ETA: Who’s the worst saleswoman in the entire world? I AM! Have an e-book!
With all the news about Toyota going belly-up and killing people through epic incompetence, I have to admit—I’m a little worried about my parents. They were stalwart Ford owners for decades, largely because they kept buying used cars, and for some unknown reason a lot of people were unloading Fords. Now, though, they’ve switched their brand loyalty to Toyota. They bought a Prius and gave my brother their pickup truck, complete with gun rack and dead raccoons, and when someone turned left into my dad’s mini-SUV, they replaced it with a Yaris.
Yes, my parents owned an SUV (“A MINI-SUV!” my mother protested) and a Prius. Simultaneously. The irony level in their driveway was enough to kill a man, I tell you.
So they’ve switched to Toyota and Toyota’s having massive recalls and really guys, I just don’t feel good about this. We owned a 1991 Ford Aerostar when I was a kid, the one that got recalled for having a faulty middle seat that would fall out of the van if it got T-boned. Mom and dad knew about the problem, they even told us about it, but did they ever get that shit fixed? Of course not! Ten years later, that van was a rusted-out hulk in our driveway, seats still proudly intact and completely defective.
Guess who always sat in the middle seat? Yeah, that would be me. THANKS, MOM AND DAD, FOR NOT LOVING ME ENOUGH TO GET THAT TAKEN CARE OF.
I can’t really blame them, though—it’s not that they didn’t love me (although they clearly didn’t), it’s just that they are seemingly incapable of returning items to the store. I was fully eighteen years old before I even saw someone I knew return something that hadn’t worked out. My first college roommate was all, “I don’t need these binder clips after all, give me back my seven bucks. Wah-bam!” And lo, they gave her back her seven bucks. It was like magic. I didn’t even know you could do that.
Compare that to my parents’ approach when the printer they bought me for college turned out to be a complete lemon. “We’ll just have to buy you another one during Fall Break,” my dad sighed over the phone when I told him that tech services, prayer, and an exorcism had all failed to take care of the issue. I frowned, because A.) Fall Break was a month away, and I had many papers due between then and now; and B.) My roommate’s triumph with the binder clips was still fresh in my memory.
“Daddy, can’t we just, I don’t know, return it?”
“We don’t have the receipt!”
“Hmmmm…” my roommate said when I mentioned this conversation to her. Jessica (child of the 1980s, of COURSE her name was Jessica) was not easily daunted by things like receipts, angry store managers, or my parents. More fool her on the last one, but that’s neither here nor there. “Bring it with you when we got to my house for Labor Day,” she said, “and we’ll see.”
What happened over that Labor Day Weekend will forever live in my memory: not only was that the year Madonna and Britney locked lips (this was before Britney had two babies in two years and lost her “teen sweetheart” status), it was also the year Jessica got me a new printer. Neither one of us had a Sam’s club membership, we were several hundred miles away from the branch that sold my parents the lemon—Jess lived close to Charlotte, they live on the coast—and we had no receipt. Ignoring all of these very crucial and very damning factors, Jess basically just walked in, found a guy, shoved the printer box into his arms and said, “This doesn’t work. We’d like a new one.”
And he gave her one.
I don’t know if it was because his store was also running a deal on that particular printer, so he could be reasonably sure that my printer came from a sister branch. I don’t know if it was because Jessica was tall and blond with a cute Southern twang. I don’t know if it was because she also had the aura of a really nice, very Christian pitbull: friendly enough, but willing to hold on to the death if necessary. It was probably a combination of all three things. Whatever the reason, he gave her the printer and we stopped having to use the communal one that was always “mysteriously” out of toner. AFTER THAT DAY, SHE WAS AS UNTO A GOD TO ME.
With her as an example, I learned how to return shit I don’t need; usually I don’t bother if it’s under five dollars, for I am very lazy, but like HELL will I buy something expensive twice just because I don’t want to go through the “trouble” of returning an item! My parents, though, have never learned this lesson. Their garage is a nest of failed power cords and broken dreams. Their “solution” to a DVD player that didn’t work was to buy a backup DVD player that also didn’t work and hope that when one refused to do its job, the other would step up. In short, I have reason to be worried about this recall thing. Because if my parents have their way, they won’t take those cars in until it’s time to sell them for scrap.
…anyone willing to go steal their cars? For their own good. SERIOUSLY.