Steve was buying a brand new car – a bright red Hoojamaflip.
Some motoring magazines extolled the virtues of it’s shiny redness.
How it had a steering wheel and a gear stick that really put YOU in control.
And it’s so economic – over 100 miles to the gallon.
(Whaddya mean ‘what’s a gallon?’ Ask your grand/ parents)
When Steve bowled up to the garage, the salesman was really leaning against an open door…
‘Yes, this is a purely British car, made by British people, for British people,’ he purred as he pointed at the vast array of posters, handing out the shiny brochures that showed just what a wonderful purchase the bright red Hoojamaflip was.
Our engineers are not only enthusiastic, but great value for money.
‘Oh, and we have a great finance deal…just sign here…’
Steve was delighted. What more could he want – he was in control…and all the adverts said…well, just look at how red and shiny it is.
He spoke with his friends…in reality he’d made his own decision – this was the car of his dreams – most of them agreed, but there were a few nay sayers who’d read…
But what did they know? They were probably just jealous.
Well, the day came when Steve’s bright red Hoojamaflip was delivered. And oh, what a thing of great beauty it was.
Shiny and, my God, did Steve feel in control…
So proud was he, that he decided to show it off to his friends across the world of social media. He still had a few friends banging on about some report or other they’d read about the Hoojamaflip, and how it might not be…
Why did they have to keep going on about it?
The following day, Steve went down to his garage to gaze upon the beauty that was…
He sat down in the driver’s seat…snuggled in…caressed the gearstick…enjoying the moment…
He turned on the ignition…he was surprised to hear a weird grinding noise…no worries…perhaps it just needs running in?
He took it for a short drive around the beautiful British countryside.
He was further surprised when his shiny red Hoojamaflip ground to a halt.
He phoned for assistance and a lovely mechanic came out, concluding in a matter of seconds, ‘You’ve run out of fuel,’
‘But…but…I only filled it yesterday…I was told that it would go a hundred miles to the gallon (I told you to ask your parents)
But that was the truth of the matter. He’d run out of fuel.
The mechanic put some petrol in the tank and said, ‘Try it now…’
Steve turned the ignition, the Hoojamaflip made a weird noise followed by a BANG as all the wheels fell off.
‘No worries,’ smiled the mechanic, ‘I can take you back to the garage, perhaps they can…’
Steve was surprised when he got back to the garage, all the posters and brochures that extolled the positive features of his lovely, shiny red car had gone…there were no pamphlets anywhere in this strangely grey dealership.
He walked up to the counter and was met by two middle aged women.
‘How can we help?’ they said in unison (ironic really)
Steve explained the day’s events, hoping to get to the bottom of his plight.
‘Who sold you the Hoojamaflip?’ the women smiled together.
Steve scratched his chin, ‘I’m not sure, but I think his name rhymes with garage..’
Their heads tilted together, ‘Gone, we’re afraid…resigned..’
‘What about his boss? He was a personable sort with…’
‘Blonde hair?’ they chorused
‘Gone…’ they smiled.
‘Oh…what about the creepy guy who hung about with…?’
‘Gove…I mean, Gone…they empathised…’
‘Bugger…I’m going to write to the CEO, unless he’s…’
‘…going…they laughed together…’
‘Can YOU help then…?’ Steve suddenly felt really tired.
‘To be fair…’ they started…
‘Yes…?’ he said eagerly
‘It was ‘Sold as seen’ ‘
‘Sorry?’ Steve spluttered.
‘Sold as seen..’ they nodded sagely.
‘But I demand a refund!!’
‘Sold as seen…’ they whispered.
‘But all the posters and glossy brochures said…’
‘Not ours….’ they shrugged together, and then, just in case he’d forgotten, they mouthed, ‘Sold. As. Seen…’
‘You…you…charlatans…’ he started.
‘We’re so glad you came in’ one of the women said whilst nodding to the other.
‘Yes,’ her colleague (?) nodded, ‘Yes, your shiny red Hoojamaflip…’
‘Yes…?’ Steve replied nervously…
‘…is a little more expensive than you’d been told…’
‘What???!’ he started with more than a little incredulity. And then, nervously…’…more expensive?’
‘A little,’ they smiled back.
‘A little….?’ Steve was fighting back the tears.
‘A billion times…’ they nodded confidently.
‘But I signed a financial agreement….!’
‘Yes, and thank you for that – that gives us the flexibility to….’
‘But I didn’t realise…!!’
Together, they smiled…
Steve negotiated with the mechanic to take his shiny red Hoojamaflip back to his house.
He proudly parked it in his drive at the front of his house for all to see.
He didn’t want anyone to think he’d done the wrong thing.
When his friends asked if they could go for a drive in his car, he just smiled and, although the bitter consequence of cognitive dissonance was churning in his stomach, reminded them just how shiny and beautiful his facade was.
Or the beginning?
And yes, you’re absolutely right, from now on he’ll have to…
Walk a mile