“4 SALE –1 Used Car Salesman”
What do you think of when you see a badly fitting plaid suit,
white shoes, argyle socks with high wader pants, slicked back hair
and the ever present “how are ya” handshake. The kind of guy
with the big smile on his face while talking louder than he needs too.
No, it’s not your Uncle Ernie. It’s one of those crafty used car
salesmen we just can’t get enough of. You know the type, the
kind that show up at your shop and give you that same old song
and dance routine… “I can send you a lot of business, why I
could single handily double your work load with the amount of
business I could send you.” Always looking for that cutthroat
deal and wanting you to bend a bit more so they can make another
buck on the sale. Oh, sure, just what I need … a bunch of used wrecks that you bought from the auction without a clue as to how or why the car ended up there in the first place, along with even less of an idea of what it “really” takes to repair them.
That brings back memories of a particular car I had the misfortune of getting involved with. There was this new car dealership (no longer in business by the way) that also had a used car division as part of their sales inventory.
Into the shop came the exact type of guy I just mentioned… I’ll call him “Max”… now Max, had just sold a little Pontiac to a gal, and low and behold… the A/C wasn’t cold… and poor Max was in desperate need of a quick fix to get this car back to the new owner.
He had the car over to me that same afternoon with that typical used car guy understanding that I would have it fixed by the time 5 o’clock rolled around and it was only going to take a few dollars out of his pocket and he didn’t have to mention a thing to his boss or to the dealership. He expected to show his boss that he was on top of it all and could handle any crisis without consulting anyone.
As usual, the conversation at the front counter centered around him and how he could influence sales and increase my business. Not like it’s the first time I’ve seen this dog and pony show out of some plaid suit. I’ve heard it before, I let them fill the air with all their promises while I ponder how long it’s going to take for me to get paid and how long it will be before he comes back to pick up the car.
Max, made his sales speech and did the usual salesman twenty or so handshakes while buttering up the conversation with “you’re the greatest, you’re going to be so busy with work from me, man, you’re the best I’ve ever known”. (and I haven’t done a thing yet…) All this before heading out the door and back to the car lot to sell the next car, but you know, he’ll more than likely be sitting in his office chair with his feet propped up while scratching is foot with a golf club and cussing to his buddy because I haven’t called yet.
I pulled the car into the bay… as I was about to turn the key off I figured it can’t hurt, why not to give the A/C a try. The A/C button lit up, the blower was on full blast and the temp dial was all the way to cold… hmmm, nothing but cool air came out of the vents. Ok, that I expected…of course it didn’t work, that’s what Max was here for… well, the next stop… under the hood.
Not thinking that there would be too much more to worry about I pulled the hood release and wheeled the recovery machine alongside the car…. I opened the hood.
Peering down into the engine bay I was in for a shock… … … oh, oh, what the @*#*???? Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing? The compressor was missing…gone…non-existent… not a sign of it… Wait, wait, so are the A/C lines, now hold on here… so is the condenser, the drier, all the wiring, the brackets and the pulley… no way… it can’t be… but, it sure looks like it… I’m afraid so… this car doesn’t have air conditioning; in fact it never had air. Even the holes in the firewall were missing. All this car had was a button on the dash that said “A/C”. Somebody must have changed the control head with one that was for a car that had A/C and good old Max fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Oh, this is going to be a fun phone call….
Poor Max, didn’t know what to think, and of course the first thing he wanted to know was what it was going to take to put a complete system in a car that never had air conditioning. I had to laugh, I couldn’t help it… Max is about to get the wakeup call of his life when he gets this estimate. I doubt his commission check is even going to come close to covering the cost of this screw up.
After the initial shock wore off, Max decided to try to find a cheaper alternative than installing a factory system. He decided to try one of those “aftermarket systems” at one of those “discount” repair shops.
The big issue wasn’t really the A/C, but more to the point, the new owner… who was furious with the way the deal was handled and she was going to have old Max’s hide and planned on doing some major complaining at the dealership if things didn’t get resolved.
The “add-on” air system was a complete flop… somehow, someway, the car ended up back at my shop to sort out the electrical issues with the aftermarket air system. The car couldn’t hold an idle with the air on, and this was a late enough model that the air conditioning idle was controlled by the ECM and IAC valve. I was willing to try to help Max out one more time, even though I knew it was probably a lost cause.
When I opened the hood to see this masterpiece of superlative engineering… I just let the hood drop… what a disaster… wires and tubing strewn thru the car … no concern as to where or what it was touching, let alone the way they had mounted the compressor. (They used a 2X4 wedge between the engine block and the compressor… looked like the shop couldn’t figure out how to keep the belt tight any other way.) You’ve got to be kidding me… there was no way I was even going to take even one more second of this plaid suit wearing extraordinaire used car selling–going to improve my business portfolio-cheap skate guy’s time or his all knowing expertise on how to “take care of” his customers cars. Because, this is NOT the way to do it… and one more fact Max… it ain’t happening here partner… time for you to head down that highway of lost and forgotten used car deals… and leave me out of it.
The last I heard was that the dealership took the ladies car back and ended up giving her a better model and one that actually had air conditioning. Max, well, as far as I know, he gave up the car sales business and is now working as a carnival side show barker. Sounds to me like Max has found his calling… cause he sure has the talent for the job.
Now I just have to wait for the next "Max" to show up at the shop... .