Conversations. Marvellous things. A triumph of sentient behaviour. Except not really – Â as the recipient has no truck for considering the loquaciousness of the speaker, because they’re far too busy spooling up far more important stuff waiting for clear air to broadcast*
Car salespeople are like this. They’ve ignored the two hour ‘listening to customers’ seminar on induction to whatever shiny brand they are Â pedalling. Instead they embark on the questionable strategy of ignoring everything the pointless old bloke offering real cash may consider important.
Even if this irritating individual refuses to be swayed by prepared speeches on brand values and unique selling features, instead opening a small notebook and stabbing repeatedly at stuff that has the power to keep him right here. Â As opposed to option b) which involves beating that salesperson to death with the glossy brochure before flouncing off with a ‘I’ve done the gene pool a favour‘ thrown over an insouciant shoulder.
Fuck me I’m bored of this. As are the salespeople, but that’s their job. Rather than adopting a confrontational strategy of striding into the showroom demanding an interaction with ‘someone old enough to shave as long as no obvious beard grooming is evidenced, and absolutely no waistcoats, I want to buy a car not a fucking country house‘, I’m all about guerrilla tactics.
Mostly this involves turning up in the cheapest clothes I can find**, poke about in expensive cars with a tape measure, wonder out loud if a mountain bike wheel would fit in there, prod, poke and scratch expensive fabrics until an individual from the candy crush generation wanders over and asks what I’m interested in.
At which point I gleefully awaken the kraken of requirements carefully recorded Â in a notebook until boredom overwhelms them and they offer me a test drive. This activates phase two where I insist on pairing my phone with the i-think-you’ll-find-sir-this-infotamenet-system-is-class-leading before unleashing my dreadfully uncool play-list.
Not because I’m even peripherally interested in the quality of the audio system. No, I just want to see them squirm as a track 1 of ‘a 100 hits of the 80s‘ blasts out of 10 speakers. God I cherish that moment, but they soon get their revenge explaining virtual cockpit this and four wheels steering that which are essentially narrowing pathways to me signing my life away for Coke can with an ego problem.
Once the test drive is done, we move onto numbers. An area I’ve had about 30 years experience which is 29 more than the beard oil postulating bollocks opposite. Â He offers averages, I counter with standard deviation and regression to the mean. Not for any other reason than I’ve lost control of any possible transaction on walking into a 26 million ‘brand facility‘ which clearly this conversation may end up paying for.
I’ve also become increasingly suspicious of my motives. For all my ‘oh fuck off, really it’s just Â a car‘, I could easily buy something for half the price that’d be better than functional and nowhere near as financially destructive. Â Driving breaks down like this; 15% running the kids around on a daily basis, about the same transporting me and mucky bikes to places Matt’s van isn’t going with the remaining 70% navigating to end points of our wonderfully diverse higher education sector.
For that you need a car that’ll reliably get you there, not make you look like a dick if you’re offering a lift, not mirror my fiscal insanity when considering mountain bikes, take one of those inside in an emergency and act as a family transport when I remember that’s my tribe.
Rationally I’m all in with that argument. The problem – possibly unsurprisingly to regular readers – is indeed mountain bikes. I have so many of those whose form trumps their function, and even that’s not something I’m pushing at the edge of. Â So much as my amusement when confronted with Â ‘advanced ride dynamics‘ has led to many awkward moments when one person looks shocked and the other is doubled over pissing themselves laughing, the guilty truth is I’m almost as much a tart for cars as I am for bikes.
If the car after this will be electric, I might as well have one last fling raging against the light. Due diligence sprouts many spreadsheets with pivot tables. Graphs are prominent. Statistical hypothesis inerpret the raw data. Which tells me everything and pretty much nothing.
But I need to do something. The Yeti is accelerating towards the contract hire event horizon. They really want it back. I really not want to give it back. Only one person is gong to win that argument, so Ive decided to avoid having to step into another of those matrix-style showrooms instead putting all our money in a bucket and inviting those wearing the suits of shiny to bring their trinkets for review.
It’s not going to work of course. But it’ll work better than hiding under the duvet thinking dark thoughts about one sales-dick who was keen to explain that ‘buying one of our cars sir will certainly make you look quite a lot more important’.
I don’t feel important. Manipulated possibly. Confused definitely. Enthused not at all. I am genuinely concerned if and when we need to move house I may have to renew my shotgun license.
*for those at least tangentially aware of social norms. Those lacking an iota of self awareness are pretty much in permanent transmit mode.
**Or as I like to think of it my ‘everyday wardrobe’