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Test Driving Away Your Customers

, , , , , , | Working | October 13, 2021

My partner and I found ourselves needing to buy a car at short notice. We narrowed down our choices of second-hand cars online and then arranged test drives for two cars in the same dealership, a branch of a national chain. I spoke to a salesman who offered us an appointment time. There was a little bit of confusion during the call over my first name, as it is a traditional Irish name that sounds a little like a Biblical name but is spelt completely differently.  

We arrived promptly, and then sat and waited for fifteen minutes until the salesman I had spoken to sauntered in with no apology or explanation for his lateness. After some small talk:

Salesman: “[My Name] is a bit funny, isn’t it?”

He laughs at his own insult.

Me: “Nope, it’s just Irish. It can sometimes be confusing over the phone, though.”

We did the necessary paperwork, gave him all the details of the cars we wanted to see, and waited a few more minutes for him to locate them in the lot, and then he took us out to look at them.

Salesman: “Do you have any pets?”

Partner: “Yes, a cat.”

Salesman: “Ugh, you don’t want a cat; they don’t love you. I have a puppy!”

Fortunately, at this point, we arrived at the right model and colour of car… except it was £2,000 more expensive than on the website and the license plate number — which we had provided the salesman twice at this point — didn’t match. He had taken us to the wrong car, either through incompetence or a clumsy attempt at an upsell. We finally got to the right vehicle.

We noticed that he hung the rear test drive licence plate from the windscreen wiper rather than the boot latch as we had seen at another dealership, but we didn’t think much of it. Then, we got in the car and found it was nearly out of petrol — not a great start — and completely out of windscreen fluid — even worse as this means the car was technically illegal to drive until the fluid was refilled. We had no way to tell whether the car had no fluid because of a leak or if it simply hadn’t been topped up. We spent five minutes in the car before my partner was too uncomfortable to keep driving and we returned to the dealership. While we waited for the salesman to notice us, we took the first chance we had been given to inspect the car and realised that the boot wouldn’t open. The guy came over to see how we were doing.

Partner: “The car is completely out of windscreen fluid and almost out of petrol.”

Salesman: “That’s all right!”

Partner: “Okay… And the boot doesn’t open.”

The salesman tugs theatrically at the boot handle.

Salesman: “Oh, the latch must just be broken.”

Well, yes, I thought, that’s the problem! And it explained why he hung the test plate as he did; clearly, he knew about the issue and was hoping we wouldn’t notice.

Me: “Right, well, can we look at the other one?”

Salesman: “Yeah, just let me get it.”

We waited another ten minutes for him to find the car.

Salesman: “Actually, it’s out of petrol, so I’m just going to nip across to the petrol station. Sit tight.”

After another twenty minutes of waiting, we had now been in the dealership for over an hour and we had spent maybe fifteen minutes in the presence of an actual vehicle. We explained the issues with the first car to the branch manager who had been lurking near us through most of our appointment, and he was just as dismissive as the salesman. We decided — in hindsight, far too late — to cut our losses and leave, but we first had to explain ourselves to another salesperson, the branch manager, and then the salesman himself, who returned with the car just as we were making our escape.

The whole thing was so weird and awkward that I left a negative review explaining how rude and strange the salesman was and saying that we didn’t feel we could trust cars from that dealership, so we would purchase elsewhere. We got a standard, “Sorry about your experience; we will investigate,” reply and thought that would be that. But a few weeks later, I happened to notice that the reply had been updated at some point:

Social Media Representative: “We’re pleased to hear you have been contacted and have accepted our apology.”

This was a complete lie; we hadn’t heard from them since we fled the dealership a month earlier. I added an edit to this effect to the review and have had no reply. We have since bought another car from somewhere completely different, and it is serving us very well, but the whole situation still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

The Art Of Showing Off

, , , , , , | Legal | September 16, 2021

One day, after picking up a few friends in my car, we happened to drive past an art gallery that had a display about art’s role in advertising and marketing. One of my friends works in that area, so he was pointing out some interesting parts of the display through my window to the other passengers as I was parked next to it waiting for the lights to change.

Just as the light turned green, a police officer started knocking very aggressively on my passenger side window. I rolled the window down and asked the officer what was happening. He pointed aggressively at my friend.

Officer: “You! Out of the car right now!”

As you can imagine, we were all very confused. As my friend got out of the car, the vehicles behind me were all beeping their horns because I was blocking traffic, but the officer closed the door as soon as my friend got out and wouldn’t let anyone else in the car follow. I asked him what he wanted us to do.

Officer: “I don’t care. Get lost.”

We had missed the light, so we had to wait for the next green light, at which point I parked in the first space I could find so that the cop couldn’t get me on a traffic offence. This took five minutes, and we were just about to get out of the car and go find my friend when he came walking along.

Friend: “Hey! Where did you go?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, [Friend]. The cop made us leave. We were just coming back for you. What happened?”

Friend: “Oh, you’re not going to believe this. He thought I had stuck my finger up at him. I told him that he was mistaken — I was pointing at the art exhibit — but he wouldn’t believe me. He asked me if I could prove my story and I was like, ‘No, you made my friends leave!’ I think he was trying to show off for his partner, because he asked his partner if he had seen anything and he just looked really uncomfortable and said no. That’s why he let me leave.”

Unfortunately, he didn’t get the officer’s badge number and decided to let it go instead of filing a complaint.

Working At A Bar Isn’t As Glamorous As It Sounds

, , , , , , | Working | September 10, 2021

Many years ago, I worked in a trendy bar in the centre of Glasgow. The team was very cliquey and would often stop to chat between themselves and customers, even when we were really busy. It got to the point where I was the only person trusted to leave the bar area, do a job, and come back without wasting time. That’s how it fell to me to take all of the bins out, collect glasses, and replenish the stock.

One day, I was putting some rubbish bags in our holding area and noticed one of our metal buckets — used for serving multiple bottles of beer — balanced precariously on top of a number of bags. It started to tip toward me, but I caught it before it fell, which turned out to be extremely lucky because it was filled with vomit.

I took it inside and tipped the contents down the toilet before disposing of the bucket and starting to make enquiries about who was responsible for this. Eventually, someone directed me toward [Coworker] and we had this little chat.

Me: “Hey, [Coworker]. Did you have to clean up someone’s puke earlier?”

Coworker: “Oh, hey, yeah. It was disgusting, but y’know, I was the only guy on duty and it was in the gents, so needs must.”

Me: “Yeah, that makes sense, but why did you use one of our good beer buckets?”

Coworker: “[Manager] told me to do it.”

Me: “Ah, right. Did [Manager] tell you not to empty it and to stack it on top of a pile of bin bags?”

Coworker: “Erm, no. I just didn’t think.”

Me: “Okay, you’re a lucky guy, then.”

Coworker: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Well, when I took the bins out, the bucket nearly fell on me. Let me tell you, if it had, then you and I would be taking this outside right now. As I said, you’re a lucky man.”

[Coworker] stared at me until he realised I wasn’t joking and then pretty much ran off. I’m not a particularly violent or scary guy, but I think my anger was quite apparent. Whatever. It never happened again.

Shaken, Stirred, And Totally Served

, , , , , , , , , | Right | July 27, 2021

I am third in the queue at a local supermarket. At the counter, there is a lovely, polite, elderly lady with the telltale jerking movements of Parkinson’s. Her voice is a little slurred, soft, and monotonous.

Lady: “I’m sorry I’m so slow. Can I just get these?”

She puts through five items, mostly lunch stuff.

Cashier: “No worries, not a problem at all! Would you like a bag?”

The next customer cuts in.

Man: “Well, I’m f****** worried! You shouldn’t be allowed out in public like that.”

He gets up in the old lady’s face.

Cashier: “Stop that immediately!”

Man: “Listen, b****, I shouldn’t have to wait in line because some old f***** can’t handle her highs!”

Meanwhile, the old lady is calmly putting her stuff in her bag… except for a can of soda which she holds in her hand.

Cashier: “Excuse me. That is my mother, and she has Parkinson’s Disease; it is a neurological degenerative condition that causes those movements.”

The manager can be seen approaching but is still a few moments away.

Man: “Like f*** she is! She’s just high!”

The lady opens the now very well-shaken can of soda and proceeds to drop it at the man’s feet, causing it to spurt upward in a jet of foam and thoroughly soak him.

Lady: “Oh, I’m terribly sorry! I have Parkinson’s disease. There was a spasm in my hand and I let go of it. I’m soooooo sorry!”

The other customer shouts for a bit and then gets thrown out by the manager.

The elderly lady then waits at the end of the checkout to speak to her daughter after she finishes serving me, and that’s when I notice her mischievous grin.

Me: “You totally meant to do that, didn’t you?” *Smirks*

Lady: “H*** yeah, I did!” *Smiles sweetly* “I may have Parkinson’s, but I can still deal with an a**hole or two!”

This story is part of our Best Of July 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of July 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of July 2021 roundup!

Cut This Lesson Short

, , , , , , , | Learning | April 26, 2021

My mother is a high school maths teacher working with some of the younger and more difficult students. To try and encourage her students, she stamps their work with various motivational phrases.

A few minutes after giving her class back their homework, she notices one student looking a bit puzzled for a few minutes before putting his hand up.

Student: “Miss, what’s a eunuch?”

Although this isn’t exactly a maths question, my mum decides to try and answer anyway.

Mum: “Uh, well, a long time ago, in some countries, nobles used to have lots of wives or girlfriends who were all housed in special rooms within their palaces. You know how dogs can get neutered to prevent them having puppies? Well, they used to do that to some of their male servants so that they could be trusted to look after the women, and those servants were called eunuchs.”

As you can imagine, all of the students in the class have stopped what they were doing and are watching this scene. The student looks even more puzzled and a bit angry.

Student: “Well, why did you call me a eunuch, then?”

Mum: “What? What are you talking about? When did I call you a eunuch?”

Student: “You did! You wrote it on my homework!”

Mum: “I don’t know what you’re talking about! Show me.”

The student stormed up to her desk with his homework in hand and showed her the message she had stamped on it. What did it say?

“You’re unique.”