It all started when the water pump went out on my new old car that I had just purchased. The well -meaning dealer offered to repair it and give me a loaner at no charge. I thought it was a blessing to have a man that would do this for me and my family, so I accepted the offer. The problem was, the loaner he gave me happened to be a newer model of Mercedes and all my customers thought I was a rich guy.
After fifteen years, I can look back on that day and laugh now. Really, it was funny what people thought that based on the car I was driving for those four hours (I switched to the company van after my second appointment). It was probably funnier hearing me say that it wasn’t my car and that mine was ten years old, and it was in the shop and this is a loaner – see the dealer tags? Etc…etc…
My first customer lived on West Boulevard. She was polite, but I could tell that the Mercedes bothered her. She kept making comments, and I kept trying to focus on her floor and the situation at hand. After about the fourth comment about the loaner car, I knew I had no chance of working with this person. I gave my professional recommendations to her that would help her no matter who she bought her flooring from and wished her well. Needless to say, I was not hired to do the work in her home. I’m not 100 percent sure it was just the car, but since that was 90 percent of her dialogue, I am marking it up to that.
Next up was my good ol’ boy. He invited me over to his house to see the project, measure, give recommendations and a bid. After my last appointment, I was wondering if this blessing had become a curse. When I arrived, the very first comment was not “hello” or “good morning.” It was “Nice car. I see the carpet salesman is doing pretty good these days.” Here we go again. He continued on about the car and how I am probably going to be the high bidder. He added in I charge too much and countless other belittling comments. I just grinned and bared it. There was no other professional way to handle it. When I called him the next day with his bid, he let me know that I would have to get my Mercedes payment from someone else. Ouch! That stung.
I rushed back to the store, grabbed the store van and the rest of my day was perfect. There was not one comment about the van even though it was clean and neat. No one accused me of being wealthy (not that there is anything wrong with that, and I have a lot of wealthy friends too).
Lesson: Unless you are in the insurance industry, real estate, or banking business, don’t even think of taking a nice car on an in-home appointment, lest you be accused of being wealthy.