By on March 9, 2017

1990 Infiniti Q45 Down On the Junkyard, Image: © Murilee Martin

It was a six-figure mistake that just boiled down to this: Steve wasn’t reading the book correctly. Now we were all going to pay.

I gunned my red-and-black ’86 Ninja 600 up the final hill on the road to the Infiniti dealer where I was the lowest salesman on the proverbial totem pole, briefly touching redline in third then clamping the soggy brakes down hard for the left turn into the back lot. It was a Saturday morning in the spring of 1994, and despite my best Tom-Cruise-in-Top Gun impression on the way there, I was already 10-minutes late for work. Normally this wouldn’t matter much; our sales staff tended to filter in by dribs and drabs between 8:00 a.m. and the sales meeting at 8:30, which rarely started on time anyway.

This Saturday was different. The general manager for our (pathetic little) dealership group was in town, and he’d demanded everybody arrive by 8:00 for an emergency meeting. I was going to be the last man into the basement conference room, which meant that I stood a good chance of going back home that morning without a job. The Ninja squeaked to an uneasy halt and dieseled for a petulant half-second after I killed the ignition. Struggling to get my shirt’s top button closed and my tie pulled up to match, I ran towards the door, hobbling a bit because the sole on my right shoe had worn through to the sock some time in the previous week. In every sense you could think of, I was on the bubble: flat broke, still below the monthly draw after 17 days, starting to develop the panicky tic that betrays the poor fellow who needs your business too much to excite anything but your contempt.

There was a general nervous titter as I burst through the door, breathing hard, and darted towards the only open seat in the room. It was empty because it was directly in front of the general manager. “As I was saying,” he spat, giving me a look that seemed to indicate that today was my last day in the near-luxury sales business, “you’ve all really screwed the pooch here. I’d like to fire every one of you. None of you would make it a week on a real car lot. But since God looks after fools and morons, you’re all getting another chance. And we’re gonna spend some real money to turn all of you losers … into winners.”

It’s about Steve and the book, I realized. Some time in 1993, the dealership had hired a new sales manager, a middle-aged man who looked like the creepy guy in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. He’d been a rising star in the boat-sales business; as I understood it, the dealer principal had met him while shopping for a new Bayliner or some other hick-trash conveyance like that, said meeting coinciding with a complete loss of faith on said principal’s part regarding his existing sales staff. Steve hired an all-new staff featuring a few attractive women of a certain age and a bunch of over-tanned, under-employed country-club tennis-rat dudes. Steve’s idea was that salesmen should look like the customers.

I’d met Steve and his crew when I accompanied my father to the dealership in the fall of that year. Dad had an absolute beater of a four-year-old Lexus ES250. It had 125,000 miles on the clock and a junkyard short-block under the hood thanks to the old man’s decision to maintain a home in Ohio and a condo in Florida. I’d prepared Dad for the beating he was going to take, but to our amazement Steve offered him KBB retail for the thing. We couldn’t make the deal fast enough. Three weeks later, we returned with my stepmother’s 1992 Audi 100LS, a crapwagon of immense proportions that had spent a third of its life in the service bay. We were so underwater on the thing that Steve’s high-book number still didn’t bring us to equity, but you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth just because you’re saddle-sore. We were now a two-Infiniti family.

“If these people are leasing new cars for $399 a month and getting everybody out of their trade,” Dad opined, “then you should go work there, because I think that even you could succeed in conditions like that.” I took his advice. Steve took a shine to me; I was fresh meat with no preconceptions about the business. I could quote Chaucer and dish all the dirt on the town’s upper-class personalities. I was tailor-made to sell high-ticket items to diffident millionaires. This has nothing to with the actual business of an Infiniti dealer, which was knocking shit out the door at the lowest lease price possible before the mark remembered there was a Lexus store two miles away. But it was a nice idea and Steve was very kind to me as I struggled to earn a $1,000 a month in a compensation scheme that not even my years as a VAX operator at university equipped me to understand.

A few months passed and our used-car inventory swelled to outrageous proportions. We couldn’t sell them for the money we had in them. Most of the time, we couldn’t even sell them at a loss. The used cars filled the front lot. Then they filled the back. Then we made a deal with the hotel next to the dealership to use their parking. That’s when the general manager arrived for the first time. And that’s when I found out Steve had been reading from the wrong column in the KBB auto book. Apparently it wasn’t set up like the boat book. He’d been paying high retail for dozens of cars. We were hundreds of thousands of dollars upside-down.

Now it was time to pay the piper. The general manager, a heavy-set 50-ish dude with a white moustache and a double-breasted suit, was breathing fire. “You dipshits … ” he was saying, ” … you dipshits can’t sell unless we flood the lot with suckers. So … ” and he took a breath, because his face was red and his chest was heaving, ” … we’re gonna flood this lot. Bobby, tell ’em.”

Like me, Bobby was a recent college graduate. Unlike me, Bobby was handsome, confident, and wrapped in a brand-new suit. He smiled at all of us and the pity crinkled his eyes. “We’ve engaged in a targeted, wide-spectrum radio buy,” he purred. “For the same cost of putting ads on just one radio station,” and here he named the only station in town that had any listeners besides the deranged, the desperate, the elderly, and the incarcerated, ” — we’ve bought spots on six radio stations,” and he named the radio stations that catered to all of the above. Three of them were AM. One of them didn’t have a signal that reached past the south-side ghetto. One of them, I was pretty sure, had gone out of business the previous year.

“We’ve crafted a hard-hitting radio campaign to get people OUT of their cars and INTO your pre-owned selection,” Bobby said, and here he nodded slightly to the general manager. They were both men of business, worldly-wise fellows who had been unpleasantly tasked by Fate to lecture three recent divorcees, four leathery coke addicts, and a Ninja-riding lit major who had a catsup stain on his pre-owned (by Dad) Yves Saint Laurent tie, but would nevertheless proceed with assurance and celerity towards an inevitable success. “Let’s listen to these spots, and I tell you, ladies and gentlemen — prepare to be amazed!” For a reason that I could not understand then or now, Bobby dimmed the lights. Then he pressed play on a boombox.

“YEEEEEE-HAW!” a voice screamed, all Deliverance nightmare enunciation and corn-pone comedy. “THEY SHORE ARE SELLIN’ EM CHEAP AT THE INFINITI DEALER! THEY GOT USED CARS SO CHEAP YOU CAN’T BELIEVE IT!”

“What my friend is trying to say,” an obviously fake British accent interjected, more Cockney than noble, “is that the excellent chaps at the Infiniti dealer have an outstanding selection of the finest pre-owned vehicles in this area.”

“YOU BETCHA!” the hick screamed. “AND THEY ARE CHEEEEEEEEEEEEE-EEEEE-EEEEP!”

“Ahem,” the vague-BBC voice corrected, “I believe what he is telling is that they are more than competitively priced.”

The spot continued in that vein for an interminable 23 further seconds. Then we heard a 15-second variant, which managed to preserve the spirit of the thing, and a one-minute extended remix, which would have been suitable for use at Abu Ghraib a decade later. Bobby brought the lights back up. “WELL IS THAT GREAT OR WHAT?” he asked.

There was dead silence in the room. The middle-aged women stared open-mouthed at their purses. I kept my face fixed in an absolutely blank expression and started at the general manager’s forehead the way I’d been taught in my career-counseling session back at Miami. Behind me, one of the tennis pros was temporarily shocked out of his post-party morning coma long enough to choke out, in a low but audible drawl, “Fuck. Me. Running.”

The general manager looked at us. Looked at Bobby. “Well, I think it’s great, and I know everybody here agrees. Thank you, Bobby. You’ve done a great job.” Then he turned back to face our dispirited crew. “Now you dipshits listen up. We are running this campaign starting THURSDAY for the big sale event on SATURDAY. You be here, and you be ready to sell. And you,” he snarled, pointing his index finger in my face, “be on time for once.”

On Thursday and Friday, the Muzak in the dealership was replaced by one of the AM stations. Every 10 minutes, they played the 30-second spot. I came to know it as well as I knew the cadence of Page’s solos in Zep III. Six times an hour, the fake hick and the fake British guy told people to come to the dealership on Saturday morning for the used-car sale to end all used-car sales.

That Saturday morning I was on time, behind the wheel of my Fox in the dark-sky drizzle that seemed to portend utter doom for the six of us who hadn’t quit in the previous week. I took a drink of water from the fountain and pressed my right foot down hard to seat the duct tape that I’d placed over the hole in the shoe. At 8:05 the dealership lot was empty. The same was true an hour later. And an hour after that.

Around 1:30 p.m., a couple came in with an Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight. Steve offered them low black book. They left in a huff. Shortly afterwards, one of our MILFs leased a J30 to someone with no trade. Then a tennis pro had a be-back on a G20 who actually bought the thing with cash. Then it was 6:00 p.m. and time to wrap it up. On my way out to the lot, I came face to face with Steve. He’d been crying.

“How was I supposed to know?” he asked me. What did he mean by that? I never found out, because I slipped past him and out the door to another night of Kraft mac and cheese. On the way home, I turned the radio to Sunny 95, the only station with any employed middle-class listener base whatsoever.

“It’s a week to remember — with great prices on new cars at Lexus of Columbus,” the pleasant, cheerful female announcer said. I switched the radio off. It was raining faster than my worn-out wiper blades could handle. The duct tape on my wet shoe slipped off and hit the carpeted floor of the Fox with a light slapping noise. In the seat next to me was last month’s Blue Book, swiped by me out of Steve’s desk earlier in the day for a car-flipping friend who had requested it. At the next light I opened it up. All the prices except “Low trade” had been carefully blacked out with a Sharpie. I felt like I’d earned the right to laugh.

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96 Comments on “Tales From The Dealership: Raised On Radio...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    Yet more reasons I’m glad I never seriously entertained the offer I was given back in the day to work at the local Ford/Honda dealership in Clarksville, TN. I love cars. The business of cars…not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Amen. I lasted a week at a small Ford store in a low income section of town off the beaten path. Could I have done it at a higher volume store where there was more traffic? Maybe.I realized that I’m not a salesmen and that selling things was not for me.

      It did give me insight into car buying though and they did fix the radio problem I was having with my 01 Focus properly. The higher volume store I bought it from was just going to slap a radio in it. This place diagnosed the antenna lead as corroded.

  • avatar

    Great story…it reminded me of when I sold cars. They would wait for me to stumble in from a night of drinking to get the sales meeting started. The fact that it was on the second floor and I had to carefully navigate down the stairs afterwards was not my favourite part of the morning.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Good piece—sounds like the Glengarry Glen Ross version of the auto sales business, and reminds me of my stint at a Dodge/Jeep/Eagle store in Baltimore from ’93-’95. Thankfully, I moved on to better things as did Jack.

  • avatar
    snoproblem

    Yeesh. Can douche-chills cause permanent harm?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    There are 6 new car dealers in this county of 75000 people that I live in.

    I sometimes wonder which one is the best run and most profitable and which one the least – and how much difference there really is between the best and worst.

    • 0 avatar
      tommytipover

      Absolutely no difference. All these dealer principles/general managers have hatched from the same reptilian nest.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        As my retired-cop dad would say about a lot of people “they’re all crooks”

        • 0 avatar
          TCragg

          As I read the comment before reading the name, I thought, “That sounds just like my dad.” Car salesmen would definitely have qualified under his “crooks” definition, which included lawyers, salespeople, financial advisers, Canada Revenue Agency, or pretty well anyone who could ever have their hands on one’s money.

  • avatar
    pdieten

    Now I’m just going to wait to find out whether you quit or got fired before you went to work at the Ford dealer.

  • avatar
    2001 - ahondaodyssey

    I may have been employed by a small Buick/GMC dealer. Your tales of Infinity remind me exactly of it. The new car manager ordered way to many 2017 Lacrosse’s (great car, but no one will buy it). He said to me that we had a 3 year supply of the damn things, as he had his 7th Marlboro of the day.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Reminds me of when I bought my ’15 GLI. The local VW dealership had 25 – count ’em, 25 – all hard loaded, and all with the 6-speed manual.

      I pointed this out to the salesman when negotiating the deal, and he tried to argue manual GLIs were so incredibly popular that they needed to keep levels up. (By comparison, they had three DSG GLIs in stock.)

      “Funny, because the one we’re dealing on has been in your inventory for at least six months… Admit it, someone hit the wrong key on the order, and it’s in your best interests to get rid of this one for a ridiculously low price.” Which they ultimately did, grudgingly.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, it appears Steve received neither the Cadillac nor the knives…

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I could read stories like this all day, every day. I know you have a million of them (any sales or retail job generates stories like this). Keep em coming.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Indeed. We need a car dealership “Kitchen Confidential” (the concept of which I’m sure makes JB dry heave)

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Yep, that’s why I miss Steve Lang’s contributions. Great insight from that guy on the auction/used car side. But Jack and MBark have experience with working at dealers, so it’s the next best thing. Too bad MBark left though.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Great story. Reminded me of the 2013 This American Life episode all about a desperate Jeep/Chrysler/Dodge/Ram dealership trying to sell 129 cars in a month:

    bit.ly/2ln55pO

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Lemee guess, do they also own an FCA franchise?

  • avatar
    JMII

    I was in a very similar meeting back when I worked in the travel business. Several months later the entire company was done in by the Chapter 11 court system. Seems the board of directors had outsourced all our advertising and marketing to some over priced, fancy suit wearing, Madison avenue company that didn’t understand our client base or our business model at all. Their ads were terrible to put in lightly. They were so bad we faced a lawsuit because this pathetic re-branding attempt copied from another company. At the time our CEO had very specific guidelines regarding how we positioned our moderately upscale (and so far very successful) product and these new ads basically broke every one of these rules. It was sad to watch all our hard work go down the drain because nobody had the balls to stand up in that meeting and exclaim the emperor had no clothes. Instead everyone congratulated the team on how awesome the ads were, just to save face and avoid being fired on the spot – then went back to their cubicles to cry. Slowly some people left deploying their golden parachutes, while others were fired for not falling inline with our new image. Personally I did as little as possible in attempts to distance myself from these terrible decisions. Luckily I was fired while severance money was still available, those that kept working (and smiling) thru it all lost everything when courts shut the whole operation down.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Advertising is the biggest scam in business. I’ve been in that same room where some ‘guru’ comes in with half-baked crap and everyone who should say it’s crap stands up and claps like a trained seal – pathetic.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        exactly. some of the best companies in the business

        are family owned

        know and keep the culture intact

        dont expand too quickly

        keep the same “formula” thats made them successful

        advertise by word of mouth only

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Glad you got out of that business. Reminds me of my experience in the hotel business, which I was very happy to leave.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Mother I’d Like to Friend.

    Over and over and over again.

  • avatar

    I think it has something to do with the military, like MILSPEC.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Men
    Imagining they are
    Like
    Females

    You know. people like you.

    • 0 avatar
      April S

      Better than

      Someone
      Who
      Thinks
      They
      Can
      Write

      P.S. Good to know one of the contributors here is an outright Transphobe. It makes me wonder if you had an “encounter” with a transwomen.

      We know your type. You hate what you want so much.

      • 0 avatar
        Hydromatic

        Don’t you think you’re being a bit out of line here? That comment alone is worth tossing down the memory hole. Besides, I like my articles and my comments without the holier-than-thou Social Justice Warrior bits.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m a little unclear on things, not having purchased a program. Why the need for “transwoman” if they are genuinely women? Why the need to distinguish them from women with congenital vaginas? Also, if gender has nothing to do with genitals, why do at least some trans folks feel the need for surgical realignment?

        Finally, can you explain the Craigslist ad from the FTM transman looking to have genital intercourse with cis men but insists on “don’t make me act like your girl”? Does that make the person a gay transman? Isn’t it kind of reducing one’s chances if one is looking to have sex with a man who wants to pretend to have sex with another man but is really having sex with a biological woman?

        I understand that there are many truly baffling things in this universe, Horatio, but some of this stuff is just plain confusing.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          To me it is more a medical term but since we tend to be assaulted and murdered due to our biological history we are forced to develop them. As if we need to “warn” people. In a perfect world we shouldn’t need to disclose to anyone.

          As far as the MTF personal ad, I really wouldn’t know, I guess to each their own. Plus I do not read the “casual encounters” part of Craigslist. It’s pretty sad and tacky.

          I’m more a fan of the car+trucks for sale listings anyway.

        • 0 avatar

          “I really wouldn’t know. I don’t read “casual encounters” part of Craigslist.”

          How, then, did you know that it was listed under Casual Encounters?

          “tend to be assaulted and murdered ”

          Spare us the melodrama.

          “we shouldn’t need to disclose to anyone.”

          Not even potential sex partners?

          From the statistics I’ve seen, the vast majority of transgender folks who are murdered, are killed by transgender folks, themselves. That cohort has an extremely high suicide rate, with or without transitioning.

        • 0 avatar
          sirwired

          Really Ronnie? I’ve been a guy since day 1, but I can puzzle out answers to this without too much thought.

          “Why the need for “transwoman” if they are genuinely women? Why the need to distinguish them from women with congenital vaginas?”

          Well, for starters, while I imagine most trans folk don’t use the term much, there’s no need for them to erase their pasts, since it doesn’t disappear. (And from a medical standpoint, the term is useful.)

          “Also, if gender has nothing to do with genitals, why do at least some trans folks feel the need for surgical realignment?”

          Gender may be a biologically-linked social construct, but if one wants to actually have intercourse with the desired sex, having the appropriate plumbing is kind of valuable. That’s like asking why a man might want to take Viagra, even if he’s married to a committed partner. Trans people (and their partners) want to get laid just like the rest of us. They usually aren’t going through the difficult, expensive, and painful process of having their genitalia worked on solely to make a political statement.

          “Finally, can you explain the Craigslist ad from the FTM transman looking to have genital intercourse with cis men but insists on “don’t make me act like your girl”? Does that make the person a gay transman? Isn’t it kind of reducing one’s chances if one is looking to have sex with a man who wants to pretend to have sex with another man but is really having sex with a biological woman?”

          Is the idea that somebody can be both trans (which is an expression of gender) and gay (which is an expression of sexual preference) really that confusing to you? Yes, the number of potential partners isn’t that high, but hey, the ad’s honest! Perhaps the person is looking for somebody that will be the right fit, instead of as many potential partners as possible.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            I’m sorry, maybe you guys can redirect me, I was looking for https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com ?

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Baruth

          The issue here isn’t transphobia or whatever you want to call it.

          It’s trolling.

          This April character pretends to be whatever causes the most drama at a given moment. Just a few months ago, April was claiming to have been born a woman. Now April claims to be a transwoman. Next month April will say that xe was born a woman and is transitioning male.

          For the record, while I ran TTAC I hired an actual transgender person who was having actual problems and struggles related to their choice. I have all the sympathy in the world for real people and zero for Comic Book Guys pretending to be whatever lets them troll hardest.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “April” is a crusader for women kind, but has never heard that derogatory term before??

          As if “April” couldn’t look it up in 0.45 seconds, but Sheesh you guys are slow today!

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          @Ronnie Schreiber

          “tend to be assaulted and murdered ”

          “Spare us the melodrama.”

          I don’t know, so far there have been seven murders of Transwomen in 2017. In the meantime several states are trying to demonize us by passing laws so we can’t use a freaking public restroom.

          Mock us all you will but we are literally under attack.

          P.S. Last Monday some coward came by and shot (IIRC 13 times) the windows of our local LGBT center. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.

        • 0 avatar
          afedaken

          Sometimes I just don’t get this place.

          Disclosure that VW is cheating on emissions = Good.
          Disclosure that a post is Sponsored = Good.
          Disclosure within the realm of possible sexual encounters that the docking ports have been modified = Bad?

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Two of these have to do with the subject of this site. One of them does not. I’ll leave it to the B&B to decide which. ;)

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @Ronnie:
          A trans kid at my daughter’s school was beaten up by a bunch of students a few weeks ago. My daughter is the president of her school’s LGBT group and this is a common occurrence with gay, lesbian and trans kids.

          I agree, this is confusing for those of us who aren’t experiencing it – and that comes from someone who has a lesbian daughter – but dismissing this as “melodrama” is insensitive, to put it mildly. I doubt those kids or their parents found it even remotely melodramatic.

      • 0 avatar
        Ihatejalops

        @April

        Hate to get involved, but I’m always curious and would like clarification…

        1. If a man becomes a “woman”, how can he claim to really be full female when he’s unable to go through a menstrul cycle nor get pregnant as these a biologically and scientific functions of a female? He also must take medicine to destroy the excess testosterone he’s producing whereas women do not need to do this. How can you be in solace with women when you’ve gone through zero of what my sister has.

        2. If a man become a “woman”, does he change his sexual preference? That is do you still have sex with women? The implications is that homosexuality is now a choice and not simply biological. Or are you still heterosexual?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @Ihatejalops
          I’ll preface this by saying I have a gay kid who’s president of her school’s LGBT group, so I know what I know through her. I’ve met some of the kids in her group that identify this way.

          It has to do with how someone “identifies” gender-wise. Some folks can be born with the genitalia of one gender and “feel” like a member of another sex. It’s the hoary old “man born in a woman’s body” line. As far as not being able to procreate after sex reassignment surgery is concerned…well, a woman is still a woman after menopause and a man is still a man after a vasectomy.

          The question of what gender or sex you’re more attracted to is about your sexual orientation. A man who has sex reassignment surgery to become a female can be attracted to other females too, and vice versa. Trans folks can be bisexual as well. Your “junk” doesn’t have much to do with it. April’s going to be attracted to whoever she’s attracted to.

          It may be strange to you (and even with a gay kid, it took me a while to wrap my head around it), but it’s a real thing, and given the insane amount of discrimination these folks face, I doubt they’d wish it on themselves. Most of the time, all they want is a) a place to take a p*ss in peace, and b) to be left the hell alone.

          Hope that helps.

        • 0 avatar
          Ihatejalops

          @freedmike

          “It has to do with how someone “identifies” gender-wise”

          Science says that you can’t just “change” your gender. If you were arguing global warming, you’d say that science is “settled”, this cannot be different. How you “identify” is a crock of ship; you can’t do that with race, you can’t do it with gender and your gender is settled. A man cannot have a child or menstrual cycle, he is not a woman plain and simple. To go through that monthly exercise is a big proponent of being a woman.

          “Some folks can be born with the genitalia of one gender and “feel” like a member of another sex.” Yes, we call those people anomalies and aren’t doing what “normal” transgender people are doing.

          “The question of what gender or sex you’re more attracted to is about your sexual orientation. ” Bull. I don’t know any gay men that enjoy sleeping with women. Gay is gay you like your SAME sex. It’s not strange as being gay is now a choice, you down with that?

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @Ihatejalops

          People can identify themselves sexually any way they want, far as I’m concerned, as long as they’re inventing with another person who can consent. It has more to do with their emotions and less to do with their biology. Of course, you can’t “make a woman into a man” 100% biologically, or vice versa, but you can bring the biology more in line with what they feel is a better gender for them. Kind of a drastic choice, but it’s their bod.

          I know it’s odd to you and me, and it’s hard to understand because we have no frame of reference on this kind of thing, but it’s how they are. So, I say, let ’em live their lives in a way that makes them happy. In the end, it’s no skin off my nose.

          That’s about as good as answer as I can give based on what I know.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          FreedMike, you hit the nail on the head. Gender and orientation are two separate things and we have to work with what we got.

          I fall in love with their heart and not their plumbing.

      • 0 avatar
        operagost

        “I don’t know, so far there have been seven murders of Transwomen in 2017.”

        And these were hate crimes because you say so?
        Or maybe they were murdered for other reasons?

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      ABORT

      Bad idea, kill it with fire, nuke it from orbit

      I want to keep reading your articles here, don’t shoot yuorself in the foot like this.

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville

      @JB. This is out of line. Hopefully MS has balls to censor you. Yet your pieces get the responses they do, so my hopes aren’t high.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Censor me why? For calling out an Internet troll whose sole purpose is to cause trouble on this site?

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Troll or not, April merely asked a question. I can guarantee that a significant amount of the population does not know the term MILF.

          Your response was ‘over the top’ in regards to April’s initial comment.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Arthur,
          Therein lies April’s mastery of the art of being a troll. I sincerely doubt it was an innocent question.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “For calling out an Internet troll whose sole purpose is to cause trouble…”

          Come, now, Jack…you knew what this particular poster’s reaction would be to your comment, particularly if you were acquainted with someone who’s trans. Physician, heal thyself.

        • 0 avatar
          silentsod

          Arthur, forgetting someone’s history and patterns of action to declaim that in one instance they are being earnest is specious. The onus is on them, not on everyone who doesn’t believe them (ref: Boy Who Cried Wolf).

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I don’t know all of the history between you and April.

          But in this conversation, your response, not her question, was the troll. Whether or not you meant it that way, it came across as transphobic.

          I would also point out that the statements “I was born a woman” and “I am a trans woman” are not inconsistent if the first is referring to gender identity.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Life is too short for me to really care that much, but I do call a spade a spade, and Baruth is right in this case.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I’ll just call them both out for trolling if it seems fairer, 28.

          But I don’t notice anyone named “April” on the masthead.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          There are a number of thinly-disguised trolls on this website. Folks who regularly comment to deride someones choice of vehicles, a particular brand of vehicle, a commentor’s lifestyle/choices/opinions et al for no other reason than to “flame-ON!” to be noticed and honored with commentary themselves. These trollers, ensconced in the safety of their basement lairs, could easily make the choice to mouse past “offensive” words/phrases which usually are not related to the point of an article. But, NO. These folks break out their teeny magnifiers and deeply search for any thing that could possibly trigger some sort of rage that allows them the freedom to troll. Geeze. Some of you folks hotly commenting here just need to get a grip and, if necessary, give up and go to AutoWeek or some other mainstream site.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          Mr. Baruth, all I did was ask a question (I did not know what a MILF was-there are way too many acromyms to keep track of) and for some reason you felt the need to fling a personal insult. I really do not know why you have such animosity toward people who happen to be Trans but I figured with you being a self-described genius you would “get it” and understand. I guess I was wrong. Anyway, I’m sure with your clout around here the powers that be will overlook it.

          If you have an issue about something I wrote why not show some class and stick to that. There is no reason to literally hit below the belt.

          P.S. You know your status here seems to give a green light for others to pile on.

    • 0 avatar
      smartascii

      Jack has told us, at some point or another, that he is intelligent, at least as defined by an unspecified test, which produced an unspecified number, which in turn proves him to be unarguably bright. And while he’s told us many things like this regarding his experiences, possessions, and conquests whose provenance and facticity are dubious and seem to provide more evidence for his insecurity than his success, let’s go with it.

      Jack’s smart. It must be true, because he bought, not one, but two VW Phaetons. So.

      Jack, maybe you can define intelligence for us. It seems not to include the ability to acquire and apply new information about things that you, yourself, do not directly experience. It does not seem to include the capacity for empathy. It does not seem to include an accurate understanding of your own relative societal value, or the relative value of your thoughts and actions. It does not seem to inform you about the advisability of being a bully. So, Jack. What’s intelligence? Because right now, you look dumb.

      • 0 avatar
        Jim K

        Looks like we have another troll and SJW. Jack was trolled by someone looking for a specific response. Pretended to not know what MILF means? Give me a break. My 85 yo mother knows what MILF means.

        Political correctness and the intolerance and willingness to try to crucify anyone who has an opposing view to the progressive “ideal” of what is correct is unbelievable. Go back under your rock.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          Select, right click, ‘Search Google for “MILF”‘

          2nd search result.

          I’m not taking sides, but in Firefox and likely Chrome it takes less than 5 seconds to have an answer. I love this site and its writers and commenters, and I hate when it gets ugly like this for no reason.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          It doesn’t get ugly “for no reason.” it gets ugly because there’s a handful of troglodyte apes here (like Jack and Mark Baruth) who throw around accusations of “trolling” and “SJW” any time someone disagrees with them. Honestly a few of you should just go suck on the loud end of a 12 gauge.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I’m not going to single anyone out, but as the resident diplomat & even-tempered person that I am, let me remind all of you that we are family in a way, and despite whatever differences we may have, we have far more in common.

          1. Colossians 3:13 Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

          2. Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

          3. Luke 6:37 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.

          4. 1 Corinthians 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

          5. 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

          6. 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

          7. Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.

          8. Hebrews 10:17 Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

          9. Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.

          10. Romans 13: 8-10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Reverend DW.

          I like it.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “It doesn’t get ugly “for no reason.” it gets ugly because there’s a handful of troglodyte apes here (like Jack and Mark Baruth) who throw around accusations of “trolling” and “SJW” any time someone disagrees with them. Honestly a few of you should just go suck on the loud end of a 12 gauge.”

          I vote for the guy with the fewest real-life friends to go first.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          DW, I’m a crass pagan nonbeliever, and I approve wholeheartedly of these scriptural passages.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          kvndoom, I usuallly keep my internet filter on “safe” (way too garbage out there) plus I do not watch TV so stuff like that doesn’t pop up.

          “Shurgs shoulders” I don’t know what else I can say.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          Jim K. Oh yes, you saw through my diabolical plan to force Mr. Jack Baruth (SUPER GENIUS) to say something hateful. And stupid.

          MY EVIL PLAN, DASHED TO SMITHEREENS.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      oh, damn. snap.

      thats going to get you a time out or something. verticalscope will NOT take kindly to this.

      theres going to be some stuff that rubs people the wrong way, BUT

      if youre going to ask a leading question about an acronym that has PASSED the editors desk and can be easily googled as well as being (relatively (vulgar) common knowledge) then yeah, you might get some snapback.

      none of this is good. its all bad, its all petty.

      that said i dont think verticalscope should be cleansed of everything that hasnt been deemed “PC”, and i say that as a trump HATER (in caps!) that voted hillary while holding his nose (nobody is perfect but REALLY???).

      if you dont like jack, dont read him dont comment. the mainpage scrolls fine.

      i didnt notice the acronym until the comment section. never bothered to double check. still havent.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DeadWeight – kudos on the biblical references.

        @Freedmike – My son’s have a friend who is gay. We found that out a few years back. He hadn’t come out since his dad was the biggest redneck on the planet. Tough spot for a kid to be in.

        My youngest son says he likes girls but struggles with being labeled gay because he prefers singing, piano and drawing as opposed to typical boy sports. It can be bothersome for him due to LGBT stereotypes.

        My oldest son had to defend a girl in his Grade 9 class who just “came out” and was being bullied.

        Sad but true.

  • avatar
    The_Imperialist

    I also love cars, but hate the retail end of it. I lasted six weeks at a Mazda dealership where the sales manager’s motto was “If a f***ing customer’s lips are moving, they’re lying.” I could not believe the contempt in which they held their clientele, and I hated a job that required me to be a relentless pest. I’d rather work at a more honorable profession, perhaps adult-film producer or mob enforcer.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I’ll dispense a little dime-store Dr. Phil wisdom here…this is called “projection.”

      “Psychological projection involves projecting undesirable feelings or emotions onto someone else, rather than admitting to or dealing with the unwanted feelings.”

      Thus, the liars accuse everyone else of lying so they don’t have to feel bad about their own dishonesty.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        There is a reason why politicians and car salesmen are at the bottom of the list when it comes to trusted professions. I find it interesting that telemarketers have finally displaced car salesmen from the bottom.

        Nurses, firefighters,and paramedics tend to always be at the top of the list.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    The duct tape goes on the inside.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I worked at a Ford dealership in 2007, my junior year of high school. I didn’t sell cars, thankfully, but I was in the detail shop. The contempt the managers and sales team held not only their customers, but literally everyone else, was astounding. They’d spend all day ordering me around and speaking to me like I was a redneck piece of trash, and then when we all left at 6:00, they’d get into cars barely held together with duct tape while I got into a decent vehicle that I’d bought myself. Ay yi yi.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      Through an odd set of circumstances, I wound up running a dealership’s detail shop about a year after I’d sold cars there. This meant I had to deal with a lot of the same salespeople and managers I had worked alongside.

      Most of the sales guys were cool, but one assistant manager constantly gave me attitude about my new line of work. (I hadn’t done badly at car sales, but I’d lost my stomach for it after a year.)

      “See this dirt?” I finally asked him one day, holding up my hands. “It washes off.”

      He never said another word to me.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “Like me, Bobby was a recent college graduate.”

    But did you actually graduate, or do you check the “some college” box?

    • 0 avatar

      I once casually said to JB, “Well, it’s not like any of us writing about cars has a degree in English.” His response was, “Speak for yourself. Miami of Ohio, with honors.”

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalMikester

        he can be an interesting and provocative writer, and i will give him that. the last story was (to me) kinda bullshit, at least in a retail world.

        TWO parking lots full of used crappy unreconditioned cars? NONE sent to auction? LOL

  • avatar
    readallover

    For me, it was the one month I lasted at a major Chevy dealer in the Pacific Northwest. Training was non-existent and the us-versus-them mentality was the major theme. Customers were idiots, bast*rds, scum, liars etc….The sales staff were prolific liars and the owners were deeply religious crooks. I do remember the one `educational`meeting where we had to fill out a car knowledge quiz supplied by GM. Fail and you had to attend a `sales meeting` ( a Amway type affair where they will show you how to sell `dozens of these great Chevrolet products!!!!). My lasting memory of the quiz meeting was the salesman and the General Manager almost getting in a fistfight over the difference between an Automatic Transmission and an Automatic Transaxle.

  • avatar

    I’m assuming this was somewhere near Columbus.

    Sunny 95 is a division of Saga, one of the best radio operators in the nation. I’d have bought Sunny, WCOL (you’d be surprised at the number of closet Country fans among professionals, especially back then), WNCI (who always leaned a little older for a Top 40) and WTVN. Back then, Nationwide Insurance owned those last three before selling their radio holdings to what is now iHate, er, iHeart.

    Anyway, I’d buy one :30 (or :60) spot an hour 6am-7pm Thursday-Saturday, 1x/hour’s all a reputable station would sell you anyway, before everybody got so desperate.(See iHeart)

    THEN, I’d give the campaign at LEAST a month to build momentum, before attempting any kind of major move the metal sale.

    And shall we touch upon the American Pickup Truck-style message for a premium brand, even if it IS used cars we’re talking about?

    So they bought a bunch of the wrong stations at bargain rates and ran the spots – with a dubious message at best – into the ground with 4x the frequency needed to be effective.

    Then again, you think there’d be greater oversight to ensure if a manager were reading the wrong column from the Blue Book, he’d have been corrected before a year and change had passed by.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Agree with you on the choice of radio stations, with the exception of WCOL — I didn’t know they had any kind of demo whatsoever.

      The radio buy, as I recall, was on Power 106.3 or the equivalent, and a few other no-hopers. It was a mess.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Thanks, Jack. Great story. I have to wonder of dealerships are the last great holdout of the comission business (other than the much lower volume home sales, I guess?).

    The used car business is just so *weird* to me. :D

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Funny – I worked with that same guy (or one equally clueless) back in the day, too. Same thing happened – dealership buried in used cars.
    Fortunately for me, I met my soon-to-be new employer at about the same time, so I was able to extricate myself before the fecal matter hit the rotary air displacement device…

  • avatar
    azmtns

    Chaucer = Chaunticleer = Jack?

  • avatar

    Jack. I had a crappy day today and your story was just what I needed to read. Made we realize we all have crappy times to muddle through sometimes. Brilliant, funny and entertaining. Thanks.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Speaking of ads, a local Chrysler / Jeep / Dodge / RAM dealership advertised on the radio about its selection of CPT (rather than CPO) cars. If you’ve ever heard the term Colored People’s Time, which can also be shortened to CPT, you’d be as curious as I am. Somehow, that dealership found out I had been looking for a new cars and has been blowing up my phone and email—note, not a good way to endear oneself to one’s customers—so maybe the next time I pick up the phone, I can ask them all about their “CPT” cars :P

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Don’t be in any hurry to do so, though…

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The more phone calls I get from a dealer, the less likely I am to buy a car from that dealer. Emails, I don’t really care about, because I probably won’t even see them.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Yep, I’m less likely to go to a place that won’t leave me alone after a polite inquiry. And even less so if they use giant inflatables on their lot.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    I had a hole in my shoe, a long time ago…

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    You make growing up on the periphery of Columbus sound almost tolerable

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    i dont get it, and i have questions…

    NONE of these trade ins went to auction? Even the rattiest?

    NOBODY could catch on the tradein resale prices were just TOO DAMNED HIGH?

    HOW do you fill to overcapacity a car lot, then RENT SPACE from a hotel lot for tradein cars that arent moving?

    Im no car salesman (i work retail) but if something wasnt moving, id ask…

    is it on the floor?
    whats the price?
    is the price too high for the clientele?
    why is the price so high?

    and then BOOM id have figured it out. no rocket surgeon needed.

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    Kudos for the VAX reference, Jack. I haven’t heard (or used) that term since EECS B21 Assembly class back in the 80s.

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