Sunday, August 15, 2010

The New Car Story - Both Versions

Pin It Undoubtedly, many of you are wondering just what happened in regards to the letter I sent a few weeks ago to a certain car dealership, and what the subsequent results were to it.

To answer this question there are two ways in which I could go about it…the long way, or the short way.

For those of you who are in a rush I will provide you with the ‘cliff notes’ version – as well as the unabridged version for those of you with inquiring minds that really just want to know.

Pick your poison...

Reader’s Digest Version:

I received an apology from the manager on duty the night I’d gone in - as well as one from the regional manager. I was sold the car I wanted for a price that was a little bit more than I wanted to pay, but significantly less than what they were originally asking. Everyone went away as better people and lived happily ever after.

Full Version:

As you know, a particular manager at a local car dealership treated me somewhat badly. It was when I was driving home that I decided that I’d not return to that business. However, the next morning I felt that I needed to make my voice be heard. I try to call attention to others when they go out of their way with exceptional service so that their efforts are not unsung – it was at this point that I knew that I should also do this when superior service is just not the case. I sat down and spent nearly an hour writing and rewriting a letter I would send in. After sharing it with a few friends (as well as my dad) I emailed the letter to my sister so that she could fax to the dealership.

Three days went by, and I heard nothing.

It was mid-afternoon on Monday that my cell phone rang. It was the dealership. I was promptly issued an apology – much to my surprise and relief. After all, I really did want that particular vehicle they had, but I’d made the decision that I wasn’t going to purchase it if it wasn’t going to be on my terms.

I was told that the letter I’d sent in had made it to the desk of the regional manager and he wanted to ‘make this right.’ I was then asked if I would be able come in to discuss another deal; I opted to wait a day to make sure that this was something I really felt like doing. I told the salesman that I’d come in tomorrow. So it was on a Tuesday afternoon after a riveting day of summer school I found myself driving to the dealership.

I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous. After all, today could either be the day I got the car I wanted, or I’d be back to searching – something I’d been doing for several months so it wasn’t too terrible.

The same salesman I’d already worked with, Rien (pronounced Ryan), met me at the door with a smile and I was informed that my offer was ‘nearly there’ but not quite.

A new deal was worked, which was met by both parties in mutual agreement – I’d gone up by $1,000 and they’d come down $3,500 from what I’d originally been told by the manager on duty that particular night before I wrote the letter.

I felt that this was fair.

The regional manager came down from his office. He introduced himself. He apologized for how I’d been treated the night before. I was impressed.

Soon after this, another individual approached me as I was shooting a quick text message. When I looked up I immediately recognized him as the manager on duty when I’d come in the previous week. He extended his hand and apologized, saying that sometimes he needed a check on his behavior - and how he doesn’t realize from time to time how some of the things he says comes out. He told me that he had no hard feelings for the letter I’d written, and again thanked me for bringing his behavior to his attention so that he could improve.

I didn’t know whether he was being sincere or not, but regardless, the sentiment was appreciated, and I chose to take his hand and we shook to bygones being bygones and new beginnings.

Once-again, I was impressed.

I stayed at the dealership for a few hours as papers were drawn up and my new car was washed and polished. I looked out the window at my old vehicle, thinking of a decade of memories I’d made with it. I thought about the night before when I’d emptied it out and drew up a parallel to when I transferred schools and emptied my classroom just a few years ago.

It was a melancholy feeling. Thinking that my car was soon to become someone else’s vehicle. It’d been a good friend, a confidant, and a mode of transportation to get me from one place to another.

After the papers were signed and keys were exchanged, I walked out to the back lot to sit in my car for one final time. I said goodbye. It was the end of an era. I closed my eyes and allowed the memories to seep into me. The familiar smells of the desert lingering in the upholstery filled my nostrils and filled me with a flood of good times – as well as the bad.

I closed the door one final time as I climbed out – the sun winking over the distant eastern mountains – closing the door on an era of my life.

I then turned and climbed into my new vehicle, playing familiar music so that it would feel a bit more like home. I started the ignition and pulled from the parking lot, pointing my front tires for the new adventures, which are now lying ahead.

22 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

You did well!. Had to love that line about the 'deal almost being there'..I think I rolled my eyes to Timbuktu!. Isn't ironic how the written word gets things going? The power of words on a piece of paper...also sending it corporate/regional didn't hurt either!.BTW never be nervous- after all they want u to buy their product, so they should be nervous- the ball is always in your court.

Kristina P. said...

That's great. I didn't realize you ended up actually going back to that dealership to purchase the car.

Rachel said...

One of which better be heading south and trying fried pickles! :D

Glad everything turned out so well. I do so love happy endings.... and new beginnings!

Mamma has spoken said...

What a wonderful story of what happen and I am so glad that things worked out for you! Congrads on the new ride. I'm sure you'll have some wonderful stories to tell about your adventures.

Natasha said...

Hooray for new beginnings!! I'm glad things worked out, but they always do, one way or the other. :)

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

I actually read both!! You have a writing style that always captures my attention.

Richard & Natalie said...

Whew.... That unabridged version was really long after going on some of your adventures with ol' Red, by following the links. No complaints; I'm glad I went. I also look forward to new adventures in Blue that you let us tag along on.

Connie said...

Glad it worked out to your advantage. You're a forgiving man! Enjoy your new car and the adventures that will come your way.

Marnie said...

People often don't realize just how effective a letter actually is. It's more poweful than simply calling in a compliment or complaint.

Thanks for the update. From your last post I was wondering.

Happy zooooom zoooom zooooming!

T said...

I like hearing sometimes that a well written letter gets listened to. I've twice been promised letters of apology for being treated very poorly - and have never gotten those letters. I do however like to imagine that cranky bus driver in his anger management classes - that makes me feel better.

Ms Bibi said...

Good job and yeey for the new car.

I am all for cliff notes, but I did read the longer version. I figured since I don't have to I will,lol.

As you can tell I was a very good student.

Momza said...

hi there, just popped over from Nikki and Danny's page...
this post reminded my of a similar experience of my own:
I went to buy a USED Dodge Caravan--had a significant down payment (17k) and the salesman was so condescending and rude, that I left, drove across the street to the Chevy dealer and bought a brand new Venture...then I drove over to the Dodge Dealer, asked to speak to the Manager and told him that his salesman's behavior cost them a chunk. Loved the look on the guy's face.
About 4 years later, as we traded that van in for a SUB (had more kids!), I nearly wept as we took our belongings out of the van at the dealership. That was the van that we moved from AZ to CO in, the van that brought our babies home from the hospital in, etc. I'm just a sappy sentimental, though, so that's my excuse.

car wash businessman said...

A very sweet & formal way to get things done, many people instead of taking action tend to forgo incidents like this.

Jenny said...

I enjoyed the longer version. More people need to speak up about the lack of "good service" that is given these days.

tammy said...

I'm glad they came through for you. It's always nice to receive an apology. And I just read your story from 'the bad'. Wow. What an adventure that was. Pretty sure I would've been freaking out. Thank goodness for good people. I was especially touched by 'Paul'.

Make Do and Mend said...

That's great. I read both versions. How could you not when you captured our attention with the events leading up to "Blue".

I very frequently let people (or their superiors) know when I'm pleased with their behavior/services. You can really make a person's day with a short walk to the manager's desk to tell them that they have an exemplary employee. It doesn't take much time, and it could really have a big impact.

On the other hand, I don't hesitate to let folks know when I'm displeased. I figure that businesses need to know when they have a "loose cannon" as a point of contact.

I've gotten letters of apology, replacement merchandise, and coupons for free coffee. My husband thinks it is nuts, but he also kind of admires that I have the guts to speak out.

The Watty's said...

You are my kindred spirit of "speak it up"...glad you got some respect in the end. We had a similar experience...keys in their hand getting a trade-in bid...husband gets emergency call from work (FBI AGENT)...tell sales person we have to go four times...30 mins. later they reluctanctly gave back the keys...husband late to catch bad guys...made a call the next day..."Oh, sorry lady." Good luck this school year - may the force be with us all!

Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha! I bet somebody got a major wringing! Salesman generally don't want to look at their own behavior and make changes.

I am so happy things worked out well for you in the end.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Cheeseboy: Sales people or anyone who gets called down rarely change.. The dude probably just did what he was told for public relations..After all he probably needs the job...Call me a cynic, but the way sales people are- they are ruthless and always will be...

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Wow, that's so great that they took your letter to heart and apologized accordingly, very impressive indeed.

I'm so glad you got the car you wanted!

M-Cat said...

Letters for good behavior as well as bad are always a good thing.

I am super surprised that the manager involved came to talk to you and actually apologize for his behavior and thank you for you letter to help him keep himself in check. Props to him

And a new ride is the BEST!

tiburon said...

Good for you for writing the letter and then giving them another chance.

I am bad about grudges...

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