Friday, June 25, 2010

and the survey says???

My fair lady and I both tag on a lot of miles driving for work. I used to drive my cars right into the graveyard at about 180,000 miles. But over the last decade, my slightly older body began to beg for a return to comfort when the odometers clicked out the first of 6 figures. Lady has also joined that club.

So recently we decided to investigate a new all wheel drive vehicle worthy of replacing her 5 year old chariot. I did all the shopping, as my limited patience for the car buying experience is unfortunately trumped by her zero tolerance.

And now that my inbox has received a post sale/customer satisfaction inquiry I am left to ponder how to reply. Will I be brutally honest? Or, will I be overly gentle?

We actually really like the car, and that single piece of truth will likely be the driving force behind my answers. However, instead of winding me through 25 or 30 questions about facility comfort and inventory, I would much prefer the more obvious. For example: Were the folks at the dealership consistently jovial and whimsical enough as they tried to screw you three different ways?

For as friendly as they can be, deception seems to be the prime agenda in these ‘negotiations’. I know that there are some programs and dealerships that participate in flat, and supposedly no nonsense deals. But, the way I view it, there are still 3 basic ways they can bleep you.

They can bleep you on the price of the car. They can bleep you on the trade-in. And they can go all out on the financing. Was it a coincidence that my sales rep forgot to put the rebate on the order as first written? Were the (never before noticed) dings on my used car, and the still original timing belt as costly a factor as they wanted me to believe?

Regarding the financing, I won’t even speculate. I know they were trying to f@#$ me there. ‘Impossible’ is what the twenty-eight year old finance expert told me of my interest rate petition. Impossible, I reminded him, is usually what some other people are already doing.

After finally coming down to earth, and falling $120 per month in payments, he tried hard to make it seem like he valued our relationship. Was that before he was trying to take me for a dim-wit or after realizing that he had still made a sale?

All this unfolded, as my son tested the limits of my serenity, as he himself tested every single button, keyboard and plasma screen they had on location.

However, the most amazing part occurred when I picked up my cell and advised my cleverly absent lady to come on down-that ‘the price is right’. I then recognized that I do have a bit of ‘happy idiot’ in me. And all was forgiven as we gleefully admired our new transport and paid close attention to the instructions (like we wouldn’t have figured it out anyway) for each new device on the dashboard.

I imagine it’s time for me to bestow some 8’s along the grid on their survey’s 1 to 10 rankings. ‘Probably will’ is the likely answer concerning whether or not I would consider doing business with them again. I say this with the awareness that when I now park my 4 year old, slightly dinged up and less advanced vehicle next to my bride’s new stallion, I hear a little birdie saying-you’re going to be f@#$ed again soon.

© 2010 Christopher’s Views

Sunday, June 13, 2010

besieged by the brown tide

This past Friday, upon a second reach for the snooze option of my cell phone that was placed on my nightstand, I was simultaneously awakened by a chirpy Cardinal outside my bedroom window at 6am. I waggled myself downstairs and slipped into my flip flops in order to retrieve our morning paper. Quietly, I reached among some plastic cups in the dish washer, trying to avoid clanking glasses and waking others before their set times. I poured myself some juice, changed into my running clothes and sneakers, then embarked upon an early 5k.

Half an hour or so later I returned home to grab a vitamin container and make my son’s breakfast.The morning quiet was broken when my favorite first grader allowed the toilet seat to slip from his hand while I was preparing his cream cheese on a bagel. Concurrently, I gained a lipstick marked cheek from my lover as she gleefully departed for work. After about 10 minutes of munching cereal and reviewing spelling words, I handed off a field day lunch cooler to the antsy elementary school student, and off we walked.

Once the school drop off was complete I headed back to my driveway to begin my search for another coffee, plus an onion roll from a local bakery, even though they use the polystyrene cups that I detest. I was grateful though that I could once again enjoy a hot drink in my car, as the a/c has been repaired, and the black dashboard no longer feels like an enemy combatant.

Suddenly, on the way to the business Expo I was attending for the day, I remembered my boss and his obsession with shoe polish. Luckily, I was able to dig out a quick shoe-shine sponge, which I had tucked away beneath a bag of golf balls in my trunk.

I spent much of my day trying to drum up new clients, giving away ball point pens and observing some of the more lavish displays among vendors. When garden hoses and pumps are brought in to support a fountain, first prize might be achieved-but then regretted come knockdown time.

For me, dismantle meant simply turning off my laptop. Before heading off I needed to fill my sedan’s 16 gallon gasoline tank, which was near empty, in advance of any attempt to transverse the end of week rush hour traffic. I then made a short stop for pizza on my way home, along the many miles of asphalt roadways encircling New York City.

After dinner I decided to upload some pictures from my camera, as I prepared some web page changes to mark my return from a mini sabbatical away from blogging. I also needed a distraction from the 24 hour news reports, detailing the seemingly incredible and insincere actions and inactions associated with BP’s continuing catastrophic oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, so I played an all acoustic CD for background music as I logged onto my desktop.

Just then, my mind gained a bit of clarity, as I heard Alanis Morissette on track 8 while I peered into my monitor. And I was reminded that the attack on our shore lines is ‘a little too ironic…and yeah, I really do think’ that if we don’t change our ways soon we may well be holding ‘a death row pardon two minutes too late.’

*items highlighted in brown are a mere sampling of products commonly made from petroleum.

© 2010 Christopher’s Views

This post was included as a Post Of The Week. Please visit Hilary, the host, at her wonderful site: The Smitten Image.

Friday, June 4, 2010

a blank screen for now

I feel somewhat like a blank screen. To be sure, I have about a dozen topics I want to write about. But, factoring in a few days away, a busier than normal work schedule and no a/c in my car until the part finally arrives tomorrow-I am currently ineffectual as a blogger.

However, I still cannot even login to my dashboard without expressing how utterly appalling the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico has become. I rarely put much faith in the moral integrity of any large company to ‘do the right thing’. For that reason, I am much more troubled by what appears to be an inability on the part of our government to adequately manage and protect our coast.

And I hope to utilize better management of my blogging time soon.