Dad the "Deal Killer"




I'll never forget my first experience with a used car salesman. It was the late 70's, I think I was probably 17. I worked after school, and during summers, and had saved up a little money(what didn't go to record albums, guitars, and girlfriends). My dad said he would match my savings dollars and we'd go pick out a car. It was January, and was very cold, but I don't think there was snow on the ground. We arrived at one of those used car lots, where there weren't any new ones, just used ones. It was like a Norman Rockwell moment-there it sat. A sky blue, 1972 Buick Skylark, 2 door with white vinyl top. It glistened on that cold sunny day. The salesman that eagerly walked toward us was ridiculously typical of a used car salesman. He had on a yellow and brown plaid jacket, one of those short brimmed hats, and was smoking on the rest of what used to be a large, thick cigar. He must have been about 50 or so, short and chunky. He talked a little, mostly to my dad, as I was overcome with excitement. I daydreamed of cruising to the A & W with my buddies, Lynrd Skynard blasting in the rear deck mounted speakers, etc.

Like I said, it was very cold. So the salesman hopped in the driver's seat, dad in the passenger seat, and me in the back. The interior was immaculate, except for the ashes dropping off the salesman's cigar into his lap and on the seats. He cranked the engine up, and immediately slammed the accelerator to the floor, probably for 10-15 seconds. Dad's eyes went about as big as golf balls, but he didn't say anything.. He had worked in a gas station as a teenager, and knew this wasn't the way to treat an engine, especially on a cold day. I was still admiring those rear deck speakers. Then the salesman slammed the automatic into drive, engine still red-lining, and the positraction tires began squalling in the parking lot, until the vehicle bolted down a one way alley, leaving a trail of smoke and rubber smell behind. Now Dad's hands were gripping the dash, and true terror was on his face. I had never seen Dad look like that. He was the toughest guy I knew, and was scared of nothing-until now. “For God's sake slow this damned thing down!” he exclaimed. By then we were at the end of the alley, to the main street. The salesman slammed on the brakes, and made a right turn, and punched the accelerator again. The creampuff fishtailed a little before the salesman straightened it out and regained control. My dad was a cusser, but I had never heard the string of words he used at the salesman as he demanded he return us to the car lot at once. I didn't see the problem. I loved the car. Beautiful blue. Nice rear speakers. Everything I needed. When we got back, the eager salesman made the mistake of popping the hood for Dad. To me, it was just a cluster of machinery, components, and belts. The oil fill cap was stuck to the hole, and would not come off. Every component, my dad explained to me later, was a remanufactured replacement item. Alternator, water pump, power steering pump, radiator. And there were two empty cans of Marvel's Myster Oil stuck beside the battery. Dad told me and salesman we would not be buying that POS. The salesman was probably disappointed. I was devastated. I mean, c'mon, it had a great stereo, and those rear deck speakers were totally awesome!

So Dad “killed the deal”. Not really. The car's condition killed the deal. Dad was just a good inspector.


So it goes, what kills the deal is not the inspector at all. It is the condition of what is being inspected. I trust this salesman is not a good example of a Real Estate Agent, but Dad was a great example of what a Charleston Home Inspection is all about. Looking out for someone who isn't trained on the facts.