My dresser drawer made a hollow, clanging noise as I pushed it firmly shut. It was exactly 9:37 pm on a Tuesday night and the room was quiet. The cold and wintery frost bit me through my coat as I trudged out the front door, a cardboard box on my right shoulder. I was the last one to leave the Dealership, which was usually the case, and my Blue Prius was just beside the curb, its trunk open and waiting. I had no feelings, no emotions and no regrets. I didn’t look over my shoulder when I closed the car door, and I didn’t look in the rear-view mirror as I pulled onto Vandiver Drive.
My cell phone yanked me out of a stupor. A now-familiar name and number flashed across the display. I immediately hit the Bluetooth answer button on the steering wheel.
“Good evening Moses,” said a disembodied voice. “This is Mr. Prinkley. I want to let you know that my wife and I are in the market for a new Toyota. We would like to schedule an appointment for this Saturday morning. We’d like to try out the Sequoia, the 4-Runner, the Highlander, and the Rav 4. We’ve also been shopping with several dealerships in St Louis and Kansas City, and although we like you, and would prefer to buy from you, we want to go with the salesman who gives us the absolute best rock bottom price. Just business.”
Instantly, before I responded to him, my mind flashed through the most likely scenario.
I was still three car deals away from getting my monthly bonus, and Saturday was the last day of the month. I would probably spend the entire day with Mr. Prinkley, test drive all the vehicles he wished to see, and not sell a one. I knew him to be a tough negotiator. Even if I did, by chance, luck out and make a deal, it would be months until it was finalized. I wouldn’t make that much money on it anyway.
I weighed all these options, and more…until the reality of my situation suddenly barged into my mind. I’d forgotten myself in my robotic pattern of scripted things I always said. But not tonight. Tonight, for the first time, I had something different to say.
And so I said it.
“I am sorry, Mr. Prinkley, but you’ll have to call someone else. I no longer work for Joe Machens Toyota.”