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AN AMERICAN STORY, PART ONE
By "new" I was thinking dependable used. And American. My mate and I, though we tend to be globalist in our thinking, always bought American cars, there being very little else in the category of general merchandise of American provenance that one can purchase.
I went online and scanned the wares of the local Ford dealerships for a reputable-looking Focus. I'd heard that the inventory of cars was low nationwide. Apparently global auto production has been slashed due to a shortage of computer chips. Meanwhile consumer demand that had been pent-up during the COVID-19 pandemic was now bursting through the floodgates. People wanted cars in the midst of a car shortage.
The inventory of Ford Foci in my town was indeed scant. Still, I managed to find one single vehicle that appeared promising and available.
It was late on a Tuesday afternoon - Tuesday June 15, as I recall - when Tom and I made our way to the Ford dealership that had advertised the good used Ford Focus. We found the used car lot crowded - well, crowded for a Tuesday afternoon - with people perusing the cars for sale. We joined the perusers and wandered up and down the aisles looking for our Focus. We came across a couple of Foci, but none of them were the one I'd seen online.
"Is it me," I said to Tom, "or does it seem weird that all these customers are wandering around a used car lot without a salesperson landing on them and sticking like flypaper?"
"Yeah, that is weird," said Tom.
Apparently the shortage was not only in cars, but in people to sell the cars, likely in line with the shortage of workers in general since the pandemic.
"You know," said I, "maybe we ought to check out buying a new car?"
We crossed over to the new car lot and saw a plethora of shiny new over-sized pick-up trucks, but no Foci or much of anything else in the non-truck category. We entered the showroom where there were a few more shiny new trucks on display but no cars. And no sales personnel. We stood around the showroom for a few moments then headed back to the used lot.
Finally we found a salesman who seemed a tad put out that we hadn't called for an appointment before showing up, to which I replied - in my head of course - do you think all those folks out there looking around your lot called for an appointment?!
Anyway, the salesman deemed to assist us and two other customers at the same time, which meant we all had to wait while he rotated among us. Turned out the Focus I'd seen online had been sold. However a cute candy apple red Ford Escape caught my eye.
"Oh, that one's more expensive," the haughty merchant said down his nose.
Just lemme drive the damn car! I said back at him, again only in my head.
I tried the Escape. I liked the Escape. I wanted to buy the Escape. My salesperson, however, was busy at his desk writing up a sale for another customer. He requested that I wait. I said nah, I'd come back tomorrow. He said tomorrow wouldn't work because he'd be on vacation until next Tuesday. I said I'd be back tomorrow and added in my head, Mr. See You Next Tuesday.
I planned to return to the Ford dealership the following afternoon in hopes that my Ford Escape would still be there along with some other high-handed salesperson to sell it to me.
The next morning I had my usual Wednesday morning get-together with my Panera Posse, which formerly met at Panera but since the pandemic has met online (see post from 4/10/2020, "The Posse Rides Again").
After I hung up on my friends I approached my mate.
"I don't want to go back to the Ford dealer," I said. "I don't want a Ford Escape. I want a car with low CO2 emissions. I want a Toyota Prius hybrid. A new one."
To be continued...