Just for Grins with Doug Kelly
Musings from the eccentric but undeniably brilliant mind of Doug Kelly — Satire
I recently pulled into a car dealership to check out the newer gas-saving compacts and immediately felt like a fish in an aquarium. Eyes blanketed me through the showroom window and a salesman, coiled near the entrance like a starving python, closed the distance between us as if on a hydrofoil.
"Good afternoon, I'm Derek,” he stated while barely moving his lips, which I could only suppose hid a Jacobson's Organ. “Which car can I help you select today?"
When I mentioned a compact, he gushed, "Excellent choice. I own a compact and it's a great all-around vehicle."
Here I'm at the dealership for literally minutes and already I hate this guy. I informed him that the car would be for my son.
"Perfect," came the reply with a nod of pure sincerity. "I bought my son a compact too.”
I deplore people like this who pander for commissions. But then it made me recall a sales job between college semesters when I sat in the office of a prospective customer. Noticing a model of a Harley on his bookshelf, I pointed at it and with shameless falsity said, "I love bikes."
Trouble is, at the time I knew zilch about motorcycles. My new biker buddy became energized, his mouth shifting from first to fourth gear with chatter and inquiries about all things motorized on two wheels. Bewildered and unable to change the subject, I resorted to dodges and parries (Q: What are you riding now? A: Well, I'm between bikes at the moment. Q: Wanna take a quick spin on my Harley? It's parked downstairs? A: Uh, maybe another time, but thanks anyway).
Suddenly wise to my act, he announced being late for a meeting and cut the session short. I left his office totally embarrassed, and I made a commitment right then and there to only lie to a sales prospect about topics with which I had at least some knowledge.
But I regress. After locating a car that interested me, Derek led me to a dingy cubicle where we engaged in futile price wrangling. Getting nowhere, Derek finally excused himself and returned with a swarthy guy I dubbed "Tony The Closer" because undoubtedly the dealership kept him hidden from view until called upon to subdue balky buyers.
Compared to Derek's decrepitude, Tony was a maestro. He wrung me like a rag through every emotion, making me laugh, cry, whimper and whine while forcefully and adroitly countering every objection. I felt like Goofy playing Jeopardy against Einstein.
Yes, Tony finally closed me. And he never had to say a word about the fact that I drove into the dealership on a Harley.
- Doug Kelly, a resident of Clearwater, is a book author and successful freelance writer who's worked on the editorial staffs of state and national magazines. He's a member of several media organizations as well as the Society of American Travel Writers.