Thursday, March 27, 2008

"I got me a [Chrysler], it's as big as a whale" 

Bergeron Chrysler Jeep has a blog, which they proudly tout in their large newspaper ads in the T-P.

If you click over and check it out, you'll see that it's very... um... futuristic.

I wonder: do other local automotive groups have openings for dealership bloggers? Hell, if it's a paid gig, I'd do that-- with pleasure. There's always lots of fun going on at a dealership, behind the scenes. Here's a sampling of excerpts from my imaginary dealership blog, which is based on 100% true experience from working at local dealerships in the 1990's.

1. "I think we'll be able to set a record on this one", the Finance Mgr whispered to me as I led my customer (an African-American fixed income disabled Vietnam veteran) into the finance office. Forty five minutes later, after the paperwork was finished, the Finance Mgr went over to the desk to high five the other managers and flex his upper-body flab, because the dealership had booked over $12k finance profit on a 72 month truck lease.

I laid low in the "Get Ready" department with the teenage towelboys , rather than face my bamboozled customer.

2. The salespeople in the back offices speculated bitterly about why "Scott", the sack of excrement non-salesman who sits around all day, gets fed all of the new car sales manager's "bones" (i.e., easy sales).

3. Conversational exchange between myself and an old timer salesman, standing by the door, as we watch a frisky newby salesman leap over the front railing to "up" (greet) some new customers that walked on to the dealership from the sidewalk:

Me: Why did you let Arturo up them? It's your turn.

Old timer: Because they're boges [i.e., "bogus", non-buyers].

Me: Oh.

A few minutes later, a family pulls up in an old stationwagon. I start to ask "What about them?", but the old timer is already by their car door, practically helping them out of their seats. His Marlboro is smoldering by my foot.

4. During the Monday Morning pep talk to the new car sales crew, the General Manager advises his crew to "buy stuff" and "get in debt" so that they will be hungrier to sell cars and earn money.

5. Over the loudspeakers a "Code Brown" alert is issued, indicating that an available African-American salesman is needed for a particular set of customers.

6. The New Car sales manager privately objects to the dealership having a Christmas tree in the showroom. I know he's Christian, so I investigate his complaint.

Me: What's the problem? It's a heathen symbol?

Mgr: That's right! It mocks the truth.

Me: Why do you think it's the truth?

Mgr: *sighs* Do you know how old Jesus was when he was crucified?

Me: 33?

Mgr: Right. And do you know the temperature at which liquid water changes form, and freezes?

Me: *stunned* But...

Mgr: Think that's just a coincidence?

7. One morning, I noticed a recent customer of mine in the service waiting room. Reluctantly, I went over and asked what was wrong. The customer said "Every time I get up to 80mph on the causeway, my engine overheats."

I nodded mournfully, struggling mightily not to say "What the hell possessed you to push a [Dodge Neon or similar] into the eighties? Do you have a death wish?"

8. A customer comes in, and has a '99 Lexus GS 400 he wants to trade in. An associate mgr (and former race car driver) pokes his head out of his office and volunteers to test drive it for the used car appraisal. He gets the keys and pulls the Lexus around the other side of the dealership, and three eager salesmen jump in. The GS 400 peels out of the dealership and a 15 minute high-speed joyride commences .

9. "I want balloons out front! Balloons on Saturdays, people!! Who is doing the blowing?" the associate New Car Mgr asks.

Howls of laughter flourish through the back cubicles, as the salesmen make snide remarks and roar with laughter. (Recently they had discovered that the assoc. mgr had starred in some low budget porn films, and was featured prominently in some bisexual "3 way" scenes. And they weren't viewed as the "good" kind of 3-ways, either.)

10. Conversational exchange between myself and a friend of the manager while driving on I-10, returning from the Baton Rouge area, after delivering a $45k luxury sedan to a customer's house:

Me: Why the F*** were you driving 130mph! Are you totally insane!?! I could barely keep up with you!

Mgr's friend: Cool it bra', it's fine.

Me: Cool it? Fine?!? You're not supposed to break those cars in like that! Can you imagine what would've happened if you wrecked or got pulled over? You're not even employed by [the dealership], you're not covered by their insurance! Does [Mgr's name] know how crazy you drive?

Mgr's friend: Me and him been knowin' each other since we wuz twelve-- he don't care. And just cuz I was doin' 130 didn't mean you had to.

Me: But you had the map to the customer's house!

Mgr's friend: So, what, you don't know how to work the fancy NAV system in da cars you sell?

[I fume in silence for the next 40 miles, while driving a responsible 90mph, which seems slow as molasses]

Me (later, finally back at the dealership, storming unannounced into the mgr's office): Why the hell did you team me up with that nutcase for the delivery!!

Sales Manager (drooling, asleep in chair, knocked up on painkillers): gugghah?

Me: Oh Christ!

Told you dealership blogging could be entertaining.



24 comments DiggIt!


Uniquely interesting blog; a good read.

By Blogger atypicalheroine, at 8:14 PM  

Oh God...they call them "Pre-Owned", not used. The only thing worse than that is when they intentionally misspell the words "in order to attract the eye of the buyer" e.g. "UESD CRAS".

Fargin F&I schmuck...the slimiest of the slime.

The old timer, let me guess, had some type of obnoxious ring, probably something like a nugget ring, probably with an obnoxious gemstone he swears is real, and complicated glasses.

I remember my dad telling me about the "code browns". He actually made more money because he didn't mind selling to Black folks, unlike many of his peers on the lot.

My dad had the same problem as your Neon customer, except with him it was a guy that bought a Dodge Charger 500 or a Plymouth Super Bird. The thing would heat up driving around town, because it was made to be running 190 on the banks of Daytona. He had the service department remove the front fiberglas nose, and there was no more overheating problems.

I'm shocked the sales manager was on painkillers. Greenies are/were the typical pill of choice for most of the car men I knew.

By Blogger Ashley, at 9:22 PM  

Classic post; one of your best. Hope you're not drowning in email...

By Anonymous Adrastos, at 11:09 PM  

God A'mighty, what a hoot! I spent most of the night trying to sell the MIL on blogs when she coulda driven off at a fast clip with THIS post!

By Blogger Leigh C., at 11:36 PM  

code browns? Balloon blowing 3 way porn stars?
Jesus? 33?

I've learned a lot today.

By Blogger jason, at 11:59 PM  

Thanks for the compliments, y'all. Glad you enjoyed it.

Ashley: I knew a lot of good car people, but none of them worked in Finance. As for your guess about the old timer-- in general, that's perfectly accurate. In this particular case, you get 2 out of 3 (no glasses).

The mgr actually had back trouble and was addicted to painkillers. Like most of the managers I wrote about, he's still a manager at a big time local dealership.

By Blogger oyster, at 12:27 AM  

Just out of curiosity, did the good Christian who objected to Christmas trees know about the kind of stuff you describe in the first scene? Did he have any qualms about it?

By Blogger bayoustjohndavid, at 12:34 AM  

Those episodes occurred at different dealerships. But the answer is "no", he wouldn't've had a problem with it, if it occurred on his watch.

He was the sort to take a hardline on holiday symbology, but could find several rationalizations to be unethical. Of course, car dealerships are a largely amoral universe. I mainly slag on the managers in this post, because I feel a little more solidarity with the sales force. However, I could rattle off twenty more entertaining scenes pretty easily, just focusing on all the degenerates and weirdos who end up selling cars for a living.

(Ya call that "living"?!)

That Christian manager is also still around, btw, at a very large local dealership.

By Blogger oyster, at 12:53 AM  

my pahdnah who shall remain nameless sells timeshares in the quarter.

he got his start at a car lot in mobile.

one night when we were drinking i commented on the paralells of his two gigs and he got deeply offended.

i guess the point is he had and has degrees of seperation that get him thru his day.

he can talk about scams and how he helps people in the same breath.

i'm glad he's on my side.

By Blogger GENTILLY YARD ART, at 1:22 AM  

"Love Shack." Greatest. Song. Ever.

Okay, maybe an exaggeration. But not by much.

By Blogger Mr. Clio, at 8:19 AM  

Water boils at 212 degrees.

Mark 2:12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"


By Anonymous Howie Luvzus, at 8:51 AM  

Molecular weight of Water 18.2 g/mol.
Genesis 18:2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

First Jesus citing in the Bible!


By Anonymous Howie Luvzus, at 8:56 AM  

This is good stuff. It makes me consider pulling out some stories from my hotel management days many of which are similar.... but I like to keep those memories blocked out as much as possible.

By Blogger jeffrey, at 10:34 AM  

Oh and Gentilly Yard, one of my hotel gigs involved daily dealings with timeshare salescreatures. Really. Scary. Stuff.

By Blogger jeffrey, at 10:37 AM  

Thanks for the midday hilarity.

I suspect that there are similar tales from car lots all over the country, but there is just something quintessentially New Orleanian about this collection of stories.

By Blogger Kevin Allman, at 2:09 PM  

Water boils at 32 degrees; 32 backwards is 23.

Malachi 2:3 "Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it."

It's like a chicken-fried DaVinci code!

By Blogger suspect device, at 4:27 PM  

Great post Oyster. I'm picturing you as Kurt Russell in Used Cars.

By Anonymous joejoejoe, at 6:21 PM  

Oyster, this is good. My son works in a car dealership. He's in the service department now, but he's done time selling, too. I've heard the same stories, but maybe not quite so - umm - enhanced.

Bergeron should hire you. They definitely need enhancement on their blog.

By Blogger Grandmère Mimi, at 10:22 PM  

i swear i heard you talking shit in the urinal at the zurich classic today.

was dat you.?

it's funny to me that john daly wasn't involved in the dust up today on the 18th hole but a guy named bubbba was.

still hoping the gator bites someone in the ass before sunday only to be hit by a falling bullit from a rabbit hunter in the marsh.

love gentilly boy

By Blogger GENTILLY YARD ART, at 11:04 PM  

"i swear i heard you talking shit in the urinal at the zurich classic today.

"was dat you?"

Ha. No. I won't be there this year.

By Blogger oyster, at 10:11 AM  

I'll be laughing about this one for a while (not to mention the comments). I don't want to be the one to do it but will someone please tell Greg that water freezes at 32, not boils?

Really great post, sir. Thanks.

By Anonymous Sophmom, at 8:47 PM

This piece by an edmunds staffer is priceless.

By Anonymous scott, at 3:16 PM  

I especially liked the connection between Jesus, freezing, and Xmas trees. Great post.

By Blogger Michael Homan, at 6:14 PM  

The eighties was a great and wonderful era to have grown up in or lived in!
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By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:25 PM