I am a quirky guy, that’s as nice as I can put it. I have certain expectations out of life. In addition to the sun rising each day, I expect electronics to work. I expect passwords to be accepted 2 times in a row. And I expect people to have an acceptable level of intellect and courtesy. I have lofty standards in some categories, others I have come to accept that we’re now grading on a curve.
The areas that I have learned to look the other way in are how people dress in public, personal hygiene, manners, tolerance, acceptance, lack of respect for personal space, attention spans, lack of respect for elders and an abhorrent lack of knowledge in civics and history.
The areas that I continue to have lofty standards in are respectful discourse, eye contact, professionalism in the workplace and doing your job well. As a manager of large staffs in several fields, I know when a person is good at their job. When I encounter someone, ranging from a clerk at a 7-11, a food server to a bank teller, if they have an attitude problem I am severely tempted to tell them to just quit already and make room for someone who gives a fuck. See, that’s my minimum requirement in life…give a fuck.
As a former sales professional, I am highly critical of those in sales. Particularly automotive sales. I did it and was damn good at it. Thorough, courteous and knowledgeable, I knew how to take care of my customer. Consequently I expect the same type of experience every 5 years or so when I buy a car.
This week my Mom got the itch to get a new SUV. She has had hers 5 years and she never keeps one longer than 5 years. A local dealership sent a notice about a recall, she reviewed it and asked me if I would go with her when she dropped hers off, in case she saw something she likes.
We saw a very nice one in a funky blue exterior, black gut and loaded. We asked for a salesperson to show it to us. Quite the opposite of the usual experience of being hounded when you first walk in, they had to find someone to help us. We were introduced to a nice guy, about my age. As he attempted to start the car he found it to be dead. Considering that is was 11 degrees with 30 mph winds it wasn’t alarming. He escorted us inside, jumped it and joined us inside as it warmed up. In conversation, as we made small talk as the car warmed up, I tossed it out there that I have been in “the biz” for over 2 decades. This serves to put a guy on notice that there will be no shenanigans today. He was pickin’ up what I was throwin’ down.
We went out to the now warm car and he asked us to get in. My mom got in the driver seat and he began to attempt to wow her with the center console. The one that wasn’t working. He was a little flustered but we got past it. The Nav screen, audio display and bluetooth set up was down but I assured my mother that I knew what it looked like and it’s very impressive. The salesperson was grateful for my save, and we drove it. Long story short, she loved it.
We went inside and asked to see some numbers. As he made small talk and drew up a proposal I played with my phone. He may have thought I was on Facebook but I was going to be his worst nightmare. I was running market reports on her trade and regional cost analyses on the new vehicle to see what others are paying. I knew there was 12% markup in domestics and quietly showed my mother what I came up with. Surprisingly they only came up 1000 more total than I wanted to pay. We got what I wanted. Easy, great deal, nice people and a good experience overall. We agreed to pick it up Monday night.
Last night was as cold as Friday was. But the car was ready, had a new battery, clean and warm. With a still-broken center console screen. Oooops. SMH. My mother was annoyed, the salesperson was flustered. He screwed up and he knew it. I asked what they were going to do and he asked if we could bring it in the next day (today). I told my mom that I would drop her off at work, bring it for her and wait for the work to be completed.
I did this as planned, waited 3 hours for them to tell me that it needed a part that they didn’t have that needed to be ordered. I told the salesperson that my mother wasn’t happy. He didn’t say anything. Here’s where I got annoyed. I said, “Really, that’s your answer? Do I have to spell it out for you?” He didn’t know what I meant. “What are you going to do for her because we’re going to be getting a little survey soon asking how you did. Do you feel me?” Crickets.
Finally, I spelled it out for him. I want you to do something for her! By the time I was done we had a promise of the first service free, a loaner when I drop it off on Friday, a full recon and a full tank of gas. Of course I had to spell it out for him with crayons and colored construction paper.
It’s difficult holding people to your own standards. It’s even ok to not be that adept at catching the sarcasm. It’s another altogether to not recognize that someone needs something and you need to give it. As a consumer I deserve it and as a person I expect it. Unfortunately, common sense is a plant that doesn’t grow in everyone’s garden.
Since when is knowing your shit a liability?