Not a single customer had come into Parkland Chevrolet during the first four hours it had been open on Saturday, so when sales representative Andrew Perkins saw a couple pull into the lot at half-past one he was on them faster than a bee on a perfume drenched woman standing outside with a glass of soda.
“Hello folks, how can I help you today?” the ever eager Andrew asked.
“My wife and I came here hoping to test drive one of your trucks,” the man said.
“Excellent. Which model did you have in mind – the Colorado or the Silverado?”
“The Silverado please,” the man answered.
“Nice. The Silverado has lots of nice features,” Andrew then said before launching into everything that Chevrolet thought made the Silverado special. He talked about its engine, its towing capacity, what it got in mileage, and about all the great discounts being offered at the moment.
“What style of cab were you looking at?” he then asked.
“Just a regular cab. It’s only the wife and I,” the customer said.
“And what about the box? Short, standard or long?”
“I like the look of the long, but the little woman here thinks we can get by with just the standard.”
“It’s not as if we’re in the business of hauling around giant boulders all day,” the wife said.
Andrew then grabbed a set of keys, and after writing down their contact information, he let Carl and Judy Donner head off on their test drive. They weren’t even off the lot before he started daydreaming about his boss congratulating him on what would come out to be a thirty thousand dollar sale. His boss would love him even more if he talked them into an extended warranty, undercoating, and other upsells. Yup, it had the potential to be a good day after all.
Twenty minutes passed. Then thirty. Then forty-five. Then an hour with no sign of Carl and Judy.
“Where did those two take the bloody thing?” he asked himself. “The next county? Even a spin out on the highway shouldn’t take this long.”
Half an hour later they were back, all apologetic.
“Sorry to have been gone so long,” Carl apologized. “We got out onto the highway, opened it up, and then lost all track of time.”
“No worries,” Andrew said, not wanting to let his frustration get in the way of a sale. “What did you think?”
“We loved it!” Judy exclaimed. “We’ve only ever owned sedans, but I can see why so many people like trucks. They strike me as handy.”
“That they are. Shall we go into my office and discuss things further?”
“Sorry, but we have to get going,” Carl said. “We want to test drive a F150 before we make any decisions. You understand, I’m sure.”
“Absolutely,” Andrew said, hiding the dejection he felt. “You want to be comfortable with whatever you buy. Here’s my card. Give me a call once you’re done with your other test drives. I assure you, there’s nothing like a Chevrolet.”
The three of them shook hands and then parted ways. After Carl and Judy had left the lot, Andrew headed over to the Silverado to put it back where it belonged. He wasn’t in the cab two seconds before he noticed it: a three hundred dollar receipt from Wal-Mart.
“Oh man, not again!” Andrew said.
Yes, again, for the fourth time that week. Wal-Mart was having a clearance sale on all of their patio furniture. You can’t fit a rectangular table, six chairs, and an umbrella in the trunk of a car, but you can load it onto the back of a pickup truck. Carl and Judy Donner had no intention of buying a pickup truck that day. They just needed something that was good for hauling things around for a bit.
Monday morning the sales manager announced a new rule: there would be no more test drives unless a sales rep went out with the customer. The Carl and Judy Donners of the world were going to have to find a new way to get their large purchases home.