As those who read my old blog will know, I like to write about things which address the major issues, and all the moral dilemmas and twisty-turny circumstances which lie behind them. I always see life rants as a bit of a cheat, really, when it comes to blogs. You know what I mean: “I went out last night and it really annoyed me how blah, blah-blah blah blah…”. Where’s the ivory tower narcissism in that?
But, honestly, today my thoughts and language have ended up being those “of the gutter”. And because of that, I see no reason why my blog shouldn’t be of a similar snarky nature.
The cause? Car salesmen. And it is not for the reason you might imagine.
The reason was not because some Del-Boy Arthur Daley 80s wide boy accosted me, then prised money I didn’t have out of my pockets – and then left me cluttering down the road in a banger, with a dribble of telltale diesel coming from the back of it.
The reason is actually the complete opposite. Today I visited five (count ‘em) – that’s FIVE – dealerships with several grand budgeted on a used motor. I was not approached on a single forecourt. I was peered at, smiled at and scowled at, but not once did anybody come up to me and ask if I would like any help.
Must be that I have one of those faces. Maybe being ginger – sorry, I mean strawberry blonde – carries with it an extra ferocity which I take for granted, but which generally makes people freeze with fear. Or maybe it was cold today, and nobody wants to go out in the cold. Except me, with short sleeves; which means it wasn’t that bad.
Thing is these guy were missing a trick. They had a duck in a barrel on a forecourt crying out to spend money on a car (please don’t add all these images up, it just doesn’t work).
In my time I’ve sold suitcases, for no commission, with more passion than these guys have. I actually had a hard case roll off a podium, smack me on the head and I still carried on trying to sell to my customer… until she quietly pointed out there was red on my forehead, and that I should go to hospital, really.
Now I’m not proposing some sort of bootcamp for sales people, where I hurl ignorant abuse at them, chuck large articles at their head and have them picked off by a sniper if they don’t say hello to a dummy customer in 10 seconds (unless by some chance you are from the telly, then maybe I am – call me!). What I’m saying is if someone is stood there trying to look at one of their cars, and the effect of cars is to illicit a look of cluelessness about their face, any salesperson looking on should saunter over and take me for the mug I am.
Now I’m not saying that this is all car salespeople – I’m sure many of them are great – but, and it is a big but, you can have the likes of Mary Portas do intensive work with the government and individual shops, but it is pointless if the people don’t walk the walk and sell afterwards.
There’s a reason I’m upset. I came to the area and covered it as a journalist for years, and watched the recession sink its claws in deep. And I know there are a lot of people who do try to sell in the area as part of their day job, and go home feeling like a failure because they haven’t had a bite. I know that feeling, so it makes it doubly frustrating if there are people; maybe people they work with; who can’t be bothered to venture into 16 degrees centigrade to get that sale.
So I’ll be heading out there again tomorrow, with a wad of virtual cash on my debit card trying to buy a car again. Look out for me if you’re a car salesperson. It’s hard to miss me. I’m tall, “strawberry blonde”, and have a look of cluelessness on my face whenever I look at a car. Move in.