Stupid or Not? by Debra H. Goldstein
Do you think I’m stupid? In today’s fast-paced computer-oriented world, how gullible do I look?
I may take a little longer to access the apps on my phone or need a little outside help to hide the strands of grey in my hair, but my grey matter is still intact.
Last week, my husband and I went car shopping. Sales representatives at the first two dealers we visited treated us with respect and, when queried, produced realistic numbers for us to use as the beginning of any negotiations. The third dealer, one from whom we previously purchased or leased three cars and recommended to friends who bought two additional cars, was a different story.
Let me set the stage. Because my car, which came from this dealership, is in the shop, we whipped into the parking lot in a significantly lower priced brand that while perfect for the minimal amount my husband drives, isn’t one this dealer sells. We were virgin meat when we walked into the showroom because the no-nonsense salesperson we’d dealt with in the past no longer worked there.
No one tried to help us. Even when I opened the door of the company’s flagship model, none of the
salesmen rooted at their desks jumped to introduce themselves to us. Finally, a young woman sitting in the manager’s office, apparently shooting the breeze with a colleague, approached us. She explained she was busy, but she ascertained what cars we might be interested in, and then sent one of the planted salesmen to help us. He told us about two cars they had on the lot that met my criteria, but as he went to get the keys, another young man entered the building and our first salesman handed us off to him. The new person, who we were assured knew everything and could help us, was nice, but after two weeks on the job, he didn’t even know enough to take a car on the lot lacking gas to the pump so it could be decently test driven – instead he suggested I merely take it around the block.
Despite the short test drive, I asked for numbers. He handed me a sheet of paper which he assured me would help move the quote process through more quickly. It specifically asked what I’d be willing to pay. I wrote, “Let’s not waste each other’s time – give me a realistic number removing the water, taking into account all rebates and incentives, and considering my years of dealer loyalty.” The young man took the paper to the sales manager.
After twenty minutes in the office of the first woman we’d met, he came back with what he assured us was a good number. I glanced at the paper in his hand. The number was $500 less than the manufacturer’s sticker price. We thanked him and left the dealership.
Writing a good mystery is like our car shopping experience. Successful authors offer a character driven tale with a realistic plot. Although there may be descriptive paragraphs, they aren’t filler. Rather, the language is spare and moves the story along. There are enough twists and turns to engage first time readers. Returning readers enjoy the additional developed nuanced layers of complexity respecting previously introduced characters and settings. Readers may not agree with every aspect a writer includes, but if the writer plays fair, readers close a book looking forward to continuing a relationship with an author.
By the way, after additional negotiations based upon fair market value numbers I pulled up, albeit slowly, on my phone, we bought a car from the first dealership we’d visited.
What is it that a writer does that makes you feel the writer thinks you are stupid? What kind of car do you think we came home with?