Sunday, 21 August 2011

‘Ello Jane, got a new motor?

Most species on Earth have evolved over the millennia. Some have grown legs and adapted to life on land, many have lost their tails and the slower ones just host the Footy Show.

Others, however appear to have made little progress since they unexpectedly developed a second cell and thought “Now what in Hell am I supposed to do with that?”

Amongst this latter group, we must unfortunately include the Car Dealer. Watching this species in action is like being caught in a weird time warp, hovering in between the Creature from the Black Lagoon and an endless loop of 70’s Minder episodes.

I had assumed that the old stereotype of the car dealer, whereby on leaving you not only check your credit cards and jewellery, but also do a quick inventory of your major organs, had gone. However, spending an hour at my local Hyundai dealer in Melville this weekend left me wondering if, when the dealership lights are switched on in the morning, do these guys all have to restrain themselves from the urge to run under the fridge?

The main man, known only by a set of initials, (because everyone knows that’s way cooler than having a real name) was clearly too important to spend all but a cursory few seconds talking to me. No doubt having been put in the Middle Aged Female - Easy Prey category, I was handed over to an affable minion with mesmerizingly bad teeth and a physique that was clearly modelled on a lava flow. He may not have had the body of an athlete, but it was altogether possible he’d eaten a couple for breakfast.

I did a test drive of the car of my choice which passed quite pleasantly while the salesman told me all about himself and I organised to return two days later for a valuation to be done on my own vehicle.

This was where it got interesting. I returned on a busy Saturday at the tail end of a promotion and the place was abuzz. There seemed to be lots of salesmen but they clearly felt safer hanging out in pairs in case they were separated from the herd and picked off by wily potential customers.

The call was put out for the Expert Valuer, who was referred to in such reverential tones that I suspected he was actually a Jedi Valuer.

I realise now how vulnerable I was in this evolutionary backwater where respect is meted out in direct proportion to the testosterone exuded. I was a single, middle aged blonde with a teenage daughter, trying to trade in her European convertible for something with a bit more substance. Effectively, I was a wounded antelope turning up at a lion family reunion barbecue. The sound of salivation was deafening.

After much waiting and, to give him credit, a number of rapid apologies from Initial Man as he oozed past, the Commandment from the Jedi Valuer was presented. Initial Man and Lava Boy gathered and looked Simultaneously Solemn as they drew in their breath over their teeth and quoted Chapter 1, Verse 1 of the Red Book. ‘Thou shalt get only 50% of what thy vehicle is worth because thou shalt not know any better being as you’re a woman without a man.’

I strongly suspect that I will receive a phone call in the next day or so giving me the good news that he’s found someone prepared to take on my car as a favour and actually pay me another thousand dollars or two over the price he gave me, now that I’ve been softened up and left to contemplate the worthlessness of my chosen mode of transport. This will of course still be some $7,000 shy of the trade-in price on the RedBook valuation certificate I have just purchased, but I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head over that, should I?

Perhaps I should question my own intellectual evolution, for ever have expected anything better.