I’ve been rehearsing and strategizing all spring for getting a third family vehicle so the little high school graduate will be indpendent and free once she hits the world of work and college this summer (not to mention I can have my pickup back to myself!). So I’m getting ready to wheel and deal. Here’s the thread of correspondence I initiated yesterday with our local Toyota dealer, Courvelle Toyota in Opelousas, Louisiana.
The first entry is the saleman’s response to my initial internet query. He wrote,
“Mr Pulling my name is Eric Halpern and I sell here @ Courvelle Toyota. To answer your questions we do have some black camry’s new and the price that I can sell you an automatic car will start @ 19,490 plus tax title and lisc. I guarantee that I will save you the most time and money. Please call me to set up an appointment so I can show you what I have to offer. I look forward to here from you.
Best wishes Eric S Halpern “
That’s a good basic beginning to the communication. I replied as follows:
“Nice to hear from you, Eric. My wife’s bringing her own 2005 black Camry in tomorrow to the body shop at 2:00 so your co-workers can fix the trunk latch (you know how it is, those cheap Japanese cars!). If I’m not too busy at work, I may tag along with her. But I have to tell you, I won’t buy her a new black Camry unless she really wants one, or if my 18 year old daughter wants Mom to get a 2007 black Camry so the daughter can have the 2005. Women are quite complicated, in case you haven’t learned that. But I’m dear old dad–I do my best to placate them, and fortunately the end result is usually good.
Now, I reasoned, I would find out if Eric has a sense of humor. Eric replied as follows before the end of the day yesterday (Monday):
I’m pleased that you were able to reply to my email. Tomorrow I will arrange to have a new 2007 Camry around to show your wife and daughter the new features and what has changed for the new generation Camry. As a family familiar with the Camry and the Toyota product I will refrain from selling the car ,but merely show the features, the advantages and the benefit of those features.( because the car practically sells itself)Tomorrow will be a time for your wife and daughter to gather information and for me to answer any questions they may have. I do hope you are able to find a few minutes so I can show dear old dad what investment his money maybe going towards.
Notice I’m addressed now as “Mr. David.” (I like that–it shows he’s apparently a young man, and he’s taken clues from my correspondence that I’m an “elder.”) He continues to show a little sense of humor, and I like that, too. Here’s my latest reply to him, sent this morning, in which I take a little more risk, assuming that he has a good nature upon which I can prevail:
“Hmmmmm–Sounds like you’re on the girls’ side, Eric. I guess I’ll have to watch you closely–My Dad always warned me about “slick talkin’ salesmen,” especially car salesmen. You realize that appealing to the weaker sex’s impulse and desire for pretty little things (like new cars?) borders on unprofessional and solicitous manipulation? Yes, young man, I will be watching you closely!
To your credit, you addressed me as “Mr.” David, which shows you have good upbringing. So, for the time being, I must continue to give you the benefit of any doubt. You also sign your messages “Have a blessed day,” which shows further evidence of character. And, you are prompt in your replies, showing a responsible business ethic.
On those grounds, I cautiously look forward to meeting you. Just be careful how you manipulate the ladies’ when you show them the car!
See ya’ later, (hoping the rain stops b/c we can’t bring that car with the trunk tied shut across the Parish in the rain),
David Pulling “
Eric’s final reply (to the message above) shows a certain deference but also a tone of sales-savvy coyness. Hadn’t I better watch my pocketbook?:
I have a car picked out to show the women in your life and it will be out of the weather under a canopy to protect them from the elements. As for a little back ground on myself I come from a small family, both my parents are teachers of 32 years. I also am happily married and have been for 7 1/2 years with two boys of my own.Your are correct as for young I’m 27years old and have been selling cars for 8 years and 3 of them with Courvelle Toyota.
As for what will be accomplished today is merely a show and tell session. Thanks again for the response and the kind words. Best wishes Eric S Halpern.”
That’s where we’ll leave it for now. By the end of the day, perhaps there will be more, or maybe even “the rest” of this story.
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