Firstly those with a sensitive disposition should probably stop reading at the end of this first paragraph because what I am about to recount has a particularly unpleasant denouement but is definitely a tale that needs to be told.
Before I start I should mention that this is a true story recounted to me the other day by a still clearly bemused dealership sales manager. Whether he was bemused by what his disgruntled (presumably ex) customer did or by the woeful customer service of his company I never discovered but he was very honest about what occurred and the failings that lead to what happened in the end.
We’ll start this sorry tale at the point our protagonist (we’ll call him Dr Smith to protect the guilty) arrives at the dealership to collect his brand new prestige saloon. Waiting in the reception area for the salesman to arrive and give him the keys to his new car, Dr Smith started to get more and more irritated as the minutes ticked by. Presumably he was thinking something along the lines of “I have spent a lot of money here and should not be kept waiting”. This was exasipated by the reaction of the receptionist (the eyes and ears and customer “face” of the dealership lest we forget) when our man enquired as to what the delay was. “I’m afraid all our sales staff are busy but someone will be with you shortly”.
Eventually a salesman did appear and approach the by now slightly cheesed off Dr Smith but he didn’t remember the man’s name and had to defer to the receptionist for the details. This wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the fact that this was the very man the customer had bought the car from some 6 weeks previously. How quickly they forget.
When they approached the shiny new car everything should have been OK. The man would have forgotten the petty annoyances and both vendor and customer could have moved on with their lives, were it not for the fact that clearly the car had not been prepared properly. Actually it hadn’t been prepared at all and looked as if it had been removed from the transporter and left exactly where it stood.
At this point the salesman admitted he hadn’t been expecting Dr Smith that day and asked, very apologetically, whether or not the gentleman could return in the morning when, he assured him, his car would be fully prepared for collection. Reluctantly our man agreed.
That should be where the story ended but alas the next day the salesman didn’t come into work and, for one reason or another, had neglected to tell anyone about the collection. Yes you guessed it, on return to the dealership the next day the car was still not ready. In fact it hadn’t moved.
Of course Dr Smith was livid, asked to speak to the managing director and basically kicked up a massive stink. Eventually he was calmed down and offered a loan vehicle and promised that the car would be ready the next morning. Champagne and flowers were ordered and everyone calmed down. The next day arrived and luckily for all concerned the car was indeed ready. The customer did not want an elaborate handing over, he just wanted out. He collected his paperwork and the keys and drove off. It took him a while to notice that the mats that had been promised were missing. In fact he noticed that just before he ran out of petrol 5 miles from home. Oh dear.
A rather “difficult” conversation between the customer and the dealership took place which resulted in the dispatch of a salesman and five litres of petrol. Our man was rightly furious. He had spent an awful lot of money and felt he was being treated as nothing more than an afterthought. In fact he wasn’t given much thought at all. He could have blown off some steam and abated his anger by writing a strongly worded letter to the chairman of the company to which he would have hopefully received a robust apology and some form of compensation as a gesture of good will. But it didn’t quite work out like that because the very next morning the car failed to start. A problem with the engine management system was reported on the dash display and back to the dealership on the back of an AA truck it went.
A really quite furious but still composed Dr Smith stood at the reception desk asking what was going to be done about it. The receptionist said she would go and speak with the sales manager. While Dr Smith was waiting he happened to glance down at the paperwork and saw that someone had written “Doctor Dickhead” above his name on a copy of the order form.
At this point Dr Smith completely lost it. He turned around and walked into the showroom and without anyone noticing climbed into the display model version of his car, pulled down his trousers and underwear and had, what can only be described as, a bowel movement on the back seat. He then re-dressed himself emerged from the car, closed the door and walked back to the counter. When the receptionist returned he asked her to call him a taxi and to telephone him when the car was fixed and walked outside. The receptionist and the sales manager were quite relieved to be honest as they were expecting a huge fight.
The Doctors little “message” was not discovered until much later that day when a young couple alerted one of the salesman about “something unpleasant” in the back of one of the display vehicles, which can never be very good for business. Of course no one can prove it was the Doctor but most of the people involved are certain it was him, I mean how many customers disgruntled enough to carry out an impromptu dirty protest do they have?
I wish this story had a happy ending but as far as I know the good Doctor has still not been reunited with the car and by all accounts doesn’t want to be, and “lessons have been learnt” back at the dealership.
Locking the doors on the display models is probably one of them.