Car-veat Emptor & Other Catastrophes

I have spoken, this weekend-home-alone, with both of my children, each of whom reports disasters or near disasters. However, they are both still alive. For that I’m thankful.
My son’s was the lesser of the two relative catastrophes. His wife, thankfully, has a normal sense of smell, and detected the gas leak under their house. Quite a few hundred dollars later, the leak is fixed. If it had been up to him, they would have all perished: he is anosmic.
But Nathan has always been the kind of person that could turn a calamity into opportunity. Next week he will be returning to school and is in need of scholarships, He reasons that, if generous financial support can be given to support the academic efforts of those who lack vision and to those who cannot hear, then he will petition the University for a scholarship for the smell-disabled. I think he’s onto something here.
My daughter, Holli’s, situation—I’m glad I missed this as it unfolded real-time on Facebook—involved her new Jeep Cherokee (well, her 8-year-old, 100,000 miles Jeep Cherokee “owned by a little old couple who treated it with kid gloves” that she’d bought in Spearfish a week earlier) seriously overheating on a very remote South Dakota Highway in the general vicinity of Custer.
(This is the same daughter who was driving to visit her grandmother on the beltline around Birmingham on September 11, 2001, when the accelerator got stuck to the floor–an episode which kept an entire fleet of angels busy for a terrifying hour.)
A couple of days ago, she was on her way to the hospital in Newcastle, WY to see her Occupational Therapy patients. It was 27° below zero there on the wind-swept buffalo plains, and as fate would have it, she did not get cell phone reception at the exact spot where the vehicle decided to give up the ghost.
Being the only car on the highway for a hundred miles, she had no choice but to limp along for mile or two until she was able to get cell reception and call for help. She had her vehicle hauled back to the dealership where she had purchased it a week earlier, assuming any damage would be covered under the 30 day or three thousand mile dealership warranty.
The good old boys at a certain organization that perhaps has done more to substantiate the bad reputation of used car salesmen of any place I’ve ever heard of [and which stands, I’d like to think, to lose considerable business because of the way they treated my daughter. They (Spearfish Motors)] tried to play hardball with an assumed dumb blonde, and denied that they had offered her the dealership warranty.
Boy, did they under-esitmate Barbie, because her head spun around twice and from under that lovely, gentle exterior burst a Terminator female whose Laser-Glare of Loathing could burn a hole in your forehead. She will hurt people. I could have warned them, believe me! She’s not gonna back down, fellas.
In the end, she did not GET from them the concessions she should have and she was not treated well. But I’d like to think this little story out on Facebook and in the blogosphere in SD, WY and beyond will TAKE from them a considerable number of customers, blond and otherwise. They don’t deserve your business.
I’m just saying – if any of you out there have daughters looking for previously-owned car, Spearfish may be a great place to film outdoor movies, but it is home to a really sorry place to buy a used car. Spread the word, and caveat emptor.

I have spoken, this weekend-home-alone, with both of my children, each of whom reports disasters or near disasters. However, they are both still alive. For that I’m thankful.

My son’s was the lesser of the two relative catastrophes. His wife, thankfully, has a normal sense of smell, and detected the gas leak under their house. Quite a few hundred dollars later, the leak is fixed. If it had been up to him, they would have all perished: he is anosmic.

But Nathan has always been the kind of person that could turn a calamity into opportunity. Next week he will be returning to school and is in need of scholarships, He reasons that, if generous financial support can be given to support the academic efforts of those who lack vision and to those who cannot hear, then he will petition the University for a scholarship for the smell-disabled. I think he’s onto something here.

My daughter, Holli’s, situation—I’m glad I missed this as it unfolded real-time on Facebook—involved her new Jeep Cherokee (well, her 8-year-old, 100,000 miles Jeep Cherokee “owned by a little old couple who treated it with kid gloves” that she’d bought in Spearfish a week earlier) seriously overheating on a very remote South Dakota Highway in the general vicinity of Custer.

(This is the same daughter who was driving to visit her grandmother on the beltline around Birmingham on September 11, 2001, when the accelerator got stuck to the floor–an episode which kept an entire fleet of angels busy for a terrifying hour.)

A couple of days ago, she was on her way to the hospital in Newcastle, WY to see her Occupational Therapy patients. It was 27° below zero there on the wind-swept buffalo plains, and as fate would have it, she did not get cell phone reception at the exact spot where the vehicle decided to give up the ghost.

Being the only car on the highway for a hundred miles, she had no choice but to limp along for mile or two until she was able to get cell reception and call for help. She had her vehicle hauled back to the dealership where she had purchased it a week earlier, assuming any damage would be covered under the 30 day or three thousand mile dealership warranty.

The good old boys at a certain organization that perhaps has done more to substantiate the bad reputation of used car salesmen of any place I’ve ever heard of [and which stands, I’d like to think, to lose considerable business because of the way they treated my daughter. They (Spearfish Motors)] tried to play hardball with an assumed dumb blonde, and denied that they had offered her the dealership warranty.

Boy, did they under-esitmate Barbie, because her head spun around twice and from under that lovely, gentle exterior burst a Terminator female whose Laser-Glare of Loathing could burn a hole in your forehead. She will hurt people. I could have warned them, believe me! She’s not gonna back down, fellas.

In the end, she did not GET from them the concessions she should have and she was not treated well. But I’d like to think this little story out on Facebook and in the blogosphere in SD, WY and beyond will TAKE from them a considerable number of customers, blond and otherwise. They don’t deserve your business.

I’m just saying – if any of you out there have daughters looking for previously-owned car, Spearfish may be a great place to film outdoor movies, but it is home to a really sorry place to buy a used car. Spread the word, and caveat emptor.

About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

3 Comments on “Car-veat Emptor & Other Catastrophes

  1. As a former attorney, I recommend that your daughter take the car dealer to small claims court. No matter what the result, she will have satisfaction of doing her part to inrease the amount of fairness and justice in this world. The court staff are usually very helpful in assisting lay people to fill out the necessary forms, etc. The cost should be minimal, too. Even the amount of time shouldn’t be excessive. She will get a thrill out of the experience, I’m quite sure.

  2. I’m not likely to be in that vicinity, but I’ll pass along the info to anyone who is! I’m glad she stood her ground.

  3. I second that emotion about small claims court. I used to work for a lawyer and I saw many instances of justice served in small claims court, usually without assistance from a lawyer.

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