My wife and I went to the Providence Auto Show last night. It was as only Rhode Island could do it—boring.
We now get in as “seniors” so the tickets were $6 each. I gave the woman a hundred dollar bill, and she needed a calculator to determine we were to receive $88 in change. She used a crayon on the bill, to ensure we didn’t give her a counterfeit.
(Digression: Most states are now abandoning cursive writing in the school systems, which means that students will no longer be able to read notes from Thomas Jefferson or Civil War generals, or grocery lists from their parents. I have nothing against keyboard skills—I type 60 words per minute—but I can read and write cursively and do math in my head. We are raising a generation of idiots by constantly lowering the bar. At least bank tellers won’t hand over the money when a robber slides a note across the counter, since they won’t be able to read it.)
The car show had no attractive women draped over exotic cars, nor exotic women with attractive cars. There was a single Bentley (the mammoth Mulsanne which my dealer insisted I sit in a few days ago in the showroom and which immediately aged me 20 years), a Mercedes SLS (very sharp, but far too small). Both of these, by the way, were roped off. There was a lone 2013 Corvette—locked.
There was no music, no excitement, and no sales efforts. I wandered through the Mercedes area, and while I probably look like a schlump, my wife had on a fur coat. (The animals all died of old age, don’t send me letters.) As I looked at the $200,000 SLS and a $125,000 SL, NO ONE APPROACHED ME. There were hardly any visitors, I could have bought both cars on the spot, but the staff had other things to do—chatting, looking at the ceiling, respiring.
We toured both floors spent maybe 30 minutes in the place, then went to dinner. The GM people WERE very nice. When I told them that Hurd Chevrolet had twice failed to send me anything since indicating I was interested in buying a 2014 Corvette (a “toy” which I think I’m due to go get the mail), they organized to get me a different local dealer’s vice president and someone near Cleveland (!!) who could help me. One woman chased me down the hall to give me one of the names. That’s a good reason to once again buy American!
I don’t know what it costs to mount this debacle, but if the Convention Center, visitors’ bureau, and all those car companies want to gain some ROI, I’m the best solo consultant in the world and I return all my calls within 90 minutes.
I’ll get you on the right track. Right now, you have car trouble.
© Alan Weiss 2013