Bear with me here, you'll see.
I was reminded of this yesterday while writing in another thread about what an honest car salesperson I was. I was too, really. There was this one time though, I sort of stretched the old envelope a bit. I felt a little bad about it right afterwards, but geez, in the end if the customer is happy and I am too what the heck?
Here's the scenario: It was the last day of the month for sales in September, 2001, just a few weeks after the 9/11 attacks. I remember standing out in front of the dealership and looking up in the sky. There were no planes flying, no jet contrails in sight. So odd, so quiet. Almost no one wanted to buy a new car then, unless they needed something to take their mind off what had happened or they where truly, truly cheapskate buyers knowing full well that car sales were in the tank and they could take advantage like never before to get the deal of the century. There were, a few only, folk who bought cars because they realized how important it was to the US economy at that time and wanted to do their part to contribute. Bless those few.
My bread and butter sales were BMW's and Porsche's with the occasional Subaru thrown in just to keep things interesting. Subaru's were giveaway cars back then, likely still are, nothing deals typically sold barely above invoice. Subaru customers in general have no thought of loyalty to anyone or anything other than making sure they couldn't possibly have saved even one more dollar on a car purchase. Just so you know.
I had nine cars out that month, not good, and there was a $1,200 bonus on the line if I could somehow sell and deliver one more car before the end of the day. I had no deals pending that would get me to that magic number ten. There wasn't a single customer in the joint, just sales people standing around the TV in the lounge mumbling about someone named bin laden.
An old, old, Subaru pulled into the lot. Female driver, alone, but she brought her black Labrador retriever along for the ride. I greeted her, and the dog, because I got to her first ahead of the stampede of other hungry sales people. She wanted to know if we had a leftover but new 2000 Subaru Brighton wagon for sale. (A base Brighton is the cheapest of all Subaru wagons, not even power windows or locks, bare bones.) I said yes, a blue one. (It had been on our lot over a year.) She then told me that she had already been to the Subaru dealer in Raleigh and they had a red one, and that was fine with her, but she wanted to make sure she was getting the best deal possible. She only wanted our best price. I knew immediately she was going to buy the car in Raleigh, told me she was a 3rd grade school teacher there and lived not far from the dealer. Damn. My best price was gonna match whatever they'd let her walk out their door with, guaranteed. I had only one card to play, and that was color. I asked her if she would rather have a blue one or a red one. (That would conclude this potential score one way or the other for me.) She said she didn't care what color it was, just wanted the best deal she could get.
So I had nothing.
But then, out of nowhere, she laughed and said if her dog liked one color over the other she would choose that color. That's when I smelled the alcohol on her breath. Then she asked if there was a good restaurant nearby, she was "hungry". Stressful times for all. And now I'm thinking, and it came to me. I had a red one too, but it was a more expensive L model she wouldn't want. I was not going to be able to sell it to her, she was adamant about not wanting power anything. So I said: "How about this? I have a red L and the blue Brighton. You go down the block to Bailey's Restaurant and come back in a half hour or so. I'll park the red L and the blue Brighton nose-to-nose out behind the dealership and when you get back let's see if "Bruiser" takes to one of them." She just thought that was a wonderful idea.
She came back, over an hour later as I recall. I had nearly given up hope she would return. Now the alcohol breath was really evident. Must have had another. But I walked her and Bruiser around the building and brought them to the cars.
Well, that dog went like a lightning bolt right for the blue Brighton, running around it, all excited, wanting to get in it. She said: "Wow!, I guess he really likes blue!".
I gave her $500 for her POS trade-in, same as the Raleigh dealer had offered, and she bought that blue Brighton on the spot. She was thrilled. So was I.
As fortune or luck would have it, there was a mom and pop convenience store right behind our dealership. I had given myself enough time and invested in a can of dog food. Everyone got what they wanted and everyone was happy, including Bruiser.
(Because you must be wondering, I had smeared it up under the wheel wells.)
Epilogue: Shockingly, she always brought that car into us for service, despite living close to that other dealer. She would come in and find me, give me a big hug. Once she gave me the sad news that her dog had passed away. She always told me how much Bruiser loved "his" car.
She always had alcohol breath too.