A free shotgun?

Really, a free shotgun?

I started in the car business on June 1, 1977 as a “trainee” (mail room guy and car washer) for Chrysler Corporation. I did not get into the retail car business, owning my own dealership until 1994 (yes I am old).

It’s a crazy business and I have seen a lot of truly silly things. These are just some:

  • A free shotgun: Dodge trucks actually gave a free shotgun with every pickup bought. The dealer had to carry a supply of shotguns to hand out at delivery! You had to go get your own ammunition, however.

  • The free breathalyzer: The Oldsmobile dealer group in New York City gave away a “free portable” breathalyzer if you bought your car any time before New Year’s Eve. So you are THINKING about getting drunk?

  • Free Turkey: I saw a dealer offer a “FREE TURKEY” if you bought a car in November. Remind you, not “turkeys for life”, just one free turkey. I always wondered how many people who were thinking of buying a car the next Spring bought their car 5 months ahead of time because they were going to get a turkey. “Hey Martha, we were thinking about buying the Malibu in the Spring, but HOT DAMN we get a turkey NOW!”

  • The “half payment”: So a dealer advertises that the “payment” on his grand Cherokee is only $299. What he did not tell you is that the payment is every two weeks, not once per month. Why not just quote an “hourly” payment?

  • “Buy one car get one free”: It sounded like a deal but you had to buy the new car at list price then the dealer had a bunch of old rusty “clunkers” you could choose for free. Ostensibly, you could get a nice car for you and give a rustbucket  to give someone you hate.

  • The worst “ad car” I ever saw.  A dealer in New York in the early 80’s purposely ordered more vehicles than he needed for a commercial account. The company’s colors were green and orange two tone. He purposely tried to make the vehicles as ugly, cheap and unappealing as possible so he could advertise a low price. He ordered them as stick shift and without air conditioning or power steering or brakes and with vinyl interiors in his words “because if a customer is so cheap to buy one of these, make him sweat”.

You can’t make this stuff up !