Gong Show

Notice: Capitalist Elite People’s problem ahead

get it on

Last night, I went to check out the orange car I have been dreaming about getting. Let me say right up front that the place had a big gong on a stand and somebody got to bang it while I was there, so that was pretty cool. Really. It was. Also, the dealership was right next to the new Dress Boutique location. sigh

But other than that, the whole excursion was a disappointment*. I was obviously too early. The 2013 models arrived just this week and the salespeople didn’t know a thing about them. I was obviously the first one to test drive it. Plus, they had no brochures yet so they couldn’t answer my main questions.

Here’s my list of must haves:

  • in-dash navigation
  • auto-dimming mirror

Here’s my list of absolute no-nos:

  • leather seats

Anything else I could take it or leave it. Sure 12-speaker surround sound would be nice but I won’t wither without it. Panoramic sun roof? I have a sun roof in my current car and you know what happens when I open it? THE SUN SHINES RIGHT ON ME. Ew. So I never open it. Heated steering wheel? Heated seats? Never gonna use them. When will they offer cooling seats? That I might invest in.

Now I think that we’re all pretty much resigned to the idea of packages – bundling of features that you have to buy in in order to get the thing you really want. But here’s a new twist: for this car if you want the package that has the navigation in it, you are required to get the package that has the leather seats. Is that bullshit or what? And there’s no getting around it.

So my main question was: if I get the model with cloth seats, can you install the navigation into that one? Answer: yes. Well, I don’t know. Maybe. Probably. We have to check. Then the floor manager had to get involved and suggest that I get a just go out and get a Garmin Nuvi for myself instead.


[Okay. Let’s pause here to ponder the personal journey of Suzette. I always believed the folk tale that car salesmen were slick and too skilled in manipulation for you to get anything except what they want to sell you. Top that off with the patriarchal bullshit that women are sitting ducks for extra charges of because they are car-dumb so don’t even try it, lady. Turns out that’s not true. I wasn’t even trying to match wits with them. I was only going to nail down the model and features I wanted and to make sure I like the shade of orange. Once that was done I’d go home and I’d send in Mr. Born In The Shadow of The Khan Kalili And I Don’t Mind Keeping You Here Haggling For Five Days to talk money.

Now in all honesty, I’m not much to look at. On a good day you might say that I upgraded my look to “unassuming”. I came wobbling in with my cane, didn’t even have my giant-but-believable QVC diamonique ring which I sometimes wear to quietly intimidate people and I wasn’t wearing any make-up. So I guess I came across as the type of person who doesn’t understand the difference between a built-in 8″ touch screen and the must-have Walmart bestseller of 2004. Maybe I brought it on myself. After all, I willingly appeared to be mildly astonished as the salesman explained how I could hook up an iPod to “play my favorite music anytime I wanted to hear it” but this was too much. 

In a not-unpleasant way, I let them know did my field research on countless rental cars so I knew exactly what I wanted. I didn’t really want to burn let alone scorch anything so I stopped there but I can’t help it if my natural expression is the Unblinking Lithuanian Stare-Down.  Hell, THEY should have been wearing makeup to see ME. In the end, I gave them two action items and a target date to get back to me. BOOM. How you like me now?]

The salesman went out to check the price of an after-market navigator and the manager came back with an option for a fancy oversized rear view mirror that had a navigator on 1/3 of the mirror. Like ok, if you go to a restaurant and ask for Chateaubiand and the chef comes out of the kitchen to say they don’t have it but here’s a nice meatball – that the same thing, right?

In the end, the price of an added navigator – if they could even do it – came back to be more than the on-line MSRP of all the packages together. I do not have total confidence in the competency of that sales team. Maybe they were just tired and didn’t really need my business. Next time, I’m going to a different dealership early in the day. And I’m going to wear the ring.

* Not really. I was thrilled by the tight little turning radius. That is a thing that’s very important to me because I don’t like to back up** unless I really have to so I do A LOT of tight turns. And curb jumps. Whatever. At least I’m not backing up.

** or turn left. I do it if I have to but I try to arrange things so that I don’t have to. It’s just how I am.

Also, the orange color turns out to be Copper Canyon. And it is the dullest, most sedate orange that you can get and still be orange.

14 thoughts on “Gong Show”

  1. seeing as how you will soon have an iphone.. i highly recommend skipping the nav in car system.. NOT WORTH THE MONEY. I never use our Garmin.. my phone is my guide . have run it at same time as garmin.. i get the same voice directions, etc. as for color. the brighter orange would fade quickly. i like the copper. moonroofs are ucky. i must reasearch that article on edumunds for you..

    1. Goes to show you… we won’t buy a car that doesn’t have a winter package: bun warmers, heated ext. mirrors, etc. I do agree viz. leather seats, even though the kid has grown up. (The only time we ever bought a car with leather a 3-year old spilled orange soda the Very Next Day.)

  2. Marketing is everything. No car company touts “heated” car seats in Arizona. We don’t have “sun” roofs in our cars either, we have “moon” roofs.

    We have to cover our steering wheels if the car sits in the sunlight, so sitting on a leather seat would be the same as a S&M experience.

  3. I got heated seats, but only because they came with *the package* on the car I bought. Since I live in Los Angeles, I thought this was completely silly. But, I have to say, there are times when I absolutely love turning them on. Heated seats are fabulous if you have a back ache. I know this might seem counter productive, but I turn the seat on hot and the air conditioning on freezing…and you’ve got a virtual spa in the car!

    Also, I think Cadillac has heating/cooling seats and steering wheel. Or it might be Lexus. Either way, it’s out there.

    Also, I concur on using your phone for GPS. Unless you get Onstar in your car, your phone is probably better than any “in car” options or after market GPS units.

  4. Hyundai has Blue Link that is supposed to work like OnStar. That was the selling point for me on our now Sonata. It sort of makes up for the name which I can’t resist pronouncing snot-ta.
    OnStar saved my bacon 3 or 4 times in snow slide-offs. Now that I’m not a spring chicken sliding into a snow cover ditch has lost a lot of it’s charm.

  5. I love, love, love the leather seats in my Rav 4. They are light gray so they don’t get too hot and I’ve noticed much less wet back and butt since switching to leather from fabric. I do use the heated seats a few times in the winter and they are great if your legs or back are achy. Also love my Garmin. Seems like it would be harder to update a built-in and if it dies, much more expensive to fix. I don’t have an I-Phone, so my Droid doesn’t speak directions which makes it useless while driving. We rented a Prius in Arizona for a week a few years back (that was a joke all in itself). I found the huge in dash display rather distracting, but I brought my Garmin with me and used that anyway.

  6. Lithuanian stare-down indeed! I should have known that you were Lithuanian American when you posted about lamb cake and kielbasa! I am proud to have such a witty Lithuanian-American lady blogging. (My maiden name is Kasputis, and I make lamb cakes every Easter, and out here in Virginia nobody knows what a lamb cake is until you show them. They think it’s some odd type of lamb meatloaf. In Chicago, you can buy them at the grocery at Eastertime.)

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