The car hunt continues and our latest test drive was the Subaru Forester.
Employing our new Internet "by appointment only" methodology, we emailed ahead, asked for appointment at 3:30 on Saturday and received said appointment. Then the dealership responded as if we had just walked in off the street.
We were to meet a salesperson named Rich and when we arrived, Rich, if he exists at all, was "busy". We were told this by Salesman #2 who ambiguously was sort of, but not really, kinda taking Rich's place. We told him the model we wanted to drive, gave him my license for copying and he took us out the car.
Now I expected the usual. Salesman would get in the car, show us around the car then take us for a pre-established route and then back to his office for a time out in the penalty box.
Nope. Salesman #2 let me get in the drivers seat, showed me where "D" was on the transmission and basically said "have a good time" with our $30,000 automobile with 3 miles on it.
Actually, he didn't even show me where the right "D" was. As I pulled into traffic and accelerated, the engine rev'd higher and higher without the transmission shifting. I realized he had put it in some kind of manual mode and I was supposed to hit the "+" shift position to make it shift.
Great, someone else's brand new car in heavy Cherry Hill Saturday traffic and I have to shift. Not good but I figured out the correct "D" position on the fly.
I also have to turn around. This is the same road I had to turn around on to find the Kia Dealership so I know that if head the direction I'm going, my next good turn around spot is in Camden. So I make a right, intending to turn around on that road and then come back and make a left, thereby effectively making a U-Turn.
I went to turn around on that busy road and ended up in the world's busiest and crowded shopping center at peak mindless-consumerism time - 4 PM on a Saturday.
I narrowly avoided several minor fender benders including one involving some A--hole in BMW who stopped suddenly when they couldn't turn into a row of parked cars. (BTW, you BMW owners, to the rest of the world you are "that A--hole in the BMW", Ohh, I know you think you are a winner, but really, that's what we are all thinking.) (in fact that should be their sales tag line "be that A--hole in the BWM")
Finally we were headed in the right direction, in heavy traffic, fiddling with hundreds of new gadgets on strange car and feeling good. I had brought along the iPod and the USB interface so I was driving and explaining the differences between USB iPod interface, bluetooth and iPod patch cord interface for what felt like the 100th time.(Yes, you can still do Pandora)
It went well. We drove on the busy Interstate, bumpy side roads and heavy traffic, all while playing with the iPod and CDs.We liked this car.
We switched positions and drove back to the dealership, pulled the new car in and we were promptly ignored.
We wandered around the showroom for a few minutes trying to make eye contact with salesman #2 who was obviously standing around shooting the bull with the other sales man when it hit me.
We were so conditioned to abuse that we were now looking for it.
We don't want to stay.We did not want a time out.
So we headed out. We had somehow found a complacent car dealer, the Kruger Industrial Smoothing of Subaru dealers and we took full advantage of it. Although, as we left I had an overall sense of vague dissatisfaction with the whole afternoon even though we had accomplished our goal of driving and getting out.
Bottom line, weird dealership, great car.