One of my favourite things to do while driving is to turn on the radio. My vintage 1990s Proton Iswara Aeroback, newly reupholstered, repainted, scratch-less, jerk-less, well serviced, smooth driving, aromatic (I’m trying to sell my car here, bear with me) didn’t have a CD player so radios are the voice of entertainment while cruising at 75kmph on the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong.
I was half-choked from suppressed satanical laughter when I heard the Hitz.fm morning duo prank’d a female sales person with a poor juvenile actor trying to buy a sporty Lexus worth RM30000+ with his RM300 and take the salesgirl on a cheap date at the same time.
Funny to say, I would totally play along with this gimmick if I ever were to become ‘poor juvenile actor’.
Because the no-joke-brutally-honest fact about me is that I looooooooooove to mess with sales people.
I picked up this naughty habit as far back as I can remember, when Ayah was still the GManager and the head of the sales department in a foreign car distributing company. Occasionally, he had to be MC for some promo, one thing or another, either in KL or Sepang or wherever.
Also, being emcee means that he meets new people and he needed a charming young girl and a smart young man to show off to this colleagues.
Buuuuuuuut he can only get me and lil’ bro Genius so half of the time, he just left us alone with no adult supervision. I was a teenager and had the demeanor to pass for a snazzy upper-class college student, due to my extensive command of English. I get ridiculed a lot by dumb secondary school students for being a better English speaker than a Malay speaker.
Car showrooms got all these fancy new models with their over-muscled stats and mirror-metallic colour. I took a walk down the aisle of Peugeot, Mercedes Benz, Mazdas cars, all fresh of the shelf and for the road.
And their sales people.
I was browsing a nice orange-juice number with lots of 200+kmph on the speedometer (a sporty car; two-door-two-seater convertible, no less) when a skinny guy in uniform pounced on me. Clean, impeccably dressed and sugared with a glowing face not even the Smiley can better.
“Apa khabar, saudari?”
“Fine, thank you.”
“Saudari, nak tau pasal model terbaru kami?”
“No not really, I’m just browsing.”
“Oh! Tapi saudari, kami sekarang ada promosi hebat. Hari ini saje.”
Textbook Malay language, all so Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka. Did he freaking rehearsed in front of mirror last night?
That’s when I decided to do a play-play. I asked him all the usual steps; prices, features, comparisons with older models, benefits over other convertibles. When he realized that I was more at ease speaking in English, he took it into his stride, didn’t even mess his diction, all effortlessly charming.
If anything, me speaking English seem to have excited him even more.
“This is kind of a small convertible. How much is the space with the roof-top down?”
“Not to worry, miss. There is a lot of room for two large suitcases and some to spare.”
“For a car this small? What about the spare tyre?”
“Oh! There is no spare tyre.”
He proceeded to open the trunk but I still wasn’t impressed.
“See, miss? The space is quite roomy.”
“What if I get a flat? How will I change my tyre?”
“Aaah, miss. There’s a special gel in the existing tyres. You can still drive for a good 1000+ kilometers.”
“But I that means I have to go to the service centre-lah?”
“The main service center, is it-ah?”
He then continued with describing the various service branches all over the country.
“But what if I want to balik-kampung and got flat and there’s no branch anywhere?”
“Don’t worry, miss. You can still use a regular tyre fitting.”
“But that means I have to pay for a regular tyre as well, right?”
“And if I want a special gel tyre, can you just put in the special gel in my new regular tyre?”
“I’ll have to purchase a whole new special gel tyre?”
“Isn’t that kind of like a waste?”
At this point, he was running out of Yes miss, no miss. Oooo, I was starting to enjoy making him squirm. But I took pity. Sales people are all just trying to make a living.
“Can the service purchase my existing regular tyre at half-price maybe?”
“No, we don’t do that miss.”
“At least the back is quite roomy, as you say. I can fit a spare tyre in there, yes?”
He brought up the rooftop of the convertible and gestured at the extra more space in the trunk, big enough for a spare tyre. But since the car wasn’t designed to hold a spare tyre, there was no safety harness or secured straps to keep the spare tyre from, say, crushing your groceries when you make a tight turn.
I didn’t mention that to him however.
Alongside with the fact that if I were to purchase this sporty convertible with its bigger-than-average trunk space, I’ll have to get my own spare special-gel tyre, in which, if I put it in the trunk spare, I’ll have to keep the rooftop up if I still need to use the bigger-than-average trunk space, thereby making having a convertible redundant.
And I wasn’t really planning to get a car anyway.
I was just here because my dad is an emcee. And that my dad was the saleguy’s boss as well but he didn’t know that and I didn’t want to tell him. *hehehe!*
Ayah caught me and patted me on the shoulder before I could further screw the poor junior any longer. The look on the poor junior’s face was priceless, like MasterCard priceless. My old man did an assessment of the goods, thanked the fella for a meticulous setting.
He asked me on the spot in a cheerfully boss-like manner if the salesguy was able to convince me to favour the convertible. I slyly said, “Naaaah, he needs work.”
For the rest of the day, I was a nice girl and didn’t venture too close to the exhibition, nor did I ask Ayah how he thought his sales people did. My imagination on what the salesguy thought he did was good enough.
But ever since that day, if any sales people wanted to trap me into buying stuff, I know how to make them squirm.
Maybe I ought to work in the radio business. *hehehe!* But let me try to sell my vintage 1990s Proton Iswara Aeroback that’s newly reupholstered, repainted, scratch-less, jerk-less, well serviced, smooth driving, aromatic but without CD player.