I had company this weekend, so productivity was at a standstill. Mom needed a new car, and Boise is a better area to shop. That’s how it all started. My task was to take her and Dad shopping and help where I could.
Mom doesn’t shop like most people. Her goal was a purple SUV. According to the Internet, GM makes a few in that color. There just aren’t any in Idaho. We cruised the Chevrolet/GM/ whatever dealership, and there was an interesting vehicle. We elected to leave in favor of cruising the Toyota lot. My parents both know how I like Toyotas, and long term followers will remember helping Dad get a Toyota Tundra a couple of years ago. (Note for later: It has nice running boards.)
There were a better selection of Sequoias this time, but they don’t have anything in purple. I really liked a Champaign/gold one they had. The best deal was a loaner car they were selling. It was a red Lexus with 10,000 miles and a pretty good deal going with it.
Back to the GM lot to check out the earlier vehicle. It isn’t purple, the color is called Black Current. About six hours later, we drove it back to my place. It’s a Chevrolet Traverse, and is a pretty nice SUV.
I deal with sales people every day. I was in sales for ten years. I also write articles, and make public presentations. In that world, you have to know your audience. Probably good advice for a fiction author too, but I am my first audience.
It was absurd watching two young salesmen trying to sell my mother a car. One at the Toyota dealership, and one at the GM dealership. I made the mistake of telling the Toyota kid I liked the new orange color on the trucks. He pulled a new orange Tundra around to take us driving around the lot.
Here’s the deal. I’m not the customer here. This truck didn’t have running boards, and I had a hard time getting in it. My 86 year old father was with us, and he uses a cane. He managed to crawl inside, but I still don’t know how. He drove around, including the back lot, and told us about all the different SUV models. Then in desperation, he offered to drive the lot a second time so Mom could find a different color she liked.
The Chevrolet salesman was just as bad. He talked about all the USB ports, the OnStar system, the wifi hotspot, and the magnetic phone charger built in. Mom doesn’t own a smartphone, and doesn’t want one. She certainly doesn’t have one that would use magnetic charging. She doesn’t even like Sirius radio. She doesn’t want a computer console at all, but is willing to accept there aren’t any vehicles without one.
She bought the Traverse despite the salesman’s best efforts. They treated her well because her old SUV had TV monitors in the back of the headrests. Mom sewed covers to hide them, because she heard people break in and steal them. I didn’t even know they were there. They’ve never been used… ever.
Know your audience. Don’t make an 86 year old, with a cane, crawl four feet off the ground into a gigantic pickup. Don’t try to sell an elderly woman on all the high tech features in the car. She didn’t want magnetic phone charging and wifi. She wanted purple. I even pulled the salesman aside and told him this about half-way through his pitch. It was that embarrassing. He was a nice kid, he just needs to learn some things.
The upgrades guy was a pain in the ass. He pushed the ten year extended warranty so hard that Mom wound up buying a six year warranty just to shut him up. I know he makes money on these, and doesn’t care that they probably won’t be driving at all in ten years. Finally when he mentioned how many hundred computerized components the car had, and that they were guaranteed to break down, I told him, “That doesn’t speak well for Chevrolet products if you’re guaranteeing they will break down.” I even suggested we might be better suited with a different manufacturer. That toned him down, but not much.
They got on the road early this morning, and called when they got home. I wasn’t very productive, but it was nice to help them out where I could.
Today, I managed to read one short story. Two smelly bulldogs got baths too. That’s about it around here. Hope you guys were more productive.
Next weekend isn’t looking good either. I have Thanksgiving company coming, and have to bake until the wee hours on Wednesday.