* This is a non-fiction work based on real events, as told to me by a family member, who witnessed them directly; used with permission.
Customers often ask for things that are impossible…but a salesperson shouldn’t pretend something is possible when it isn’t. That’s what a car salesman did when my mom asked if she could buy a brand new Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme in a certain color, and he said yes when the answer should have been no.
My mom was at the market to buy a new car, and she was in love with a burnt orange color she saw on some cars in the showroom. “It was the same color as a shiny new copper penny,” she told me. “Loved it. Love at first sight.”
When my mom went to buy her new car in the 1970s, she told the salesman she wanted the Cutlass in that penny color, and he said, “We can get that car in any color you want. You just have to arrange to pay for it and sign the contract first.”
My mother accepted the deal. She sat down at her desk in a small cubicle to place the order. My mom selected all the features she wanted for the car, and then it was time to select the color, officially.
The salesman gave my mom a booklet and outlined all the colors that were available on the 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. “Pick the color you want,” he told her.
My mother went through the brochure. “The color I wanted is not here,” she said.
“Sorry,” he replied. “The car you want is not that color.”
My mom reminded him that he said she could have any color she wanted as long as she signed the contract first.
“I meant any color in this booklet,” he said, tapping the page. “Here, why don’t you get that golden color? I bet you’ll learn to like it!”
My mother was disappointed, but she had already signed the contract. The car was as good as bought and paid for, and she didn’t want to stink. She reluctantly accepted the color gold, but she never forgot that shiny copper penny color she had seen in the showroom.
“He knew exactly what he was doing,” my mother told me. “Some car salespeople are scammers. They’ll say whatever it takes to close the sale.”
My mom never complained, but she wasn’t a regular customer. She told everyone she knew not to go to that car dealership. If the internet had been a thing back then, I know she would have posted a negative review on Yelp.
Nonetheless, she drove this car every day for twenty years, and when she finally sold it in the 1990s, it still looked like it had been kicked out of the lot in 1970. Shiny gold paint and all.
Has a sales agent ever tricked you into buying something that wasn’t exactly what you wanted? It happened to me too. Comments are welcome.