Several decades past, we were looking for a cheap
second car when the trophy wife spotted a retirement
age Mercedes station wagon.
The sticker price rocked me, but I could tell
by the look in her eyes this deal was done.
I rehearsed saying “no” before we met with
the highly polished sales staff, but being
outnumbered five to one, I caved.
Years later, while visiting the beaches of
Mexico, I witnessed similar strong-arm sales
techniques by condo time-share sharks and my
Mercedes experience taught me to never be lured into
any sales meeting in a room with only one door and
In that respect, the Mercedes high pressure
sales pitch taught me a valuable lesson.
During our first winter of Mercedes ownership I
learned to hate that car.
It was a cold-blooded diesel and when the
temperature dropped below zero starting it required
jumper cables and an hour of pre-heating with a
propane weed burner.
There is a very fine line dividing the
dimensions between just enough heat to start the
engine and lighting it on fire; a threshold I
crossed one dark, cold, February morning.
When the grease on the block burst into
flames I debated whether to put out the fire or pour
gas on it.
Succumbing to the harsh reality of returning
to a one-car family, I extinguished the flames.
You might think it not possible to beat the
fire into submission using jumper cables, but you
can if you are frustrated enough.
I hated that car.
Four years later, even the trophy wife tired of
using jumper cables every morning and set her sights
on a used, Ford minivan.
I was all over swapping cars, but the local
dealer not so much, so they knocked one thousand
dollars off the minivan sticker if I would just keep
Thinking I was making out like a bandit, I
agreed, bought the minivan, stuck a For-Sale sign in
the Mercedes and parked in front of my vet clinic.
Days turned to weeks to months and I learned
there was no market for blue, Mercedes station
wagons, but then along came Bruce.
He had driven past the car so much he felt
sorry for it and had visions of turning it into his
Nothing beams success quite like a sugar beet
farmer motoring into the farm implement dealer in a
I warned him the old girl was a little cold
blooded on winter mornings, but Bruce assured me he
had a magical fuel additive, so my soft-sell
approach sealed the deal.
I had mixed emotions watching the Mercedes
tail lights disappear over the horizon because Bruce
was my friend, but I hated that car.
This brings me to my point.
Campaign season is upon us, so voters, like buyers
and sellers of used cars, will be bombarded by both
hard and soft sales pitches.
Everyone seeking elected office are either
politicians or patriots with the former cutting
deals to please the majority by infringing on the
rights of the minority.
Patriots, on the other hand, honor their oath
of office to limit government so as to free the
American spirit, so reject politicians and promote