
As I sat in my office I was not aware of all of the commotion going on outside until the sales manager brought the sister with the knife to me, and suggested that I buy her a coke…
I said, “Coke, my foot, I’m call 911!”
Well, before the cops arrived, the sisters’ Paw arrived. He explained that the girls were having an ongoing argument (Duh!) and he thought he could coax sister number two out of the car…plus the kids, too, who by this time had bounced around the entire plushy leather interior. Not only that, but they had figured out how to start the flashers, the heated seats, the Bose Entertainment System, and gosh knows, what else?
So, the two sisters and Paw, plus the six little hyenas had a joyful, yet tearful, reunion, and we sent the vehicle down to the cleanup shop with instructions for the guys to use the “good stuff” for an abundant cleanup.
I have a twenty-two beamed down on you this very moment and I can blow you to smithereens!
Yep, this really happened!
It was my second day on the job at the dealership, when the receptionist stopped me as I passed by her desk, to ask if I could catch the telephone while she visited the ladies room.
She had not turned the lock on the bathroom door when the telephone rang and I answered in my most business-like voice.
“Good morning. How may I direct your call?”
The answer I received was not what I expected.
“I have a twenty-two beamed down on you this very moment and I can blow you to smithereens.”
Well, I glanced around the showroom at all of the large display windows and figured I was a dead duck --.perhaps even drawing my last breath. Unfortunately there was no one near me to offer advice.
I gulped, and asked, “Can you hold on a minute?”
The caller said in a rather pleasant voice, “Oh, sure.”
I ran lickety-split to one of the owners with my plight. I mean this was only my second day. How was I to know if this was an everyday occurrence?
The caller remained on the line and when the owner picked with, “How can we help you?” the following instructions were given.
“We want $300,000.00 in small bills.”
The address was given for a drop off. The owner explained that she would have to take this matter to her co-owners and it might take a few days. The caller was in agreement and hung up.
We immediately called the police and were advised this type call was going out all around town to business owners, especially the ones who advertised heavily with television ads, and was obviously some type of prank. The police were correct because we never heard from this would-be criminal again.
So, life goes on at the car lot, and not a dull moment in sight!
Anne McKee is a writer and storyteller. Visit her website: www.annemckee.net.