What kind of car are you looking for?

After a long and winding trip dropping out of law school, bicycling down the coast of California, I needed a place to live. Mom and Dad welcomed me back home. I needed some sort of income. I heard there was a Car Dealership hiring sales people. When I called they said I could come in any time before 8 pm to chat with the manager. I thought he was just staying late that night. Only after I was hired did I find out everybody worked till 8 pm- every night.

The sales people were supposed to sit smiling staring out the window waiting for our next potential customer. No reading newspapers, or books, no anything. That was torture. A farmer came wearing his bib overalls. Nobody wanted to wait on him so I did. Turns out he had $25,000 in cash in his pocket. When the manager found that out he shoved me aside. This farmer bought a Crown Vic. The manager ended up paying me $50 for my “help” on the sale. I demanded more. He gave me another $50. I was beginning to think this was not the job for me.

We had pep meetings every morning at 8:30. Country Music was the only good thing on the radio back then back in Northwest Ohio. Driving to work George Jones was on. When I walked into the sales meeting all I would do was constantly quote Mr. Jones, “I put a golden band on the right left hand this time, And the right left hand put a golden band on mine” over and over. My fellow sales folks thought I was funny. My boss did not. I was beginning to think this might not be the best job for me.

Later that month a 19 year old kid paid the full sticker price for an old Jeep. He had no idea he was supposed to talk the price down. I felt guilty selling it to him. As part of his purchase my Boss told him if anything should break in the first 30 days he would give this young man a 20 percent discount on repairs.

Well, two weeks later the kid comes in. Seems the water pump gave out on his Jeep. I just happened to be standing by the service counter overhearing the Boss ask the service clerk if she knew how to write this up. She said she knew how to take twenty percent off. The Boss said first you have to figure out twenty percent extra on scrap paper then list that inflated price as the charge on the service order then take the twenty percent off of that so the customer feels good seeing the discount.

I was pissed. The Boss already charged this kid too much for his Jeep. Not keeping a promise and a contract was too much. I looked at him and said, “I’m giving my two week notice.” To which the Boss just said, “If you feel that way just clear out now.” Out I walked and never looked back. I had finally decided this was not the job for me.

Tony Toledo, June 5, 2016

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