Be Careful What You Wish For

By Geoff FitzGibbon….

I sold a very nice GS Break to a rather difficult customer. He did not complain about the car’s price, room or its features, which happened now and again, but he was hyper in the extreme, incredibly self-opinionated and complaining in general. His negative opinions included the economy, society’s poor work ethic, how bad car dealerships and manufacturers were; he seemed pretty paranoid.

Eventually I got him to focus on the GS and we concluded a sale. He wanted only one extra, a tow-bar and hitch. I asked him what he was planning to tow, to make sure the weight was compatible with the GS. He told me he was not planning on towing; the hitch would be there to deter careless drivers from bumping the GS when parking behind his new car.

I explained the negatives of having a tow-hitch clipped hard from behind. Apart from the unnecessary expense of installing the hitch, a hard whack could distort the monocoque and easily result in lengthy and costly repairs.

He became upset at hearing these well-intentioned facts, and was clearly not to be dissuaded. A tow-bar and hitch was duly ordered and installed – possibly the only time we ever installed one on a GS.

I next saw this customer wandering around the showroom a few weeks later. I greeted him and asked if he was waiting while his car was having its initial 600 mile oil change. No, he needed to buy another GS Break. Naturally, I asked why. He reluctantly explained he had parked the car and returned to find a 1950s Humber Super Snipe (which must have weighed several tons) parked a foot or so into the trunk, past the rear “bumper” of the GS and its tow-hitch. 

The damage was extensive, but should have been repairable. Unfortunately, the impact through the tow-bar’s attachment points had so distorted the monocoque that the insurance company wrote off the GS.

We concluded the second sale rapidly but it held no pleasure for me. Somehow the customer saw the entire affair as my fault, for tempting fate by having raised the possibility of such a terminal collision. I never saw that customer again, which probably suited both parties.

You cannot win them all.

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