Thursday, September 25, 2014

Awesome Daniel the car guy

This is not Daniel, but I'll bet he
has a special chair for his foot.
Car specialists scare me.

I'm intimidated by them because after I fall in love with the perfect vehicle, I can't deal. I can't tough-talk trades and money down while I am thinking I wonder if there are cup holders in the back seat.

It's why I've been with the same car make for fifteen years. Better the dealer you know than the dealer you don't. 

But last spring, I became intrigued by another car I'd passed on the highway. I found a dealer, scheduled a test drive and sat down to a discussion of how to "put me in that car": what did I want to pay per month, what did I expect for my car, would I lease or buy, etc. "I'll be right back," she said.

"I'll be right back" only means one thing, which is that now you'll talk to a Sales Manager and, if you're like me, instantly forget how to add or think on your feet.  

This one placed a foot on the seat of a chair across from me (do guys do this only to be intimidating?) and told me I would not get what I wanted for my car, and would not have a payment that low and would not be able to deal on the price of this car because it was "too hot" right now and yes, I might make a deal, but not the one I wanted. "You're right," I said, and left.

Last week, six months later,  my phone rang.

"Hey! Is this Susan?" asked an exuberant twenty-something who spoke in exclamation points and sounded very much like my son (lucky him).
"It is."
"Hey, Susan! It's Daniel from (name of dealer)!! Are you still looking for a (name of car)?"
"I'm not sure."
"Okay. If you were, what color would you want?"
"Okay, awesome. Like a light gray? Dark?"
"Like a charcoal."
"Okay, sweet. Price range?"
"It depends. I'm kind of happy where I am, now."
"Okay, okay. That's awesome, too."

And so on.

"Has anyone called you since you were in?" he asked.
"Not really."
"I can't believe no one's called you."
"No one has."
"You know what? I'm going to find that car. I'm going to find that car right now. We're going to do this. We're going to do this today."
"I'm not in a hurry."
"I'm calling you before the end of the day and I'll have that car so you'll be near your phone, right?"
"Okay, sweet. I can make this happen."

An hour later.

"I have good news!"
"Tell me."

We made a test-drive date for Saturday.

"Okay, Daniel," I said with a serious face. "I am here to drive this vehicle and get a figure for my car. My husband will come back and make the deal."
"You won't be with him?"
"No. We don't do these things together anymore. I pick the car, he does the deal."
Daniel's face fell.
"Daniel, I just get in the way," I said. "I get emotional and then I get angry during the standing up and walking away part and it's just bad for our relationship."
"Okay, no worries. I get it. So, is he going to rake me over the coals, or what?"
"No, of course not."
"I mean is he going to be mean, or what?"
"No, he just does exhaustive research before we buy a car."
"Is he a big guy?"
"Not especially."
"Okay, that's fair. That's cool."

While we waited for the sales manager to get off the phone and come over to put his foot on the chair, I asked Daniel how long he'd been working there.

"Three months," he said.
"Wow, not long. You like it here?"
"It's awesome. I love these guys. But it wasn't what I planned."
And without batting an eyelash, he said, "No, I mean. People think car dealers are sketchy. And I never thought I'd get through that. But then it's just really awesome when they work with you and see that you're not just total cheese, AND they can get a car they love, too. How awesome is THAT?"

The car sold to someone else. Within twenty-four hours, he'd found another.

And dozen phone calls and 71 texts later Daniel and I made the deal over the phone. No husbands. No sales managers.  

And here is why Daniel's dealership should want very much to keep him.  Because, with only natural enthusiasm for what he loves to do - find the most awesome car - he found common ground with his customer- even when he believed going in that they would assume  he was "sketchy." I know when he's far more experienced, he'll still lead with that excitement for  matching driver and car, and he will accomplish two things in the process: reverse that "sketchy" perception, and make a lot of money.

It's what happens when people do what they should be doing - matching their work with their gifts, much like: drivers with cars. 

It was a good deal. Daniel made money just by showing up, and I won't have to talk to a Sales Manager for at least three more years.  

And how awesome is THAT.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Be outraged while you still can be

Outrage isn't pretty.

It's uncomfortable to be around.
It sounds scary. 
It looks scary.
We avoid people who are outraged.
We should avoid people if we're outraged.

We sympathize, we have opinions, we shake our heads, we get mad and post things on Facebook.

But outrage?
Nobody likes outrage.

I can't remember when I felt it last, that powerless, blind fury.
Whenever it was, I'm sure I moved swiftly to dial it down before making any decision or taking any action that might be regrettable.

Because, it feels bad to be outraged.
It makes your head hot and flushes your face. 
It makes your thoughts swim and your hands tingle.
Your breathing changes, you feel like a stranger to your mild self.

But all I feel, still, over James Foley and Steven Sotloff, is outrage.

And, while I believe outrage must be disposed of properly
like toxic cleaning products
I wonder if I should be so quick to dial it down, this rage. 

It's not often that I feel politically emotional.
It's not often that I stop in the middle of what I'm doing to cry for strangers.

God help us if new events drain our capacity for outrage
When that sleep of tired anger and limp sadness settles over us.
And takes the wind out of our outrage 
God help us when we don't stop to cry for strangers.

And today, I hope our intellectually, culturally, socially, mentally, economically diverse population, with all our well-intentioned, outspoken, measured, powerful and mild, especially the mild, can come together to feel at least one thing about the murders of two journalists who absorbed this attack on all of us:

Until some action of magnitude happens, that wouldn't come about if not for that one thing first, outrage.
Outrage is the only response.