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Tales from a small town

Short stories about life in a small town. Non-fiction. Great reading.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ode to Georgia Peach

"I told you that I worked at KIA dealership before. When I was up there, I could tell a lot the saleman were strictly about business. But a lot of them were STRESSED! I couldn't believe the amount of pressure some of them had on them. " - Georgia Peach

Yeah - it's something else. When you say there's pressure, you ain't joking.

I just had an experience

I sell a business owner a truck. Made good money off the sale - and he didn't get screwed either - we both won.

On the test drive, I tell him to romp on it; after all, I explained, you're paying alot of money for this, you better make sure you're getting everything you want.

"Oh, I won't be driving this into the ground - there's no need for me to break the speed limit on the test drive." (Famous last words.)

He signs the purchase agreement and takes delivery. His "banker-dude" calls and tells us he's good for the money, but the check won't be in until the middle of next week because "banker-dude" will be out of town till then, but, "...don't worry, your customer's good for the money."

My sales manager and the dealership finance manager start having a cow, because the check was supposed to be there no later than one week after delivery, and 10 days pass, and still no check. I wouldn't have a problem with them having a problem with that, but this business owner is holding out the golden carrot of me being the salesman to supply his new store's truck needs, if he likes this deal.

My sales manager is getting in my face: "Hey - it's been over a week, and we've got close to $20,000 worth of money that this guy is driving around for free, because you won't confront him about the money, because he's trying to sucker you into believing he's going to buy a whole bunch more vehicles off you. Let me ask you this, Mr. Hotshot salesman: if he can't come up with the cash for the first vehicle, why on earth do you think he's going to buy 3 more off you? What are you going to do about the money he owes us? I'm thinking of calling him myself!"

What I'm thinking is in hard brackets []

"Dave [fucker], I know you're pissed. You've got every right to be [you do] and I can see your point [fucker], but I want to believe this guy is going to open that new store, and I happen to feel that entreprenuers have special financial needs [they're either drop-dead broke or lottery-rich, and that changes from day-to-day] and if we show a little flexibility in addressing those needs at a time when he needs us the most, I'm thinking he'll be more likely to reciprocate, and use his money to buy our products." [Wishful thinking maybe; it sounds good on paper; maybe you're right - but I'm "all in" now, and I can't back down without looking like I've been had.]

"You know what this SOB's doing, don't you?"

"Stealing a truck?" I say dripping with sarcasm.

"No - he's waiting for something to go wrong with it, and he'll tell us that he's just going to drop the truck off, and forget the deal ever happened. This way, we either fix his truck for free, or you don't have a deal - get it? Now, do you think I should call him, or should I have the finance manager call him?"

"He's not doing that!" [Is he?]

Well, the manager was right. I get a call from the business owner: "Boris! Mr. Entreprenuer here. Hey, while I've got you on the phone, I noticed this wobble the truck gets at 75 mph and higher. When can you guys get my truck in, to get it fixed?"

"A wobble at 75 mph?"

"Yeah! Feels like the whole thing's gonna shake apart. That's without a load. Couldn't imagine what the damn thing would do with a bunch of steel in back, could you?"


"Hey, I don't have alot of time here, I need this done ASAP! When can you get me in?"

"Oh, yeah, getting you in here. Hey, while I've got you on the phone...funny how we were just talking about you. Look, the finance manager's about to have a cow, because your banker guy said the check would be here 3 days ago, and wouldn't you know, it's not here right now... no one's saying you're not good for it, because we know you are, but it would be really convenient for me, if you could have that stupid little check with you when you come in for service, so the finance manager doesn't have a stupid little cow worrying about it, you know? I mean, those bean counters, huh? They act like nervous old women, what can I say?"

"I'm leaving out of town tommorow at 10. I need to be scheduled no later than 8 AM tommorow morning, or I can't be there for a while, know what I mean?"

"Yeah - 8:AM tommorow. Let me put you on hold, call service, see if it's available, then I'll take you off hold and let you know."

"Let's just assume it is avaiable, and if it's not, give me a call back - otherwise, I'll see you tommorow at 8, OK?"

"Great! We'll get that wobble worked out, and I'll tell the finance manager he won't have to worry about the money, cause you'll be here with the check! That'll be super!"

I get up at 6:AM the next morning, bust ass to get to work by 8:AM, and there's Mr. Entreprenuer's truck, but one of his employees is driving it. [That can only mean one thing: the check ain't there!]

Me: "Hi there! I remember you from the shop. Where's Mr. Entreprenuer-man?"

"Oh, he had to leave town earlier than he originally thought. Is getting this wobble thing going to take long, because when Mr. Entreprenuer-man is gone, I'm the one in charge, so I don't want to leave the shop unattended too long."

"Oh, you know how it is! I'm sure you'll be in and out in no time. BTW, you wouldn't happen to have anything for me, would you?"

"The check? Oh, the check! Yeah, got it, right here."

[Fucker] "Whew! What a relief!"

"Yeah, I almost left it at the shop, wouldn't you know? Mr. Entreprenuer-man wants to know who'll pay for the diagnostic today."

"That's a great question. I don't know. Let me make a call."

I call the manager on his personal cell phone, given this is still before the dealership opens.

Me: "Got the check!" [Fucker]

"How much?"

"$16k, even."

"Where's the rest?"

"The rest?"

"Is there an echo in this connection? The rest! Where is it?"

"How much we talkin' about, here?"

"$571. Where is it?"


"Ask him where my fuckin' money is."

Me to my customer's employee: "Seems as though this is a little short. My manager was wondering why."

"Who's paying for the diagnostic?"

"Uh, I was thinking we could figure out the financials on what we've already delivered to you, if you don't mind. Was there a reason there's still a balance owed?"

My boss hearing what I'm saying, shouting over his end, so it can be heard through my phone: "This is fucking perfect!"

My customer's employee: "Let me talk to him."

[Oh, great!]

They start talking, I didn't quite understand what it involved, but they both seemed happy. Then I get the phone handed back to me.

My customer's employee: "Who's paying for the diagnostic?"

Me to my boss: "He wants to know...."

"I heard. You know I was right all along about this, don't you? [Fucker] Didn't I call this a mile away? Tell him if he needs a ride back to the shop, you'll give him one right now."

"Do you need a ride back?"

"Depends on how long it'll take."

My boss on the phone: "I heard. tell him it'll take a half hour for us to find out how long it'll take, and remind him he's free to take a loaner, to get back to the shop if he needs to leave at any time. You're getting his mind off a question that doesn't anything to do with his money, and you're getting him to think about something that directly involves him. Remember: people can only process one thing at a time - the only thing they'll process, is stuff that relates to themselves, personally. Go ahead and tell him."

What do you know, it worked! The money issue was never brought up again.

The truck? Looks as though it may be a bent drive-shaft. We're not sure, but so far, the service manager told me the sales manager is willing to eat whatever it takes to get it fixed. See what Mr. Entrepreneur-man did? He's holding back until he gets a bill for $0, and that way he can pay the balance for a truck that's completely whole.

I don't have a problem with that as long as Mr. Entreprenuer-man doesn't bad-mouth the dealership for bending over backwards for him. I don't know, because it's too early to tell, but if the business owner seems hesitant about buying more trucks off me because of a bent drive-shaft that only pops up at 70 mph and higher, I'm going to say, "You see a problem, but what I see, is a dealership that stands behind its deals no matter what. Isn't that what everyone wants? Doesn't that give you a peace of mind, knowing your money that you're spending will be supported by people who care?"

If that don't seal the deal on the additional trucks, nothing can!