What Really Grinds My Gears: Mercedes' Missing Mats
So I get an email from my Mercedes dealer, one of those “throw a bunch of marketing stuff together and call it a newsletter” deals. Fair enough. Times are tough, even for the upmarket marque. And like many a pistonhead, I like to treat my vee hickle to something nice every now and then. Hmmm. Rubber floor mats. Mercedes-branded, tailored to my GL. As this will be the Guzzler’s first New England winter, yes, please! I know they’ll cost a fortune. But I don’t want to buy them from you-know-who and support Car and Driver more than I have to (which is not at all). And I’m too busy ethical to sleaze some for a review (which I would have to write). So I make the 25-minute trip to Inskip. The parts department’s Mercedes-branded product area is a mess. The shelves are mostly empty and thoroughly uninteresting. There’s a whole case of M-B caps—obscured by their plastic wrappers. The parts guy is on the phone. No eye contact. And I wait. And I wait. And I wonder why a car dealer can treat people like shit and neglect a potential profit center and then blame the economy for lousy business.
When it’s clear that nothing’s going to happen, I ask him if there’s someone else who can help me. He looks like I asked him to make me dinner. Another guy comes out, all smiles. “Mats for my GL, please.” He disappears into the back room. And I wait. And I wait.
“They’re not in stock,” he says, later that same day. “Give me your phone number.”
“Don’t you want my name?” I ask, looking at the scrap of paper in his hand.
“Just the phone number will do. I’ll call you when they’re in.”
Consider my gears finely ground.
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